Orissa <br>Forward march of a backward state
In an effort to lure investments into the state, the Orissa government will take up projects of Rs 100 crore and above as 'fast track projects' under single window clearance route. Shilpa Puri reports on the state's new initiatives toward economic development
Orissa has a rich and an abundant natural resource base and a long exploitable coastline. On the flipside, the state, which lies to the east of the country, is battling large-scale poverty, low literacy rate and negative investor perception. Orissa has been labelled as a "backward state".
Notwithstanding the economic and social disadvantage, Orissa, a few years ago, surprised the business community when it pioneered reforms in the power sector by privatising power distribution. This effort is generally regarded as a failed experiment but nonetheless it showed that Orissa was capable of taking bold initiatives.
Till March 2002, Orissa had attracted Rs 1,14,272.61 crore investment in about 184 projects mainly in the power, crude oil refining, petrochemical and bauxite mining sectors. Coal-based power projects attracted approximately Rs 40,000 crore. Another Rs 12,000 crore investment has gone into hydel and distribution projects. While Reliance Industries' investment accounts for the single largest investment in the state, the Central and state governments together account for bulk of the investment contributing roughly Rs 50,000 crore in 145 projects (68+77 projects). Private foreign projects, concentrated mainly in Gopalpur, have contributed an estimated Rs 31,225 crore in about 14 projects.
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