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Why 'Make in Chhattisgarh?' Chhattisgarh can become an entrepreneurial hub in the next few years if substantial investment flows in.

By Entrepreneur India

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Chhattisgarh has promising opportunities and the state-of-the-art infrastructure for entrepreneurs to establish and run their businesses smoothly. The tax incentives provided by the state government make Chhattisgarh a lucrative business destination. It can become an entrepreneurial hub in the next few years if substantial investment flows in. It has huge investment potential and is on the fast track of development.

Today, almost 80 per cent of the population is dependent on agriculture and small scale industry in the state. Chhattisgarh is committed to a strong industrial growth that is focused on some of the most raw and basic industrial sectors. It seems that entrepreneurship can be build up in this area drastically. Similar to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's concept of "Make in India," the state government has started focusing on "Make in Chhattisgarh."

The need of the hour is to create a favourable investment climate in the state to enhance industrial production and create additional employment opportunities. The government is planning to come up with new industrial parks to set up business units. It already has Metal Park, Apparel Park, Engineering Park and Aluminium Park at Rawabhata, Raipur, Bhilai and Korba, respectively.

The establishment of new industrial park will increase revenue, improve infrastructure and attract businesses to the state. Subodh Kumar Singh, Secretary to Chief Minister, Commerce and Industries and Mining, Government of Chhattisgarh, says, "Chhattisgarh's population density is 60 per cent of the national average. We have 43 per cent area under cultivation and 44 per cent area under forest. The per capita energy conservation is very high. It is centrally located, and we have the state-of-the art airport infrastructure."

He calls for the need to create awareness among masses to come and invest here. The state has ease of doing business and economic liberalisation, which is favourable for starting a business. The government is now planning to build its infrastructure via coal auction. The government realises that there is a huge need to build infrastructure that will further attract investment in the state.

"The Chhattisgarh Government has decided to raise money through coal auction and will utilise that money for building road infrastructure in the state. We will be building 3,000 km of road infrastructure in next few years in Chhattisgarh," says Singh. The state government has made a provision of Rs 5,183 crore in the 2015-16 budget for the development of roads. Also, railways have an important role in industrial development of Chhattisgarh. A large quantum of goods, such as coal, iron ore and other minerals within and outside the state are transported by railways.

The state has already signed a host of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs), cornering several thousands of crores projects in the field of coal mines, aluminium and other minerals including bauxite, railways, steel, cement and iron ore. In fact, Raipur is linked by regular flights with New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam, Nagpur, Bhopal, Indore, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Kartikeya Goel, Managing Director, CSIDC, says, "Chhattisgarh covers a major part of national agricultural area. It offers the best tax incentives and other benefits for those who select Chhattisgarh for investment." We have listed few areas where there is a huge scope for entrepreneurs:

IT

The major scope for entrepreneurs in Chhattisgarh is in IT and IT related services. Chhattisgarh has its IT/ITES investment policy with a vision of establishing an information society having informed, active and responsible citizens. The state has also given incentives to attract software industries. "There is a need to reduce the digital gap. We have the state-ofthe- art infrastructure and skilled manpower.

We have the best policy incentives and the ease of doing business in the state," further says Singh. The electronics, IT and ITES investment policy focuses on incentives on fixed capital and working capital requirements. It focuses on IT infrastructure development along with the capacity building of workforce. Under the policy, an online single window is also set up for facilitating investors and providing various incentives or concessions. Moreover, the scheme for supporting MSMEs in the electronics sector is also very helpful as it provides financial support for the industry.

Textile

The Tassar silk is produced in Chhattisgarh and it has great demand abroad. So, there is a huge scope for entrepreneurs for setting up silk units in Chhattisgarh. Moreover, in its industrial policy, Chhattisgarh has declared textile as a priority sector. Chhattisgarh is one of the premier states that produce Tassar cocoons, yarn and fabrics. Silk products from the state are famous for its quality and have good demand in national as well as international markets.

The Chhattisgarh State Industrial Corporation (CSIDC) is planning to set up an integrated textile park in Village Khupri in Tilda, Raipur. CSIDC has identified a land parcel of 32 hectares for this project. Project is being planned as per Scheme of Integrated Textile Park. Besides silk, there is an immense opportunity for the apparel industry as well.

Food processing

The government is taking initiatives to boost the food processing sector. The state has record agriculture production, land and ready market and export opportunities. NM Kejriwal, Chairman, Chhattisgarh State Committee, PHD Chamber, says, "The central government is focusing on the food processing sector.

Few years back, a national mission on food processing was implemented under the 12th Five Year Plan, focusing on technological innovation, modernisation of food processing, development of cold chain, value addition and infrastructure development. The government is giving lots of grants and subsidies for the development of the food processing sector."

Recently, Raman Singh, Chief Minister, Chhattisgarh, said that the government would draft an action plan to launch a "food processing mission" in order to boost industrialisation based on agriculture and horticulture in the state. The government also inked around seven MoUs in the past six months in the food processing sector that is expected to attract investments of around Rs 1,200 crore. Moreover, two mega food parks will be set up in the state.

Exports

Nearly 75 per cent of exports are emanated from Bhilai and remaining from Urla, Bhanpuri, Sirgitti, etc. The major exportable products of the state are steel, handicraft, handloom, blended yarn, food or agri products, iron, aluminium, cement, minerals and engineering products. Gopal Sitaram Jiwarajka, Managing Director, Salora International Ltd, says, "Exports opportunities in Chhattisgarh are immense. We can boost the manufacturing activity in the state as it has the investor friendly policy. The state is dependent on its MSME sector.

So, exports can get a boost from the MSME sector, which will further help in overall development." Mineral exports provide another major avenue for growth. The mineral industry accounts for about 80 per cent of total industrial units in Chhattisgarh. Minerals, such as iron ore, coal, limestone, dolomite, quartzite and bauxite, are easily available in Chhattisgarh.

To support entrepreneurs in the state, there is a need to increase the flow of investments in the state. Truly, Chhattisgarh offers great potential for investments in areas, such as IT, urban infrastructure, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, engineering and auto, renewable energy, tourism and healthcare, agro and food processing and minor forest produces.

The need of the hour is to spread awareness about what the state offers to not only investors, but also entrepreneurs.

(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (October, 2015 Issue).

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