Session Report

Plenary X: Invest Karnataka: Innovate, Invent and Invest in Karnataka

Welcome Address:

  • Mr D V Prasad, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Commerce and Industries Department, Government of Karnataka

Address by:

  • Mr R V Deshpande, Minister for Large & Medium Industries and Infrastructure, Government of Karnataka
  • Mr Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister for Agriculture, Government of Karnataka
  • Mr Priyank Kharge, Minister for IT & BT and Tourism, Government of Karnataka
  • Mr Gaurav Gupta, Commissioner for Industrial Development and Director of Industries and Commerce Department, Government of Karnataka
  • Ms V Manjula, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Information Technology, Bio Technology & Science and Technology Department, Government of Karnataka
  • Mr Bharat Lal Meena, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Department of Higher Education
  • Mr Biren Ghose, Country Head, Technicolor
  • Mr Virendra Sharma, Member, British Parliament

The Context

The session highlighted the new and emerging business and investment opportunities in the state and how the eco-system is geared to strengthen Karnataka’s position as India’s innovation hub.

Plenary Session & Q&A

Government of Karnataka’s endeavour has been to make Karnataka a role model state for other states to follow and today Karnataka is one of the most industrialised state in India with Bengaluru being one of the best cities to live in.

Mr D V Prasad, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Commerce and Industries Department, Government of Karnataka stated that the dynamic growth of Karnataka was made possible by the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the industries operating in the state, the political will of the Government and the bureaucracy’s unwavering support for investments. World Bank has rated Karnataka as the state with the most positive business environment in India and investors have ranked Karnataka second in maintaining a positive investment climate (as per FICCI’s Foreign Direct Investment Survey). Karnataka is India’s innovation cluster and indeed the start-up capital. Karnataka is also a leader in sectors like IT, space research, biotechnology, pharma and science & technology.

The state government continually engages with the Diaspora, seeking suggestions, deliberating upon them and taking actions to further enhance the state’s productivity levels. Mr Prasad invited the gathering to attend the ‘Make in India’ show and ‘Aero Show’ that were coming up in the state. The ‘Invest Karnataka’ Film which was screened at the session advocated the investment opportunities in Karnataka.

Highlighting the investment prospects in the state’s manufacturing sector including textiles and food processing, Mr Gaurav Gupta, Commissioner for Industrial Development and Director of Industries and Commerce Department, Government of Karnataka stated that Karnataka has seen 7% year-on-year GSDP growth with $3.4 billion FDI inflows in a three-year period. The state also ranks second in terms of exports. Bengaluru is the knowledge capital of the country with IT, biotechnology and R&D sectors working as the economic backbone of the state.

Speaking about Government of Karnataka’s support for new businesses, Mr Gupta said the state government has launched sectoral policies to promote both large and small industries. There are immense opportunities for collaboration in the manufacturing sector. The state government seeks joint venture/partnering opportunities with SMEs. Avionics is another emerging sector that offers significant investment opportunities. Other sectors where investors can look for collaboration are auto parts manufacturing and industrial infrastructure development in the PPP mode, and development of solar parks. Speaking about tourism, he pointed out that Karnataka has a very diverse tourism sector and promotes heritage tourism, beach tourism, wildlife tourism, adventure tourism;, and now bio-tourism.

The Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor and the Bangalore-Mumbai Economic Corridor once developed will open up a whole new gamut of investment opportunities in the state, he said.

In the pharmaceutical sector, the Government of Karnataka has identified many clusters like Mysore and Yadgir where numerous innovation and incubation projects are being promoted. Karnataka is also blessed with ten distinct agro-climatic zones that provide a wide range of business opportunities in various agricultural sector like winery, floriculture, coffee plantation, spices cultivation, corn cultivation, etc. These business opportunities are complemented by food parks and favourable agro-business and food-processing policies.

Ms V Manjula, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Information Technology, Bio Technology & Science and Technology Department, Government of Karnataka highlighted the various opportunities in the IT, biotechnology and AVGC (Animation, Visual effects, Graphics and Comics) sectors for collaborations. She urged the Diaspora to provide launch pads for MSMEs and startups. Focused efforts are also underway to develop biotech crops, sugarcane alternative products, vaccine technologies, synthetic biology, bio-fuels and marine biology.

In the field of animation, Digital Art Centres are being promoted to train students in digital media as this field promises high potential for employment generation in the Tier 2 cities; Government of Karnataka urges investors to explore this sunshine industry.

Speaking on the opportunities for higher education in Karnataka, Mr Bharat Lal Meena, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Department of Higher Education said that Karnataka is home to 52 universities. The state also houses national level institutions like IIM, IIT, IIIT, IISc, NIMHANS, etc. There are investment opportunities in regard to use of ICT in higher education, and advanced research in sensing and imaging.

Mr Biren Ghose, Country Head, Technicolor, said what binds India and the Diaspora were not just common customs, food, habits, beliefs and value systems but also the immortality of the Indian story handed down generations. They are the essence that define India’s cultural cores. “We are the people of common stories.” he concluded.

Mr Virendra Sharma, Member, British Parliament, said that he will be taking the message of the achievements and investment opportunities available in Karnataka to the Indian community in Britain.

Mr Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister for Agriculture, Government of Karnataka, pitched for investments in agri-business from the assembled PIOs and NRIs. The minister said that Karnataka offered “the best incentives” among all Indian states for investments in agri-business. He also pointed to key opportunities for investments in the food processing and food retail industries. Mr Gowda stated that in the next five years, estimated investments to the order of $30-35 billion will be required in India’s agri-business sector.

The minister also pointed out that in the matter of agri-market reforms, Karnataka’s policies were considered the “gold standard.” He also noted that the state was investing an “unprecedented Rs 800 crore in warehousing” and was providing funds for startups in the field of food processing.

Karnataka is “a visionary state, and a lucky state”, Mr R V Deshpande, Minister for Large & Medium Industries and Infrastructure, Government of Karnataka, said as he made an impassioned plea for investments in the state. He held that anyone investing in Karnataka has “made a fortune” as state’s policies provide the best incentives to investors and the state itself is blessed with the “best human resources in India”.

Noting that no state can grow without investments and “investors are god sent”, Mr Deshpande asserted that industries are best equipped to take the development of Karnataka forward.  He said that there would be complete transparency in the approval of projects.

Answering some of the questions raised by the delegates, Mr Priyank Kharge, Minister for IT & BT and Tourism, Government of Karnataka, said tourism is receiving the particular attention of the government. 2017 is being celebrated as the Year of the Wild with focus on both on wildlife and wild side of life”. In this context, he noted that Karnataka plans to develop nine beaches in the state as model tourist destinations. India’s first surfing competition is also being planned in the state, he added.

On the IT front, Mr Kharge said that the Karnataka government is ready with “India’s first animation fund of Rs 20 crore” and the state will set up a centre of excellence in animation, and a digital media city with all the infrastructure needed for animation startups. A centre for excellence in artificial intelligence (AI) will also be set up. Work on the second terminal at Bengaluru’s international airport is underway and a second runway will constructed, he said.

Participants

  1. Mr R V Deshpande, Minister for Large & Medium Industries and Infrastructure, Government of Karnataka
  2. Mr Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister for Agriculture, Government of Karnataka
  3. Mr Priyank Kharge, Minister for IT & BT and Tourism, Government of Karnataka
  4. Mr D V Prasad, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Commerce and Industries Department, Government of Karnataka
  5. Mr Gaurav Gupta, Commissioner for Industrial Development and Director of Industries and Commerce Department, Government of Karnataka
  6. Ms V Manjula, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Information Technology, Bio Technology & Science and Technology Department, Government of Karnataka
  7. Mr Bharat Lal Meena, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Department of Higher Education
  8. Mr Biren Ghose, Country Head, Technicolor
  9. Mr Virendra Sharma, Member, British Parliament

Key Recommendations

Following were the key recommendations made at the session:

  • Karnataka has invited the Diaspora to provide launch pads for MSMEs and startups in the state.
  • The manufacturing sector is primed for greater investment flows. The avionics sector in particular offers significant investment opportunities.
  • Auto parts manufacturing and industrial infrastructure development in the PPP mode, and development of solar parks too offer compelling investment opportunities.
  • The state government seeks overseas investments in food processing and food retailing industries.
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