Odisha is an Indian state with an abundance of natural resources. Although it has achieved little growth within the first few decades of its formation, the state has seen an immense economic boom through the 21st century under its long-serving chief minister Naveen Patnaik. The state has achieved one of the best GSDP growth rates and HDI ranks in the country in the past two decades. Major drivers of economic growth have been its ports, three of them – Paradip, Dhamra and Gopalpur, with mineral production making up for 34 per cent of the total production in the country.
It produces minerals such as aluminium, products of aluminium, iron ore, processed minerals, iron, steel, marine products, residual chemical and allied products, and textiles. The state has witnessed a transformation in economic policies in the past two decades that have seen a boom in the exports of agro and natural resources, as well as ITeS services.
However, the state has been at the receiving-end of natural calamities such as floods and cyclones, a total of 17 such calamities in the past 19 years alone due to its unique geo-climatic conditions and cyclonic storms that cross the eastern coast of the country. In 2019 alone, it saw two cyclones, namely – Fani and Bulbul. However, it saw its worst disaster in 1999 with a super-cyclone claiming over 10,000 lives in the state. The state has since moved on well from that and over the years emerged as the #1 state in the country for disaster management, receiving praise from numerous national and international organisations, including the United Nations.
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With an extensive coastline and a large brackish water resource, the state has a vast potential for the development of fisheries and aquaculture. Aided by its three ports, it exported 45,812 metric tonnes of seafood worth Rs 2,439.47 crore in 2017-18, a 9.5 per cent increase from the previous financial year. There’s been a rapid growth as the state launched 22 new projects worth Rs 4,400 crore in the past two years alone which include 120 industrial units of steel, cement, textiles, minerals etc, and creating jobs for more than 120,000 people.
Its flagship annual investment conclave ‘Make in Odisha’ was first held in 2016, attracting Rs 18,434 crore in investments. However, its latest edition of the same held in 2018 attracted a gigantic Rs 4.19 lakh crore for projects across 15 sectors that can create a potential 5.91 lakh jobs with the three biggest business groups in India – Reliance Industries, Tata Group and Birla Group pledging a total of Rs 42,275 crore in the state over the next few years.
The state has an overall ranking of 10th in this year’s SKOCH State of Governance and is ranked 11th and eighth in terms of Municipal Governance and District Administration in the country, respectively. However, it is ranked third for agriculture, fifth for transport and eighth for e-Governance.
Naveen Patnaik, who assumed the office of the chief minister on 5 March 2000 is also the current longest-serving chief minister among all Indian states in the country. Efficient administration and economic growth may be attributed to his governance. His economic vision for the state has been explained by him,
“Odisha’s strategic location along the east coast provides easy access to high-growth markets in eastern India, ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) and the East Asia region. Our strategy is to support port-led industrial development, providing one of the most competitive logistics environments. Paradip port has emerged as the second-largest port in India. Deep-water operational ports at Dharma and Gopalpur and the upcoming port at Subarnarekha will further spur industrial development in the region.”
The Chief Minister has also stressed on the importance of MSMEs in the overall growth of the state. With the setting up of new mega projects, there is a new array of MSMEs expected to grow due to the demand for a wide range of goods and services. The state has already set-up a supportive regulatory framework to help in the growth of such start-ups.
Here are some of the projects that help Odisha secure its position in top 10 in overall ranking.
Multipurpose Cyclone Shelter & Flood Shelter
This project is aimed at constructing cyclone shelters to build the resilience of the community to fight natural calamities with the aid of enhanced preparedness through provisioning of shelters at highly vulnerable locations in flood & cyclone prone zones. Location for the shelters was identified and was built with the aid of stakeholders such as World Bank, GOI, Departments of the state government, executing agencies and grass-root level community organisations. The cyclone shelters have been set up to provide shelter to 8,14,000 vulnerable inhabitants of 2,442 villages. These shelter buildings are earthquake-resistant and can withstand about 300 km of wind speed. Currently, there are 814 such multipurpose Cyclone & Flood shelters, 243 shelter connective approach roads of 400 km in length and 34 types of standardised emergency equipment in each Cyclone & Flood shelter.
Agriculture Production Cluster in Tribal Regions
Through this project, around 100-150 women farmers are organised into Producer Groups (PGs) and around 3,000-5,000 women farmers are encouraged to form producer company. The farmers are facilitated to practice synchronised production of identified horticultural crops covering around 40 acres in a contiguous manner. Livelihood assets like irrigation in 16,000 acres, orchard development in 8,000 acres, farm mechanisation access to 70,000 farmers are being converged from existing schemes to intensify interventions. Additionally, around 750 market-linked Agri-Entrepreneurs will be groomed and nested as value chain enablers in these regions.
Kandhamal district in Odisha is tribal-dominated with 70 per cent belonging to SC/ST category, with its main income being agriculture via horticulture as the region is devoid of any industrial development. The incomes from these sources are poor due to usage of obsolete technology and poor irrigation facility. Hence, the government introduced this ‘Mission 171’ project in order to ensure inter-departmental and inter-schematic convergence of various agriculture and allied activities for ensuring income augmentation of farmers for sustainable livelihood.
As a result, model orchards have been developed covering areas of 2-5 hectares in each of the 171 Gram Panchayats of Kandhamal district.
The state is expected to become a major business and industry hub but it shouldn’t lose focus on improving human development indicators if it has to continue to shine on the path to development and prosperity.