BENGALURU: Karnataka hopes to make the most of the changed world order in which big firms and countries may look for cost-effective alternatives to China.As states that make the first move stand to gain, Karnataka Industries Department has already started reaching out to investors. “We already have a number of investors from Japan, South Korea and other countries. We are reaching out to them actively to see that whatever opportunities are here are made known to them. We have started holding interactions over phone, email and also video-conference,” state Industries Department Principal Secretary Gaurav Gupta told The New Indian Express.
Availability of skilled manpower and the industrial ecosystem is likely to give the state a head-start in the post-COVID competition to woo the investors. However, land acquisition and speed at which necessary approvals are given still remain a challenge. But Gupta said land acquisition is not an issue.
“For Japanese firms, we have the 500-acre Japan Industrial Township ready and we have been trying to market it for the last six months. Land is also available near Bengaluru and we will also activate work on clusters, including the ‘Compete With China’ clusters which have been created anticipating large-scale manufacturing,” he said.
Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar is also optimistic. “We may face difficulties over the next two-three months, but after that, the situation will help us. We will be in an advantageous position,” said Shettar, who plans to meet with experts to work out strategies to speed up the process soon.Experts, however, are wary. “India will be competing with Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries. It is difficult, but possible (to attract investment), provided the central/state government and the local administration work together with a clear focus,” says D Muralidhar, former chairman and head of research wing at Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI).
A Gururaj, former head, Karnataka’s Mobile Phones Cluster Vision Group, said: “Many are already contacting me about investment opportunities in India. States that will move quickly will be the beneficiaries, but the state government should move quickly.”