Jindal brings govt down to earth

Jindal brings govt down to earth

Company minces no words in listing bureaucratic hurdles investors face

One industrialist who did some plain speaking at the Global Investors Meet on Thursday was S R Jindal, the founder of Jindal Aluminium Limited.

While many other investors had bouquets for the government, for creating an ‘investment-friendly’ environment, Jindal, a long time investor in the State, in his address at the inaugural session, said Karnataka was not investor friendly as it claimed to be.

He insinuated that the State-level single window clearance committee, which clears mega investment projects under the chairmanship of the chief minister, entailed a complicated process.

Suggesting that the government should bring about improvements in the system, Jindal said, “The government claims that the single window clearance system facilitates easy processes. But when an investor peeks into the system, he is exposed to many doors and windows.

The scenario will hopefully change, now that senior officer M N Vidyashankar has taken charge of the department. We are hoping that there will be no more bureaucratic hurdles,” he said.

He said the government had made exaggerated claims about the outcome of the previous GIM.

“Only four per cent of the projects of the Rs four lakh crore investments that the State attracted have materialised, while some more are in the pipeline,” he said.

However, Jindal did not lag behind in stressing the responsibilities of corporate firms. Many corporate firms are failing to discharge effective corporate social responsibility. Corporate firms should contribute at least five per cent of their profits mandatorily towards the welfare of the poor.

Later speaking to reporters, Jindal said corruption was rampant in Karnataka and that it had slipped to the bottom five states in industrial growth, which was preventing industries from coming up in the State.

"I have been doing business in Karnataka from 1968 and during the course have met many bureaucrats. Earlier, the bureaucrats were courteous and hospitable. But this has changed over time. The so-called single window system has many backdoors and ventilators and the industrialists are made to run from pillar to post.

He said the State High Powered Committee had approved 70 acres in Dobbespet for a project, but the land was yet to be allotted to Jindal by KIADB. He alleged that bureaucrats indirectly sought bribes and favours to further the process.

Reacting to the statements of the industrialist, Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani said,
"Our single window system is one of the best. There is scope for improvement to ensure that the processes are hassle free."

As if Jindal’s criticism was not enough, Baba Kalyani too subtly flayed the government’s attitude towards attracting investors and providing them proper infrastructure facilities. He said quick decisions should be made to ensure that the investors are not distracted. He said that the government should ensure implementation of the projects that have come on board as part of GIM.

Kris Gopalakrishnan of Infosys said the government should provide a stable environment for investors, apart from ensuring that they are involved in the decision-making process.
N R Narayan Murthy, chief mentor of Infosys, said creation of sustainable employment was the need of the hour. Currently, the country has four crore youngsters who are unemployed. The country needs to create at least 10 crore jobs in the next one decade
to facilitate GDP growth, he said.

For creating jobs, he said, focus should be on three areas: attracting investments, promoting exports and diversifying industrial base. As far as Karnataka is concerned, there is a clear need for diversifying the IT sector and going beyond Bangalore, he said.
But there were investors who showered praises for the “political and bureaucratic support” that they got in the State.

B Muthuraman, vice chairman, Tata Steel, said his company’s relationship with the State was long standing and that Karnataka was a “great place to invest”.

“We are on a major expansion mode in Karnataka, because we simply love being here. We have always received excellent cooperation,” he said.

Vikram Kirloskar, vice chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motors, said the policies of the State government had stayed consistent over the last decade, despite the changes in the political scenario.

“The government has stuck to its incentives. It has not withdrawn anything, unlike other states. All of its commitments have been met,” he said.

Sudhir Vasudeva, CMD, ONGC, said Karnataka had a “conducive business environment”.
“I can vouch for investing in Karnataka,” he said, adding that the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited had become a profit-making refinery thanks to the supporting policies of the State government.

Quote hanger

There are two types of people in the world –– foxes and hedge-hogs. While the fox is a hunter, the hegde-hog is known to stick its head in the ground. I see people of Karnataka as foxes, because they seek and they create opportunities. With GIM, you are expanding your hunting ground. A successful Karnataka is good for Africa.

Williams Nkurunziza
High Commissioner Rwanda

The Foreign Direct Investment between Bavaria and India has developed in a dynamic way. In fact, India is one of our key trading partners in Asia. Karnataka has an enormous economic strength.

Martin Zeil
Deputy Prime Minister
Govt of Bavaria, Germany

Despite the distance, Mexico and India share a large number of similarities. As a result of which there has been productive political dialogue and fruitful economic development. Mexico and Karnataka too have many similarities. We are both aerospace hubs, apart from being known agro and food processing, and automative sectors. Due to our confidence in the Indian economy we have invested heavily in the country.

Jaime Nualart
Mexican Ambassador to India 

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