'Karnataka's drawbacks not insurmountable'

'Karnataka's drawbacks not insurmountable'

Karnataka has seen economic growth accompanied by greater industrialisation and rising employment creation down the years, and hence, any infrastructural and governance drawbacks facing the state are not insurmountable, Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj said on Monday.

He was speaking at the start of Abhivruddhi Karnataka, the first Karnataka Economic Summit organized by the state government in association with the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC).

Bhardwaj said that the state has a lot to offer the world if it works on diligently improving its governance values and infrastructure which would have a positive effect on industrial development. “The state has been lagging on the agricultural front in recent years, but this has been offset by rise of horticulture as an emerging force in pushing rural productivity,” Bhardwaj said.

According to the backgrounder of the Summit published by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India on Tuesday, agriculture needs particular attention in the scheme of planning the state’s development. The paper states that while the area under horticulture contributes only 14.5 per cent of the total cultivated area in the state, the income generated by it is over 40 per cent of the state’s total agricultural income.

Noting that the services sector has helped the state’s growth, Governor Bhardwaj underlined the need for the private sector to be able to compete more effectively with international competitors.

Infrastructure is another area where improvements can help attract more investments into the state. Much of it has been neglected, with the will to change clearly lacking, Bhardwaj said, noting that overseas investors have often held back from investing in the state citing the lack of good governance and infrastructure. “Only good governance and internal harmony in the state can help attract more investments,” Bhardwaj said.

Coming down hard on illegal constructions in Karnataka cities, Bhardwaj said that these should not be tolerated. “There seems to be no rule of law when sanctioning such constructions in the urban areas. This is not done in any state and we should tackle this problem in all earnest,” Bhardwaj said.

BCIC President H V Harish said that the Karnataka Economic Summit is the first in India to be focussed exclusively on a particular state’s economic development. “Connectivity, governance, infrastructure and water supply are key issues for the state and we have requested the government for a joint task force to take up these issues,” Harish said.
In 2012-13, the agriculture sector contributed 15 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (Rs 3.03 lakh crore), while industry and services contributed 26 per cent and 59 per cent respectively.

“The unorganised sector alone employs 86.6 per cent of the state’s workforece,” Namasivayam said, highlighting the need for better utilisation of labour skills.

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