The state of Jharkhand is preparing for a revolution in the ESDM sector. In a recent candid conversation with members of the Electronics Bazaar team, the honourable Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Raghubar Das, discussed some of the initiatives that have already been undertaken in this direction and the roadmap ahead. Excerpts from the talk…
EB: Kindly tell us more about Jharkhand as an investment destination.
CM: Industrialists are attracted to a state when they see some favourable policies being brought out by the state government that will ensure profitable business for the investors and for that particular state, as well as the consumers. The state of Jharkhand has immense potential in many fields, whether it is IT, manufacturing, tourism, industries, food processing or textiles. Its capital city, Ranchi, is very strategically located, and industries can reach out to their consumers in West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, very efficiently, from here.
In order to attract more and more investors, the Jharkhand state government has formulated approximately 12-13 policies related to industry. Based on these policies, we have organised a very successful global summit that helped us draw the attention of investors from different sectors like textiles, IT, cement, steel, food processing, etc. We have been successful in attracting a substantial number of investors.
To facilitate investments and improve investor confidence, the government of Jharkhand is taking up multiple initiatives to improve the ease of doing business in the state. The emphasis has been not only on strengthening standard operating procedures but also on simplifying them by introducing information technology. This will help our government facilitate businesses more efficiently and effectively.
The single-window portal launched in Jharkhand is an effective online system to help investors in resolving legal matters related to land, electricity and water in a timely manner. It dramatically reduces the hassles involved in visiting the respective offices. Given the attractiveness of investing in the state, coupled by the local availability of skilled manpower, appropriate locations and the incentives offered by the government, Jharkhand is an ideal destination for industries that want to start afresh, expand or relocate.
EB: How do you view Jharkhand’s role in the ‘Make in India’ drive?
CM: Shortly after starting the reforms in the state, the impact of the government of Jharkhand’s investor-friendly initiatives could be seen. Jharkhand has been ranked amongst India’s top states, scoring 96.57 per cent for its compliance with the business reforms prescribed by DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion), government of India and the World Bank.
The ‘Make in Jharkhand’ programme was launched by the state government to encourage companies to start or increase their manufacturing activities in the state. This not only aims at attracting global companies to set up manufacturing in Jharkhand, but also encourages domestic companies to expand/relocate to Jharkhand. The availability of modern and facilitating infrastructure is a very important requirement for the growth of industry. The Jharkhand government intends to develop IT parks, industrial corridors (Eastern Economic Corridor) and smart cities to provide infrastructure based on state-of-art technology with modern high-speed communication and integrated logistic arrangements. The state is making an effort to get more areas notified as brownfield EMCs (Electronics Manufacturing Clusters), a scheme of the government of India.
EB: Kindly tell us about the roadmap for implementing ‘Momentum Jharkhand’.
CM: ‘Momentum Jharkhand’ is about creating continuous momentum. Over 200 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and Letters of Intent (LoI) have been signed under this programme, adding up to total investments of over ₹ 3000 billion. After two years, we plan to hold another global summit. In order to keep a continuous momentum, I personally constituted an investment board that performs a monthly review of investors and keeps track of the various problems faced by them in the course of setting up manufacturing in our state.There is also a small committee, under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, which is monitoring progress on a weekly basis. It deals with the concerns and interests of the investors. In this way, we aim to sustain the momentum on a weekly, monthly and ultimately, on a yearly basis, for I believe that continuous momentum is the main motive of the Jharkhand government.
EB: What would Jharkhand’s immediate move be to boost the ESDM sector?
CM: At present, Jharkhand’s mission is to promote manufacturing of the entire range of ESDM products for the economic development in the state. This includes plans to develop ESDM manufacturing capabilities and capacities, to develop high quality electronic products at economical prices for national and international markets, and to develop environment-friendly practices in the manufacture, usage and disposal of electronic products.
EB. What about Jharkhand’s immediate move to boost the ESDM Sector ?
CM: At present, Jharkhand’s mission is to promote manufacturing of the entire range of ESDM products for the economic development in the State. The objective of Jharkhand’s ESDM policy is to create export of ESDM goods from Jharkhand and contribute atleast USD 2 billion of the nation’s export target of USD 80 billion by 2020. To encourage first mover advantage for ESDM units in the State, we will provide incentives of INR 10 Crores to the first 5 anchor units.
In addition to this, the State departments shall earmark a minimum of 2%, of the plan budget for IT/ITeS, this budget shall be increased to 5% over a period of 5 years. We are also encouraging local manufacturers by selecting them for supply of up to 50% of the tender quantity.
EB: Jharkhand has immense growth potential and opportunities in terms of resources but there are certain challenges too. How are you planning to overcome these in order to make the state attractive to investors?
CM: I agree with your point. From the security point of view, the Maoist activities in the state have decreased by about 50 per cent in the last two years. As far as the security of women is concerned, permission will be granted for companies to run three-shift operations, with women working even in the night shift at IT/ESDM units. This will be subject to the companies certifying the precautions they’ve taken to ensure the safety and security of their employees. The certificate (on a prescribed format), regarding women employees working in shifts other than the general shift, will be submitted to the government every year. Also, the company employing women who work beyond the general shift will be responsible for escorting its employees to and from the workplace, with armed security guards.
We aim to make Jharkhand a Maoist-free state by December 2017. We are working full time to implement the rule of law across the state. The first priority of our government is to provide safety and security not only to the investors but also to the public and the employees. In the coming days, you will see a more secure and Maoist-free Jharkhand.
EB: Are any additional initiatives being taken to promote Jharkhand as an investment destination apart from dealing with the existing challenges?
CM: Jharkhand aims to create three ESDM innovation hubs at Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad with at least 200 acres of land for the electronics, IT, ITeS and ESDM industries. The ESDM innovation centres will provide complete infrastructure to students, entrepreneurs and companies to take up a project from concept to a working prototype, or to a startup company manufacturing the product.
Incentives will be provided for using local materials to manufacture or assemble the final products. Land has emerged as a major constraint for industrial growth in Jharkhand. The state government intends to take steps to make industrial land available, which is critical for sustained industrial growth.
The state will facilitate the ESDM industry to get benefits from the Centre under the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS), the Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC) scheme, the scheme to support MSMEs in the electronics sector, and to avail financial assistance for skills development in the ESDM sector.
The state government will also encourage the setting up of ESDM units in dedicated IT parks where the necessary infrastructure like power, water, roads, etc, is readily available, along with the social infrastructure needed. A transport subsidy will also be provided to importers of ESDM raw materials from abroad, for value addition. The subsidy will be provided from the port of landing in India to any of the ESDM hubs at Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad. In case of air consignments, the subsidy will be valid from the Indian airport that the consignment landed in (Delhi or Mumbai) to Ranchi or the Air Cargo Complex in Jharkhand.
Besides these initiatives, we are going to organise the groundbreaking ceremony for the textile and food processing industry in our state very soon. We aim to treat challenges as opportunities. We need investments to eliminate the poverty in the state.
EB: Being the first CM in the region to encourage the eastern corridor, how are you planning to go forward with the initiative, considering that Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal are ruled by different political parties?
CM: As our PM says, to make India a developed nation, we have to first develop the north-eastern states of our country. So keeping this in mind, we inaugurated the Sahibganj Ganga bridge on April 6, 2017. This will connect the Sahibganj district of Jharkhand to the Katihar district of Bihar and will give further access to Bengal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
In another development, we are also planning to connect Govindpur (in Dhanbad) to Sahibganj via road, a project that will cost ₹ 10 billion. With this road, one will be able to cover the distance between these two cities, which takes 12-13 hours at present, in just four-five hours. With such infrastructure, anyone doing business in Dhanbad can now extend their business focus to Bangladesh and Myanmar.
On April 6, we also inaugurated a port for which we are in the process of acquiring 5000 acres of land. The port will provide further access to Varanasi, Bangladesh and Myanmar, and will slash the transportation charges of goods being shipped via road and rail.
EB: Jharkhand’s picturesque beauty has the potential to turn the state into a tourism hot-spot. But as of now, the state still lacks tourism infrastructure. How are you planning to improve this?
CM: The state of Jharkhand is lying in the lap of nature. So tourism development can do wonders for this state. It’s no longer the case that it’s the states with mines that attract business and investments. Today’s investors prefer the states where they get all the desired facilities as well as quick results from the government.
We are focusing on connecting all the tourist hot-spots of the state with good roads. We spent ₹ 130 million to build a road to connect Tarapith (West Bengal) and Maluti (Jharkhand). At present, we are working on a 125km circuit that will connect Tarapith (West Bengal), Maluti (Dumka, Jharkhand), Baba Baidyanath (Deoghar, Jharkhand) and Basukinath Dham (Dumka, Jharkhand).
Other circuits which are being opened up are Bodhgaya (Gaya, Bihar) to Itkhori (Chatra, Jharkhand) and Rajrappa (Ramgarh, Jharkhand) to Ranchi. These planned circuits will not only encourage tourism but also empower the rural population of the state by generating employment in the sector. They can be trained as tourist guides and hence earn a livelihood in their native regions. We have already launched one policy for tourism. In a nutshell, we are eyeing growth in every possible sector to make Jharkhand a developed state.
EB: How impactful has technology been in the different stratas of the state?
CM: We all know that technology is the need of the hour. To end corruption and the prevalence of middlemen in the state and nation, we have to take the help of information technology. There is a huge communication gap between the government and the public, which has been increasing with every passing day. With the help of IT, the government can directly hear the voices of the common people. Therefore, boosting IT in the state is a priority.