Describing Orissa as a state blessed by god, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi on Saturday urged the Indian diaspora, especially Oriyas living abroad, to invest in the state for its faster development.
Inaugurating a two-day convention of non-resident Indians (NRIs) and expatriate Oriyas, Ravi said Orissa is a forward-looking state with rich natural and mineral resources.
"Proper management of these resources would ensure that Orissa graduates to the level of a developed state," the minister said at the convention titled 'Emerging Opportunities in Orissa'.
Hoping the convention would give an opportunity to NRIs for new initiatives and investment in Orissa, Ravi said that society could be fully developed only with social justice and equal opportunity and Orissa also could go ahead with this principle for development.
Pitching for investment in the state, Orissa's Minister for Energy, IT and Culture Suryanarayan Patra said the atmosphere in the state was ripe for new projects. "In Orissa, we work as one - politicians, bureaucrats, government," he said.
Former chief justice of India GB Patnaik, addressing the gathering, said, "In this age of liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation, if the government does not come forward, then we can build our state with private enterprise, provided we have the will power."
Orissa has seen high levels of investment in recent years. The state received 11 per cent of the total foreign direct investment that has flowed into India this year, and, according to experts, there is potential for $30 billion worth of investment in the state.
Soung-Sik Cho, managing director of Posco India, the South Korean steel maker that is investing $12 billion in Orissa, also gave a presentation of his company's plans.
Three seminars - on IT and business process outsourcing (BPO), tourism and hospitality and on health and education - are being held during the convention.
A five-day Orissa Utsav is also being organised at Dilli Haat from December 17-21.
Around 100 delegates, including 40 from overseas, are attending the convention that was organised by the Odissa Forum.