K’taka CM leaves for Davos, boasts of state’s highest FDI share

Urban distress and lack of employment opportunities have led to an increase in demand for jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai being wished by his colleagues before leaving for Davos in Switzerland, where he will take part in the 52nd World Economic Forum. (Agencies)
Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai being wished by his colleagues before leaving for Davos in Switzerland, where he will take part in the 52nd World Economic Forum. (Agencies)
Published on May 23, 2022 12:19 AM IST
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By, Bengaluru

Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai left for Davos in Switzerland on Sunday to take part in the 52nd World Economic Forum (WEF), where he is slated to meet industry leaders and others to help attract investments for the state. The event is scheduled between May 22 and 26.

“I am set to meet many business honchos and captains of industry. Many of them have shown interest to invest in Karnataka. I am confident of getting a good response for our efforts to attract investments to the state,” Bommai said on Sunday before departing for the WEF.

The statements come when Karnataka has been trying to attract investments to generate more jobs and help improve the economy, which is yet to fully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns.

Urban distress and lack of employment opportunities have led to an increase in demand for jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

According to official data from the rural development and panchayat raj (RDPR) department, the number of person-days in Karnataka has almost doubled from 80.58 million in 2017-18 to 160.28 million in 2021-22.

The number of people who have sought refuge under MGNREGA, too, has nearly doubled in the last five years from 3.891 million persons taking up MNREGA jobs in 2017-18, the number has ballooned to 6.392 million in 2021-22, HT reported on April 11.

However, Bommai and successive governments before him have continued to prioritise attracting big-ticket investments while a sizeable section of small scale industries faces continued hardships.

According to N Nagaraju (MTB), Karnataka’s minister for small scale industries, over 45,000 labourers working in small scale units lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

“A total of 754 registered small scale industries, including 562 industries in 2020 and 102 in 2021, have shut down,” he had said in a statement in the upper house of the state legislature in March.

He added that over 92,000 jobs have been created across the state during the same period.

Bommai, on Sunday, said that the state had attracted the highest share of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last quarter.

“India has reported the highest foreign direct investment (FDI Inflow) to the tune of $83.57 billion for the financial year 2021-22.

In the computer hardware and software sector, Karnataka bagged the highest share of the FDI inflow (53%) followed by Delhi & Maharastra (17% Each),” he said in a post on Twitter.

He expressed confidence about attracting more investments into the state from this visit, and during the Global Investors Meet scheduled to be organised in November.

The Chief Minister is leading a delegation from the state to Davos, comprising Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani, Information Technology and Biotechnology (IT/BT) Minister C N Ashwath Narayan, and top officials.

“We will be leaving Sunday and from Monday sessions will start there (WEF). On Monday, there is one session and another one on May 24, we will be attending both. We will be meeting several world leaders and industrialists there,” Bommai told reporters before leaving for Davos.

Noting that in the quarter ended recently, the highest Foreign Direct Investment has flown into India, which is good news, he said, “Karnataka stands number one in that, like last four quarters, during this quarter too Karnataka has received highest FDI. So, we are encouraged, several foreign and Indian industries are keen on investing in Karnataka. We are confident of getting a good response during the Global Investors Meet scheduled for November.”The government will be taking all the measures to see to it that it not only signs MoUs, but industries actually get established in the state, he added.

This will be Bommai’s first overseas trip as Chief Minister. There was earlier speculation on whether or not he will travel to Davos.

Bommai’s predecessor B S Yediyurappa had attended the Davos summit in January 2020, following which the BJP government in the state had introduced major reforms, including a policy change, by making it easier for investors to purchase land from farmers.

The state government has also scheduled its global investors meet (GIM) in November.

“This time, the Global Investors’ Meet would not be confined to just singing of MoUs. All the initiatives would be taken to ensure setting up of the industries after signing of MoUs,” he said.

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