Odisha, despite Covid, continues to lead in attracting new investment projects and in just four years from 2018-19 to 2021-22 has cornered new proposals worth rupees four lakh crore, as per the study undertaken jointly by MSME Export Promotion Council and knowledge firm BillMart FinTech.

The study has also revealed that the state has recorded a significant increase in the under implementation rate, which means the projects that were announced progressed to the implementation stage.

The study was jointly released here today by MSME EPC Chairman Dr D S Rawat and BillMart Founder & CEO Mr Jigish Sonagara. The study has also revealed that there was a significant improvement in terms of count of projects and noted that bulk of the new investments were made in the steel manufacturing industry, as the steel industry  been thriving with an increase in export demand and firm global prices.

The investors’ friendly policies of the state government, and availability of adequate resources, a positive message has gone across among the investing community, nationally and internationally. Food processing and agro-based industries are also attracting investments which will go long way in providing sustainable livelihood to the people and help inclusive growth in the state.

However, Dr Rawat said, the government should give further push to ‘completion of projects’ to avoid the cost escalation and suggested constitution of a high powered committee under the chief secretary to examine each case and accord clearances within a stipulated time frame.

During these four years, as per the data published by CMIE as on 7 July 2022. The investment projects of worth Rs. 1,25,089.53 cr were completed and projects pending for implementation of Rs.1,12,453.42 cr were revived. These two developments have generated large number of new direct and indirect jobs.

Regarding the new investment projects announced, the study says, in 2018-19, there was an investment of Rs.1,20,855.39 cr, 2019-20 Rs.46,560,48 cr, 2020-21 Rs.1,11,679.51 cr and in the year 2021-22 Rs.1,02,880.96 cr.

Dr Rawat said the government announced new projects during these four years worth of Rs.62,356.36 cr.  In 2018-19 the new projects announced were of Rs.16224.07 cr, 2019-20 Rs.25079.56 cr, 2020-21 Rs.13907.63 cr and in 2021-22 Rs.7145.10 cr.

The study noted that the Indian private sector made announcement in four years (2018-19 to 2021-22) of new investment projects worth Rs.2,69,431.36 cr. In 2018-19, the Indian private sector made announcement for projects worth Rs.104594.32 cr, 2019-20 Rs.21480.90 cr, 2020-21 Rs.47771.88 cr and 2021-22 Rs.95584.26 cr.

During this period, projects worth Rs.58906.46 cr were completed; 2018-19 Rs.9523.34 cr, 2019-20 Rs.38714.40 cr, 2020-21 Rs.4995.64 cr, and in 2021-22 Rs.5673.08 cr. Rs.78375.85 cr worth of projects were revived during these four years.

On the exports front, Odisha has been acknowledged and categorized by the NITI Aayog as an over-performing state. In categories such as export ecosystem, Odisha secured 2nd rank next to Maharashtra with the central agency praising trade support initiative of the government.

Referring the MSME sector, Mr Sonagara said, at present Odisha is having 4.5 lakh registered MSMEs providing over 17 lakh jobs. Ease of doing business fostered by the state government and its leadership will be driving force. Endow needed with rich mineral resources, Odisha has emerged as a choice for investors.  Therefore, the big-ticket investments and existing over 275 medium and large units need to develop a strong ecosystem for MSMEs to grow.

Unfortunately Mr Sonagara lamented that one of the biggest pain points of MSMEs today is gaining access to affordable credit, and therefore BillMart has developed digital ecosystem to handhold the MSMEs and provide seamless experience in raising short term working capital, unlocking trade receivables, freeing cash flows.

He further said the MSME Export Promotion Council and BillMart FinTech have joined hands to empower the businesses to decide the most suitable and customized financial solutions for their businesses.

On BillMart, said Mr Sonagara, lenders will compete amongst themselves to finance the growing businesses and MSMEs to partner with their growth stories and solving the biggest problem of unpaid bills/ trade receivables by deployment of advanced technology, smart contract, blockchain, deep data analysis and fostering growth of all stakeholders.

Dr Rawat said, Odisha for the last one decade has economically grown at an average rate of over 7 per cent and has witnessed a faster growth rate as compared to national average of around 6.5 per cent. The per capita income of Odisha increased by 115.60 percent higher than the per capita income growth of India at 111.51 per cent from Rs.63,462 to Rs.1,34,226 between 2012-13 to 2019-20.