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Auction time is action time Tryst with cyclone Phailin! In Odisha 'All is well', almost! Odisha is the second best investment destination POSCO still mired in a million problems We get our Inox Odisha Financial aid by NABARD ESZ opposed by local leaders MCL to set up Rs 9000 crore power plant Vedanta now wanted!

As mining industry sulks, software comes to the rescue

Statistics show software exports from Odisha have grown by 20 per cent in the last fiscal. At an annual aggregate of Rs 1611 crore, it’s still way behind that of Karnataka. Yet the good news is: it’s picking up. Infosys accounted for 75 per cent of  bulk exports. As Infosys is expanding its operations by setting up another software development centre in Bhubaneswar, which will employ another 3,000 the future looks bright. TCS also has completed the second phase building likely to be operational soon.

Mahindra Satyam is also in expansion mode; it’ll start a new centre by December’ 2013. These expansions by IT biggies will accelerate software exports from the state. Perhaps this is the reason why Bhubaneswar has surged ahead of most other tier-III cities in employment generation in recent months.


Air India withdraws its flight between Bhubaneswar and Kolkatta

In a sense it is a tell-tale sign that all is not well in Odisha. After resuming the daily flight between Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, just a couple of years back, Air India has done it again.

Ostensibly it is not making a good business sense to run its carrier between Bhubaneswar and Kolkata. Then, the moot question is: how does it make sense for private carriers? More puzzling is the timing of the flight withdrawn during the most important festival of Odisha, the Chariot festival of Lord Jagannath.


Google Business Group (GBG) Bhubaneswar launched

GBGs are independent community-led groups formed by passionate individuals. All events are free and open to business professionals who are interested to learn and become more successful in using the internet for their business. The good news in last July this trend reached Bhubaneswar.

The three driving principles of GBGs are: connect, inform and inspire. This will facilitate meetings of tech-savvy entrepreneurs in their community. In turn they’d learn together, how to use web technologies for their businesses and unleash new ideas through inspiring conversations. Truly, the world has gone flat.


Investment proposals waiting to see fruition

After interminable delays, public outrage throughout the standoff, stiff resistance to land acquisition by the marginal people and multiple visits by representatives of the South Korean steel major Posco, last month a major hurdle- land acquisition- finally got over. It was not bereft of its own share of drama and political brinkmanship. Now seems that Posco can start doing what it does best, making steel.

However, as marginal farmers and poor evictees pocket their compensation money and start searching for alternate homes and livelihoods, here are some very pertinent questions for the thinking class:

Posco will get a mining lease for 30 years and be assured of a supply of 600 million tonnes of iron ore. This entails heavy loss of revenue for the government. For, while the open market rate of iron ore is Rs 2,000 per tonne, Posco will get it for Rs 400, a net advantage of Rs 1,00 per ton. Multiply that with  600 million tonnes and the figure is staggering. Why such a largesse?

Posco will also be allowed to export 400 million tonnes of iron ore to its Korean subsidiary. The resultant rate of iron ore exploitation will be above 5 per cent per annum of the proven reserves. This would mean, the entire stock would deplete in a maximum of 20 years. Is such an approach sustainable?

However, the silver lining is: once the big ticket Posco project sees the light of the day, the proverbial floodgate will open and then there will be a deluge of investments in Odisha! Still, the political dispensation at Odisha will have to work out a working model of obtaining faster clearances from Central regulators to facilitate industrial development of the state and Posco will be a test case in that direction.

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