Odisha has attracted investments worth Rs 12.08 lakh crore across sectors till the end of 2011: ASSOCHAM

The following is from an article in Business Standard based on an ASSOCHAM report.

Continuing its investor friendly momentum, Orissa has attracted investments worth Rs 12.08 lakh crore across sectors till the end of 2011, grabbing 10.04 per cent share of the overall investment pie standing at Rs 120.34 lakh crore.

… While Gujarat has emerged as the numero uno state, bagging investments to the tune of Rs 16.28 lakh crore, Maharashtra is at the second slot, drawing investment of Rs 14.13 lakh crore. Neighboring Andhra Pradesh leads Orissa by a slender margin with investment proposals of Rs 12.09 lakh crore in its kitty.

“Out of the 20 industrial states, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Karnataka have clearly emerged as the preferred investment destinations by attracting 53.56 per cent of the total live investments,” said D S Rawat, national secretary general of Assocham.

Of the overall investments that have flowed to different states, Orissa leads the pack with top slots in manufacturing and mining sectors with a share of 17.5 per cent and 31.2 per cent respectively of the total investments.

In electricity sector, Orissa with a share of 11.3 per cent is next only to Gujarat. The state has clocked 3.4 per cent share in services sector and two per cent in irrigation while its meagre share of 0.7 per cent in the real sector is among the lowest of the 20 states surveyed by Assocham. Of its own investment basket of Rs 12.08 lakh crore, manufacturing is the top draw with a whopping share of 44.2 per cent, drawing parallels with neighbouring states like Jharkhand and West Bengal where manufacturing has been the key investment driver as well, accounting for 63.1 per cent share and 43.1 per cent share respectively.

Electricity is the next biggest contributor to Orissa’s investment portfolio with a share of 40.4 per cent followed by services at 7.4 per cent and mining sector at 6.5 per cent. The state’s residual investment basket is filled by sectors like irrigation and real estate with a share of 0.6 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.

February 13th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | Comments Off on Odisha has attracted investments worth Rs 12.08 lakh crore across sectors till the end of 2011: ASSOCHAM

Indigo brings new connectivity between Bhubaneswar and Coimbatore/Vizag

As S. Pani points out Indigo is going to have the following new flights through Bhubaneswar:

Starting 16th Feb:
6E 293 Kolkata-Bhubaneswar-Mumbai-Coimbatore
6E 294 Coimbatore-Mumbai-Bhubaneswar-Kolkata

Starting 7th March
6E 511 Chennai-Vizag-Bhubaneswar-Kolkata
6E 512 Kolkata-Bhubaneswar-Vizag-Chennai

With these and other recent changes following is a glimpse of the flight connectivity between Bhubaneswar and other cities. We only show direct flights or flights with one stop (but no plane changes).

Kolkata:

Delhi: (Note – The Jetlite flight does not show up in the left.)Mumbai: (The Jetlite and Jet Konect flights below refer to the same flight.)

Bangalore: (The Jetlite and Jet Konect flights below refer to the same flight.)
Hyderabad: (For some reason the above Jet Konnect/Jet Lite flight to  Hyderabad does not show up below.)Chennai: (The Air India flight below is five days a week.)Visakhapatnam:      Port Blair: Coimbatore:

The new flights that Indigo introduced has the hopping schedule that South West airlines in USA has. Such a hopping schedule allows for additional 1 or 2 stop connections without plane changes. I hope in the future similar connectivity is added to places like Cochin, Pune, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Indore, Guwahati, Lucknow/Kanpur etc.

I also noticed that on some days the price to fly between Bhubaneswar and Mumbai is more than flying from Bhubaneswar to Coimbatore via Mumbai on the same flight.

February 12th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 4 Comments »

Food for thought: India may have 50 states in 2040

(Thanks to Sanjib Karmee for the pointer.) The following graphics is from an article in Outlook.

This may happen much sooner than 2040. I think if this is done through a nationwide initiative all over India then it could turn out to be good. Of course, for this to work some additional steps need to be taken. For example, the supreme court strength has to increase so as to deal with inter-state disputes that will be caused by this; A big chunk of money has to be allocated to the new states (the states that will lose their capital area or main city) to build infrastructure; etc.

In the context of Odisha I have had brief discussions with some people on splitting of Odisha suggesting that this will lead to more areas of Odisha having better infrastructure. For example, if there are two states, then there will be two capital areas with associated infrastructure that come with most capitals of the country (an airport, good train connectivity, etc.). One of the reason that is often given to counter this is that if Odisha is divided, each part will have even lesser clout at the center and as it is Odisha has fewer number of MPs than many other states and thus has less clout than those states.

If the divisions happen all across the country, then the above reason may be less applicable.

Also, since the states will no longer be on linguisitic basis the issue of Kosali vs Odia language will not be a factor.

February 10th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 23 Comments »

Puri – Bansapani Express extended to Barbil from 8th February 2012; Slowly but steadily rail connectivity is increasing in the interior areas of Odisha

Not so long ago Puri and Bhubaneswar were the only initiating and terminal stations in Odisha with trains plying only on a few major routes: (i)  Kharagpur – Bhubaneswar – Berhampur (ii) Tatanagar – Rourkela – Jharsuguda – Bilaspur (iii) Khurda Rd – Puri. (iv) Jharsuguda – Sambalpur – Titlagarh – Raipur (v) Titlagarh – Rayagada – Vijianagaram ; with only the first three having significant number of trains.

Over the last 10-15 years things have been changing steadily and the following (from Samaja)  is a welcome announcement. It will connect the Bardbil – Joda mining towns to the Odisha heartland.

With this extension Barbil will have a daily train to Puri and a daily train to Kolkata.

Following is a list of the other stations (besides the main line stations of Bhubaneswar, Puri, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Balasore, Jharsuguda and Rourkela) which now have emerging connectivity.

  1. Barbil: Daily express train to Puri and a daily express train to Kolkata. A daily passenger train to Tatanagar.
    1. Kendujhargarh: The train to Puri passes through Kendujhargarh. In addition there is a fast passenger between Kendujhargarh and Bhubaneswar 5 days a week.
  2. Baripada: Six days a week express train to Bhubaneswar and 3 days a week express train to Kolkata; three passenger trains (two of them 6 days a week; another 3 days a week) to Rupsa.
  3. Koraput: Daily express train to Bhubaneswar and Jagdalpur, Daily express train to Kolkata, Daily express train to Rourkela, Daily passenger to Rayagada, Daily passenger to Vizag and Kirandul, and  a 5 days a week express train to Vizianagaram and Vizag has been announced.
  4. Paradeep: Daily express train to Puri (via Bhubaneswar) and three passenger trains to Cuttack.
  5. Gunupur: A daily passenger between Gunupur and Puri (via Bhubaneswar).
  6. Rayagada: There are many trains that pass through Rayagada linking Rayagada with Vizianagaram and beyond (Vizag, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kochi, Berhampur, Bhubaneswar), with Titlagarh and beyond (Raipur, Nagpur, Bhopal, Delhi, Sambalpur, Rourkela, Tata, Dhanbad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata) and with Koraput and (Jagdalpur)  Among them are a daily express train between Rayagada and Sambalpur and daily passenger trains between Rayagada and Vizag, Rayagada and Vijaywada, and Rayagada and Koraput.
  7. Titlagarh: There are many trains that pass through linking Titlagarh with Raipur and beyond (Nagpur, Bhopal, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Gandhinagar), with Sambalpur and beyond (Rourkela, Dhanbad, Tata, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Kolkata), with Vizianagaram and beyond (Vizag, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi), and with Koraput and beyond (Jagdalpur). Among them are a daily express train between Titlagarh and Kolkata, and daily passenger trains between Titlagarh and Raipur and Titlagarh and Jharsuguda.
  8. Balangir: There are many trains that pass through linking Balangir with Titlagarh and beyond (Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Gandhinagar, Rayagada, Koraput, Vizag, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi) and Balangir with Sambalpur and beyond (Jharsuguda, Rourkela, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Dhanbad, Tata, Kolkata). Among them is a daily express train between Balangir and Bhubaneswar.
  9. Bhawanipatna: With the Lanjigarh Rd – Bhawanipatna – Junagarh line coming to a completion within a year it is expected that we will have new trains to/from Bhawanipatna in a year or two. Currently, Kesinga and Titlagarh stations serve this area.
February 6th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 4 Comments »

Initial Steps towards a CDP for Puri: From Dharitri

February 4th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | Comments Off on Initial Steps towards a CDP for Puri: From Dharitri

Some dimensional information about the Bhubneswar airport

Following is some data from http://www.aai.aero/allAirports/bhubaneshwar_technicalinfo.jsp.

 

Latitude
201448.2N
Longitude
0854906.7E
Land Area
816.79 Acres
Elevation
146 above MSL

Terminal Capacity

Domestic

Arrival

Departure

300

400

Boarding Gates

Domestic
Ground Floor
4

Terminal Area and No. of Counters

Terminal
Area in Sq. Meters
No. of Counters
Check In
Immigration
Customs
Security
Domestic
4143 sq.mt.
15
 –
 –

 

The new airport terminal that is being constructed will be much bigger.

 

Nevertheless, it is clear that the new terminal is about 4-6 times bigger than the current terminal.

The article at http://www.tathya.in/new/story.aspx?sno=6154 mentions that the new terminal is expected to be ready by June 2012 and then the current terminal is planned to be used as an international terminal.

February 4th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 3 Comments »

I am a successful professional; I want to get into electoral politics and help people. What should I do?

There are many successful professionals who complain about the current politicians, elected officials, leaders, etc. Some of these professionals are ready to give up their professional career and join politics but wonder how to do that.

The phrase "all politics is local" is now commonly said in the US. Following are some excerpts from the wikipedia entry on "all politics is local".

… coined this phrase which encapsulates the principle that a politician’s success is directly tied to his ability to understand and influence the issues of his constituents. Politicians must appeal to the simple, mundane and everyday concerns of those who elect them into office. Those personal issues, rather than big and intangible ideas, are often what voters care most about, according to this principle. … The concept is contrary to the notion that most people, somehow, in local elections are casting votes to "send a message" to the highest levels; instead, the principle predicts that most people will not vote for local politicians simply as a means to act on feelings about higher politicians, …  The prediction is that most people who vote, or debate issues, are focused on resolving their local issues.

Based on the above principle my suggestion for professionals who want to help people via active politics is to go to the "local level" and run there for posts such as a ward member or sarpanch. From that perspective I admire the following attempt:

What not to do?

Unless one is super famous or is a descendant of the Nehru-Gandhi family or (Biju) Patnaik family one should not think of coming to Odisha from outside, create a party and project himself/herself as the Chief Minister. 

This is a mistake which a recent professional who returned to Odisha after a long stint as an IAS officer in another state did.

One should learn from his mistake.

What has/had he done for Odisha that people in Odisha would vote for him.  As a result this person could not even win his own seat.

He should have first focused on doing something for the people at a local level, run at the local level as a Sarpanch, Ward member etc. and tried to move up from there.

I hope others learn from his mistake and the above article in Sambada highlights the right path being taken by an outsider.

An approach that may work but most likely may not!

An approach that may work is for the professional (coming from outside) to convince a recognized party to field him/her as an MP/MLA candidate. This may work, but often does not because there are already a lot of local people who have done social service at the local level for years and if the party ignores all of them in favor of an outsider then it may result in a revolt within the party. So unless the outsider is really famous this approach will not work, and again the best bet is for the outsider to immerse himself/herself in helping people at the local level before trying for a candidacy at the MLA/MP level.

January 30th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | Comments Off on I am a successful professional; I want to get into electoral politics and help people. What should I do?

The proposed expansion of Bhubaneswar station to 10 platforms should be implemented asap

Thanks very much Bikash Dash for the pointer to http://wiki.iricen.gov.in/doku/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=9209%3Aabkhare.pdf. The solution presented there to expand the current Bhubaneswar station to 10 platforms is very good. Since the expansion of existing Bhubaneswar station is deemed economically feasible, they should just go ahead with that immediately (asap) and at the same time start acquiring land in the New Barang location so that a large station can come up there in 10-15 years when that will be needed.

Following are some pictures from the above mentioned slide sets.

The main hurdle with respect to the above plan is the private land that is marked as "to be acquired". That part is shown in red in the map below.

I hope that hurdle is overcome and the expansion gets going asap. If there is trouble then a simple alternative is to move the commercial part to the area marked in green (in the map below) and make the parking area marked in orange a multi-level one with the underground part going under the Janpath to the commercial complex marked in green.

Since the land marked in green is government land this would not cause a lot of trouble and as mentioned before it will connect the station complex with the IG park, Secretariate, Assembly, and Rabindra mandap. In the future there may be a Las Vegas style monorail connecting all these parts. (Note that this plan will not affect the existing coaching yard much. That money can be used in making the underground path connecting the green part and the orange part.)


But in 10-15 years the ten platforms will not be enough; especially when there will be many suburban routes with more frequent trains. Examples of such lines:

  • Bhubaneswar-Puri-Konark (Puri-Konark extension is expected)
  • Bhubaneswar-Berhampur-Gopalpur (Berhampur-Gopalpur extension is expected; post connectivity)
  • Bhubaneswar-Khurda Rd-Nayagarh (part of Khurda-Balangir line)
  • Bhubaneswar-Talcher
  • Bhubaneswar-Rajathgarh-Tangi
  • Bhubaneswar-Bhadrak
  • Bhubaneswar-Paradeep
  • Bhubaneswar-Barang-Astaranga (new port connectivity)
  • Bhubaneswar-Puri-Baliharchandi (new port connectivity)
  • Bhubaneswar-Jakhapura-Sukinda

So the alternative plan of a major station near Barang should also proceed but with a slower speed. Especially the land should be acquired asap before the prices become very high.

January 30th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 9 Comments »

Kalahandi – a pot of art ( a nice op-ed piece from Dharitri)

January 28th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 3 Comments »

Bhubaneswar railway station desperately needs additional platforms

Update: Thanks very much Bikash Dash for the pointer to http://wiki.iricen.gov.in/doku/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=9209%3Aabkhare.pdf. The solution presented there is good enough. My only comment would be that since the expansion of existing Bhubaneswar station is economically feasible, they should just go ahead with that immediately (asap) and at the same time start acquiring land in the New Barang location so that a large station can come up there in 10-15 years when that will be needed.


The Bhubaneswar railway station currently has only FOUR platforms. That is too little for the volume of trains and passengers it caters to and will cater to in the future. Besides being on the main Howrah-Chennai line and the ECOR headquarter, with the Bhubaneswar metro area growing and many new lines in the anvil (Khurda-Balangir, possible new line to Astarang to serve the proposed port there, Khurda Rd To Rajahthagarh completing a circuit)  there will soon  be need for many local train circuits with more frequent trains.

All this means that even if a new station near Barang (15-16 kms from Bhubaneswar) is constructed with enough platforms, because of the central location of the Bhubaneswar station, the later needs to be expanded with additional platforms.

But there is no horizontal available land in parallel to the exisiting platforms.

I envision two possible solutions:

(i) Going vertical and creating another layer of platforms either under or above the existing platforms. But that would add may be another 4 platforms.

(ii) Another possibility is to go under and create a terminus under the area marked in blue in the pictures below. All those land is owned by the Odisha government. So land acquisition is not a problem.

As can be seen from the pictures above one can add 8+ more platforms perpendicular to the existing 4 platforms. All this can be done in a PPP mode with making good use of shopping, pedestrian plaza and surface transport center all in the ground level and higher and stretching all the way up to the Indira Gandhi park and the Assembly Hall, Secretariat, Rabindra Mandap etc.

The new platforms could mostly be used for trains origniating and terminating at Bhubaneswar; thus  not hampering the stopping times of thorough trains which would  need an engine direction change if they go to the new platforms.

January 28th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 6 Comments »

IT job growth in the Bhubaneswar area is back in the horizon: additional 10,000 software professional positions by 2013

Following is an excerpt from a report in Pioneer

With top software companies chalking out their strategies for growth, the top administrators in the Information Technology (IT) sector in Odisha say that by 2013 the state will have more than 10,000 seats for software professionals.

TCS, Infosys, Wipro and above all MindTree have started their plans for expansion in Odisha in a big way, said an official in the Department of IT(DoIT).

MindTree, a global IT and Product engineering services company, is starting work on its 20-acre campus from Thursday, said sources.Though MindTree wanted to open its campus way back in 2004, bureaucratic wrangles forced the IT major to wind up its plan. However, with the intervention of the top officials in the DoIT, it has once again taking up the job to set up 2,000-seater campus by 2013, which will ultimately a 10,000-seater campus in future.DoIT Secretary and IDCO CMD Pradeep Jena played a crucial role in roping in the Global IT company to Odisha by providing 20-acres of land in Infocity I.

… Wipro has also started construction of its campus in Infocity I, said an offcial.

This will be a 3,000-seater campus with the latest facilities for software development.Similarly, Infosys has decided to be co-developer of a 50-acre zone in Info Valley SEZ coming up near Khurda.

DoIT sources said 5,000 seats would be developed in next two years.TCS has also started adding its second campus with 3,500 seats in Infocity I.All these companies would be adding 10,000 seats by 2013 …

Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard.

Mid-sized IT solution provider MindTree Ltd has plans to complete its Orissa project by 2017 and the first phase by June 2013 …

… MindTree will invest Rs 250 crore in a span of five years to build the facility, which can employ 5,000 persons and can train 1,000 freshers, he informed while saying that the entire campus will have the touch of Puri temple along with modern architecture.

In its Bhubaneswar campus, the company will provide all its services including specialised Product Engineering Services that accounts for a third of its revenue. After its completion, it will also look for universities which can make changes in their curriculum to suit the business requirement, he said.

January 25th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 3 Comments »

The music, dance and craft festivals in and around Bhubaneswar during Nov 2011 – Feb 2012

Following is a list with some links. Please let me know if I am missing something.

  1. Gotipua Dance Festival, (15th-17th November 2011).
  2. Puri Beach Festival (23rd – 29th November 2011).
  3. Konark Festival (1st – 5th December 2011).
  4. International Sand art Festival (1st-5th December 2011).
  5. Dhauli Kalinga Mahotsav (10th – 14th December 2011).
    1. Dhauli Mahotsav (10th-12th December 2011)
    2. Kalinga Mahotsav (13th-14th December 2011)
  6. Shreekhetra Utsav, Puri  (14th-25th December 2011) ???
  7. Toshali National Crafts Mela (15th – 27th December 2011).
  8. Odissi International (18th-22nd December 2011).
  9. Eastern Jatra Festival (24th – 30th December).
  10. International Odissi Dance Festival (23rd-30th December 2011).
  11. Odissi Music Festival (8th – 10th January 2012).
  12. Ekamra – the Temple City Festival (10th-20th January 2012)
    1. Mukteswar Dance Festival (14th – 16th January 2012).
    2. Rajarani Music Festival (18th – 20th January 2012).
  13. Adivasi Mela (26th January – 5th February 2012).
  14. Kharavela Mahotsava (30th January – 5th February 2012).
  15. Konark dance and music festival (19-23rd February 2012).
  16. BYOF (Bring Your Own Film) -21st -25th February 2012.
  17. Drama Season in Bhubaneswar: February – April.
  18. Samrachana: Choreography Festival (1st March to 5th March 2012).

This year some of the festivals are new. They are: Gotipua festival, Sand art festival and the Odissi music festival. All of them are great additions. 

In the future years perhaps additional festivals that would include Pala/Daskathia, Sambalpuri music, Sambalpuri dance, Chhau dance, Ghumura etc. can be included. Chhau and Ghumura may be part of the adivasi mela, but giving them a solo dance or music platform (not part of a mela) would be great.

January 20th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | Comments Off on The music, dance and craft festivals in and around Bhubaneswar during Nov 2011 – Feb 2012

Odia literary writing should use more local “kathita” words to enrich Odia

Following is an op-ed from Samaja. (Thanks to S. Karmee for the pointer.)

I personally feel that Odia has become too sanskritized and writings in Odia often do not use the words that are used by people in normal conversations. The Odia speaking people use a rich vocabulary of  words, which if used in the written literature will enrich Odia. In that regard I came across and bought the following two books published by the Odisha Sahitya Academy.

  • Dakshina Odishara kathita Odia bhasha. By Dr. Satya Prakash Das.
  • Paschima Odishara kathita odia bhasha. By Shri Gopabandhu Ratha.

Both make wonderful reading.

 

January 15th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | Comments Off on Odia literary writing should use more local “kathita” words to enrich Odia

Odisha agrees to 40 more acres for the Jharsuguda airport; this airport is very important for the developement of that part of Odisha; the progress is too slow

Following is an excerpt from a report in Pioneer.

Though the AAI had asked the State Government to make available a total of 815 acres of land for the airport project, the latter had requested the AAI to scale down the land requirement since maximum 734 acres are available in the area.

Now, the State Government has assured the AAI to provide additional land of around 40 acres for upgradation of the airstrip. Patnaik said the 40 acres of land would help construct a 6,000-feet-long runway. The district Collector has been told to identify suitable land and clear the encroachment, if any, before handing over the land to the AAI.

Although the above is a good step, considering the important of this airport towards well-rounded development of Odisha the government is too slow. It needs to move faster.

 

January 8th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 11 Comments »

T. N. Ninan: “… non-agricultural incomes are typically five times agricultural incomes. The way to even out the imbalance is to get people off the land, and into non-agricultural occupations.”

Following are excerpts from T. N. Ninan’s Business Standard lecture reported here.

… productivity growth in Indian agriculture had been poor, so rural incomes were not growing fast enough. In its effort to deal with this, the government was pumping subsidies and income transfers into the countrywide, to put money in people’s pockets — which the recipients were spending. Since this expenditure was not matched by productivity growth, it was causing inflation. …

If you look for the root cause of the power sector’s problems (high losses, disincentive for investors), it boils down to the virtually free electricity provided to farmers. That can’t be corrected because farmers don’t earn enough to be able to pay a higher electricity tariff. And there is a limit beyond which it becomes impossible for other users to cross-subsidise power to farmers; high electricity tariffs are already a burden for exporters who compete against rivals in countries that enjoy lower power tariffs. So you can’t fix the power sector’s problems without fixing agriculture. …

The bald truth is that half of India’s workforce toils in the fields to generate one-sixth of GDP. Since the other half produces the remaining five-sixths, non-agricultural incomes are typically five times agricultural incomes. The way to even out the imbalance is to get people off the land, and into non-agricultural occupations. But urbanisation and the growth of non-agricultural employment have been slow in India, an important reason being the stifling of industries that can provide entry-level, low-value work. China showed the way by promoting Township and Village Enterprises (TVEs), and encouraging through them the manufacture and export of simple products like toys and shoes. Rajiv Gandhi, on his path-breaking visit to China in 1988, visited one such TVE outside Shanghai which was making and exporting tricycles of a basic kind. India missed the bus that China caught, but it can still catch some others — like travel and tourism. …

December 18th, 2011 | Chitta Baral | Comments Off on T. N. Ninan: “… non-agricultural incomes are typically five times agricultural incomes. The way to even out the imbalance is to get people off the land, and into non-agricultural occupations.”

Odisha’s bicycle scheme for girls and the upcoming bicycle factory near Khurda

December 14th, 2011 | Chitta Baral | 1 Comment »

Increase in plan allocation over the years from 2007-08 to 2011-12: Odisha second after Haryana

The following is obtained from the planning commission’s web page on approved plan outlays.

In terms of total plan allocation Odisha’ position has inched from being the 17th state to being the 14th state. In the process it has overtaken Delhi, Punjab and Kerala.

In terms of per capita plan allocation (using the 2001 population numbers) Odisha has inched from 28th to 23rd. But in the process it has overtaken UP, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and MP. It was ahead of Bihar and West Bengal and continues to be ahead of them.

Odisha has a good chance of overtaking Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan in the next 1-2 years. Note that based on the 2011 census it is already closer to them.

December 6th, 2011 | Chitta Baral | Comments Off on Increase in plan allocation over the years from 2007-08 to 2011-12: Odisha second after Haryana

Bhubaneswar sends much more direct tax than much more populous cities such as Jaipur, Patna, Nagpur, Lucknow and Kanpur and has had the highest growth in direct taxes from 2010 to 2011

(Thanks to Devasis Sarangi for the pointer to this in facebook.)

Following is from a report in Business Standard.

Number one in growth over last year’s net direct tax collection during April 1-December 1 is Bhubaneswar, with a 52.6 per cent increase at Rs 4,187 crore (Rs 2,744 crore in last year’s corresponding period). Of the collection this year, Rs 2,959 crore has come from corporate tax and Rs 1,226 crore from personal income tax.

A senior department official said the better growth in direct tax realisation in smaller regions clearly indicated an increase in business activities in these. And, that this had come despite overall sluggish performance.

I am tempted to draw more conclusions but am not sure of jurisdictions of each of the locations in the left. For example, for the number corresponding to Bhubaneswar, is the data just about collection from Bhubaneswar city (as defined by what?) or about the collection from Bhubaneswar tax circle (what are the areas it covers?). Although not knowing this makes it difficult to draw more conclusions, one thing is for sure; Bhubaneswar tops in the growth of direct tax collections.

December 6th, 2011 | Chitta Baral | 1 Comment »

Odisha’s growth will be steady; albeit slower than what some desire

In the recently held by-elections in Umerkote in Nabarangpur district the BJD candidate won handily. The winning candidate from BJD had 54,713 votes while the candidate from BJP had 33,652 votes and from Congress had 32,877 votes.

In the 2009 elections the numbers were: BJD candidate – 44326, BJP candidate – 30,155, Congress candidate – 25,512.

Although this is just a single point data, but based on such data, my informal survey of people, my observations, and some other reasons I give below I predict the following:

  • BJD will win the next assembly and parliament elections handily in Odisha and it may even have more parliament seats than it got in 2009.

I now give some reasons for my prediction.

  • In the 2009 election BJD jettisoned BJP at the last moment; so it was not as prepared in some of the constituencies which had BJP representatives.
  • For the same reason, during the 2009 elections, in many people’s mind BJD and BJP were aligned together, while Congress was the opposition. So with the vote split between BJD and BJP, Congress was able to sneak through in some places.  Good examples of this situation are the Balasore and Sundergarh parliamentary constituents. In both places the BJP had strong candidates (in Kharabela Swain and Jual Oram, respectively) and thus the anti-Congress votes got split resulting in Congress wins in both places. The situation will be different in the next election. In the next election the anti-government votes will get split between Congress and BJP and both will do worse than they did in the 2009 elections.

Now let me list some of the attributes of the BJD party and its government and some points regarding the situation in Odisha.

  • BJD’s supremo is a gentleman and closely guards his party members at all levels to follow some basic principles. There are aberrations, but he sorts them out expeditiously. Following is what I mean.
    • The state ministers have very little authority or power. That way they don’t have much of an opportunity to engage in corruption; they can not do any corruption on behalf of the MLAs; the MLAs themselves or party workers at lower level  can not indulge in any big corruption. So in general, there is no (or very little) visible corruption among BJD MLAs and ministers, especially towards personal gain. (Note: All parties in India get their party funds from various sources. There is some corruption involved in that.)
    • The state functions via the bureaucrats and the important departments are headed by bureaucrats that have more or less spotless reputations. So the corruption by higher bureaucracy is not there.
    • With a long running government BJD has a lot of party workers, but they are not like cadres of other parties. They are restrained from indulging in violence or similar activities that would antagonize the people. The BJD party and the Odisha government’s way of dealing with Kalinganagar and POSCO situation and its comparison with Singur is illuminating. In both Kalinganagar and POSCO, although the opposition parties have indulged in unlawful and sometimes violent methods, the BJD party has not countered with its cadres. The government has followed the strategy of wearing people out with time and leaving matters to law and order authorities but with strict instructions to be soft. Thus, even though some newspapers published by opposition parties have used the term "BJD goondas", the public does not have such a view of BJD having a goonda cadre.
  • BJD has given SOPs to the poor people (2 Kg rice), have indulged in populist people pleasing policies (bicycle for girls), and has sincerely helped people during calamities. So its popularity among common people is growing.
  • In essence, the government and the BJD party is not heavy handed and not arrogant and is perceived as people friendly. Ofcourse pockets of people are unhappy in places (e.g. Dhinikia) where promotion of industry clashes with people wanting to be left alone or people agitated by others; but by the government and its party not being heavy handed, arrogant or violent, such unhappyness is localized and as in Kalinganagar, it decreases with time. 
  • The *local* media–especially the top news papers–in Odisha keep a sharp eye on the government. They scrutinize every action and inaction of the government and are mostly critical of the government. They rarely praise any government initiatives. If one is not careful, one solely reading the local media may start having a distorted image of Odisha. But, although, I often feel bad by the negative portrayal of  many things in the local media I realize that in the big picture view, this is good for Odisha. It keeps the government on its toes, keeps it in check, and prevents it from being arrogant. Once one takes the perspective that the job of the opposition and the local medial is to "oppose", "criticize" and "scrutinize" every government actions, and they are able to do that well and freely, then it is easier to get a better picture. Reading some comparative articles in the national media, such as this, also helps.

So how does BJD winning another term after this term reflect on Odisha’s future.

  • It means that the current policies will continue and some of the big projects will happen. In particular, POSCO will go the Kalinagnagar way with the resistance slowly decreasing and development creeping in. Already a good chunk of the land has been acquired and basic efforts for construction (such as access roads) have started. The opposition can stop some of the land being acquired but they can not lawfully stop construction to happen in land that has already been acquired. They are trying, but I don’t see such unlawful efforts being sustainable. Similarly, if the Supreme Court gives ok to the Vedanta University land acquisition so far, then that will happen too. For both these big projects one can look back at Kalinganagar and Dhamara as models. In both Kalinagnagar and Dhamara, it took much longer than originally projected, but they happened. My prediction is same with respect to POSCO and Vedanta University.
  • Although by various measures (of investment) Odisha is among the leading states in the country there is the perception that things move very slow here. The perception is true, but perhaps moving slow is necessary. Running roughshod over the people backfires in many ways. Again, Singur, West Bengal is a good example of that. Also, Chandrababu Naidu’s fast moving steps did not help him win the next election. So Odisha will move forward in a slow and steady manner slowly modifying some of the people’s anti-industry attitude and taking them along.

The above are broad stroke observations. There would be exceptions at individual levels. Similarly, the predictions are based on assuming that no abnormal events happen; the future is unpredictable and small events can change everything.

Now what can Odisha and BJD do better.

  • Rope in good technocrats and have more people with decision making authority: I think BJD and Odisha would do better if BJD ropes in some good technocrats who have spotless reputations. There is so much one CM and a few trusted officers can do. The party needs to find a few more people within its ranks and increase its ranks with people it can trust (to be effective and not corrupt) and have more people with real decision making  authority.
  • Find ways to listen to local and regional voices: Currently, most in BJD are winning elections because of the party supremo’s image. Plus the tight control from above results in that they do not have much of a voice in government decisions. As a result they are not able to forcefully state regional aspirations and demands. This results in regional aspirations and demands being sidelined. For example, in this site we have highlighted many demands of Rourkela people. Because the local representatives (MLAs and one of them happen to be a minister) do not have much of a voice, for little things (like a new train) they have to hit the streets. This is not healthy and could ultimately result in BJD’s downfall and/or more vocal demands to split the state. If the MLAs and ministers can not be fully trusted and the trusted officers rule the roost in the government, may be a few more senior officers (besides the RDCs) can be each entrusted with a cluster of districts to look after. In particular, their job would be to bring to the higher level of the government demands and aspirations of people of those districts.
December 4th, 2011 | Chitta Baral | 9 Comments »

Odisha to have a national investment and manufacturing zone (NIMZ)

The NIMZs are part of a new national manufacturing policy. The following excerpt from a report in WSJ explains the goal of this policy.

India’s federal cabinet Tuesday approved a national manufacturing policy, the first of its kind in the country, to increase manufacturing’s share of national output as it aims to create millions of jobs and add capacity to sustain brisk economic growth through the next decade.

The policy targets raising the share of manufacturing to 25% of gross domestic product by 2022 from the current 16% — a level that has remained stagnant since 1980.

The new policy proposes developing National Investment and Manufacturing Zones, or mega-industrial parks, that will reduce the compliance burden on industry, the government said in a statement.

Following is information on the establishment of such an NIMZ in Odisha.

 

November 26th, 2011 | Chitta Baral | Comments Off on Odisha to have a national investment and manufacturing zone (NIMZ)

List of museums in and around Bhubaneswar

Following is a list of museums and ASI ticketed monuments in and around Bhubaneswar:

  1. Odisha State Museum, Bhubaneswar. (branch museums at: Puri, Dhenkanal, Salipur, Khiching, Baripada, Balasore, Nuapara, Bhawanipatna, Balangir, Jeypore, Baragarh and Koraput)
  2. Museum of Tribal Arts and Artifacts, Bhubaneswar.
  3. Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH), Bhubaneswar.
  4. Regional Science Center, Bhubaneswar
  5. Handloom and Handicrafts museum, Bhubaneswar (being set up)
  6. ASI Museum in Konark.
  7. ASI Museum in Ratnagiri.
  8. ASI Museum in Lalitgiri (being constructed)
  9. ASI Ticketed Monuments (Konark, Udaygiri and Khandagiri caves, Rajarani temple, Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri)
  10. Srikhetra Culture Museum, Puri (being constructed)
  11. Dhenkanal Science Center. (Kapilas Science Park.)

Following is a list of live museums in and around Bhubaneswar:

  1. Nandan Kanan, Barang
  2. State Botanical Garden, Barang
  3. Regional Plant Resource Center (Ekamra Kanan), Bhubaneswar (with a cactus garden, arboretum, orchidarium, bamboosetum, wild fruit garden and palmetum)
  4. Medicinal plant garden, Patrapada, Bhubaneswar
  5. Jayadev Vatika, Kenduvila (30 kms from Bhubaneswar)
  6. Jayadev batika at Khandagiri.
  7. Ekamra Vana (Medicinal plant garden), around Bindu sagar lake, Bhubaenswar
  8. Various parks in Bhubaneswar.
  9. Aquarium at Nandan Kanan.
  10. Aquarium at CIFA, Bhubaneswar
  11. Aquarium, Puri (planned)

Others:

  1. Sudarshan Sand art institute, Puri.
  2. Raghurajpur artisan village.
November 25th, 2011 | Chitta Baral | 1 Comment »

A new gallery on primitive tribal groups (PTGs) to be added to the tribal museum in Bhubaneswar

Following is from a report in Indian Express.

 

The Tribal Museum here is up for a makeover. Located on the premises of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI), the archives displays objects from almost every tribe. The institute is the only government-run tribal museum in the State and  attracts hundreds of visitors from abroad each year. A few years back, it was identified as the best among the 21 tribal museums in India by Unesco.

 Apart from the existing five galleries in the Museum that houses ornaments, paintings, photographs, hunting tools, agriculture implements, musical instruments and Dokra items,  the authorities are setting up another Primitive Tribal Group (PTG) gallery on the institute’s 18 acre campus. Construction of this gallery is underway and after completion, it would adorn artefacts related to 13 PTGs in the State.  Plans have also been drawn up to rope in tribal artisans and use the institute premises as a live museum-cum-platform where tribal artisans would get the chance to display and sell their products. This apart, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has sanctioned ` 40 lakh for beautification of the Museum this year that would entail landscaping, construction of pathways and plantation of trees like Sal, Mohul, Bamboo … "… The land behind the five hutments within the Museum will be used for setting up small forests that are typical to a tribal habitation,” said Museum in-charge Trilochan Sahoo, adding stone statues of tribal deities will also be installed. Besides, touchscreen kiosks will be set up in each of the existing five galleries where short films on tribal livelihood will be screened for interested tourists. The Tribal Museum has around 2,247 tribal artefacts, 34 items of textiles of 10 tribes and 927 ornaments of 25 tribes. The five huts within the premises are of Santal, Juang, Gadaba, Saora and Kondh tribes.

Tribal Dance Festival

The three-day Tribal Dance Festival will  be organised this year by the SC & ST Development Department from December 12. … every day during the festival, five tribal dances will be showcased and this time, tribals from Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh have been invited to perform besides the those from the State.

November 25th, 2011 | Chitta Baral | Comments Off on A new gallery on primitive tribal groups (PTGs) to be added to the tribal museum in Bhubaneswar

Odisha is among the top 4 vegetable producers of India (from a 2005 document)

The following is from Page 3 of the document at http://mofpi.nic.in/images/File/volume2.pdf. Thanks to Devasis Sarangi for the pointer.

November 23rd, 2011 | Chitta Baral | Comments Off on Odisha is among the top 4 vegetable producers of India (from a 2005 document)