Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

After Italy and Dubai, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is planning to visit Japan in the first week of April to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the State. However, Opposition parties and several experts have put a question mark on Patnaik’s endeavour. As per them, the State government has failed miserably to attract foreign investments.

During his forthcoming Japan visit from April 3-9, Patnaik is scheduled to attend various programmes in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto to attract investments from several foreign investors. Patnaik was considered averse towards foreign trips. But, he has made two foreign trips in the last one year in a desperate bid to attract foreign investment to the State.

Odisha is lagging behind other states in the country in attracting Foreign Direct Investments. As per the information given by the State Industries Minister, Pratap Deb to the Assembly, Odisha has attracted only $ 39.46 million in FDI in 2021 and ranks 19th among other states of the country. During the period, India had attracted FDI up to $ 51,339 million and Odisha’s share in it was only 0.07 per cent. Even Odisha is lagging behind states like Bihar in terms of attracting FDI.

As per industrial associations and experts, Odisha’s image has been severely dented in foreign countries following the withdrawal of POSCO. As per them, Odisha has failed miserably in providing proper infrastructure promptly as per its assurances like other states.

“Once, Odisha had attracted the largest foreign investment in the country. However, the withdrawal of POSCO has seriously dented the State’s image among foreign investors. It’s not at all a good sign. Now Odisha should consistently try to have an image makeover and create a smooth process for foreign investments,” said economist, Rajeev Sahu.

“States like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are giving all kinds of clearances to foreign investors within a span of only one month. Then why they will be attracted towards Odisha?” questioned UCCI Secretary, Ashok Sarda.

Meanwhile, Opposition parties have launched a scathing attack on the State government over its failure in attracting FDI.

As per their allegations, the Odisha government is spending crores of rupees only to organize investors’ meet and conclaves. The Chief Minister and other officials are having several foreign trips. But they have miserably failed to attract foreign investments.

“Only ministers of the State and other government officials are having foreign trips. However, they have failed to attract any FDI till now,” said Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja.

“The Odisha government has set an aim to attract foreign investments worth Rs 10 million through Make in Odisha conclave. But, It’s only a drama and hoax,” said Opposition party Chief Whip, Mohan Majhi.

However, State Industries Minister Pratap Deb refuted the allegations by Opposition parties.

“Odisha is on its way towards rapid industrialization. The State had attracted the first foreign investment from Japan. Currently, a food processing unit is running in Khordha with an investing partner from Japan.  A favourable and encouraging environment is being created in the State to attract more and more FDI. The Opposition parties lack clarity of thought in this regard,” said Deb.