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Apex industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has suggested a five-point growth agenda to political parties to be included in their respective election manifestos for the ensuing Karnataka Assembly elections to create a consensus on certain significant economic issues and achieve double-digit growth in the next decade.
Infrastructure development through public private partnership (PPP), cluster-based approach for industrial growth and development, giving a fillip to small and medium food processing units, offering tax rebates and incentives to private sector for investing in power, ensuring the ease of land acquisition for setting up industries, strengthening traditional handloom and textiles industry, setting up export-oriented special economic zones (SEZs) are significant focus areas which can positively transform Karnataka, Assocham said.
This was stated in a paper ‘Suggestions for Election Manifesto of Political Parties in Karnataka’, released by Assocham.
The paper further said that enhancing research and development capabilities in the information technology (IT) sector, providing top-notch healthcare facilities to state’s inhabitants, promoting education through sustained investment in schools, colleges and universities, setting up broadband infrastructure in semi-urban and rural areas, development of infrastructure to promote tourism and other sectors are imperative for the overall growth of Karnataka.
Assocham has earmarked issues of importance for Karnataka under — political issues, infrastructure, agriculture, industry, services, tourism, education, health, telecommunication and special economic zones (SEZs). It has stressed promoting public-private partnership in agriculture, industry and services sectors to create new jobs and promote economic activity in the state.
“Political stability within the state is a pre-requisite for growth and development of Karnataka, more so to lure private investors, besides, there is also the need to form stable and transparent policies, assuring protection to whistleblowers, strengthening the Lokayukta, addressing policing reforms, incentivise industries promoting women employees, special attention to reduce disparity amid society, improving per capita gross state domestic product (GSDP) and floating a land acquisition and rehabilitation policy,” are key political issues highlighted in the Assocham paper.
For the agriculture sector, Assocham has suggested for separate programmes to intensify growth targets linking crop intensity, water harvesting and community farming. Besides, the chamber has also suggested sanctioning agricultural loans to farmers at just 1 per cent per annum through co-operative societies, ensuring loans are used only for agricultural purposes.
A lack of rural infrastructure and basic services like housing, safe drinking water, sanitation, power, rural-urban connectivity are certain issues faced by the state on the infrastructure front, the paper added.
“Undertaking district-wise infrastructure projects, switching over to renewable sources of energy like wind, biomass and solar together with setting up power plants through PPP mode to reduce the impact of power shortage in Karnataka, encouraging private sector to construct new roads and highways to achieve rural-urban connectivity, building more number of airports at reasonable distances of 250 kilometres (kms) for a robust civil aviation sector and transporting perishable goods through air cargos to reduce damage and enhance state revenue,” are certain suggestions given by Assocham to strengthen the state’s infrastructure.
Strengthening the agricultural extension services through participation from farmer co-operatives non-governmental organisations, research firms and private enterprises; promoting use of hybrid seeds for higher productivity; inviting private sector participation to train farmers for using technology to stay updated with weather and other related information, cropping pattern, crop insurance, pricing and marketing; promoting capacity building programmes to recognise women self-help groups enabling them as cultivators; upgrading existing livestock to enhance productivity; bringing small and medium food processing industries in organised sector and providing them with credit at lower rates; promotion of organic farming and providing quality oriented power to farmer community for irrigation purposes at suitable costs are certain suggestions listed in the Assocham paper for improving agriculture sector in the state.