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With aluminum majors Nalco, Vedanta and Aditya Birla group having operations in the state, Bhubaneswar can dictate the world aluminum prices, said Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.
"If the aluminium production of Nalco, Vedanta, and Aditya Birla group can be added together, it may impact the world aluminum market. Bhubaneswar can dictate what will be world aluminium prices", said Pradhan at the Business Standard Odisha Round Table, 2018 here.
Besides, he envisioned that Odisha has the capability to influence the world power and steel economy as well.
Stressing that Odisha will be the gateway of India to Southeast Asia, he said that the state is bound to be number one state in the country due to its intellectual manpower, forestry, natural and human resources.
Odisha is a land of immense possibilities and in the world of 7 billion population, the state can be the epicentre of 700 million people residing in the south and Southeast Asia and northeast states of India, he added.
Pradhan refuted allegations of neglect by the Central government towards Odisha as raised by the ruling party BJD in the state.
"Odisha might have been neglected under earlier regimes at the Centre, but the guiding principle of the Narendra Modi government is Sabka Saath Sabka Vikash", he said.
Taking a dig at the Odisha government's claim of Centre's neglect, Pradhan said, the central government has allocated Rs 51 billion in last railway budget, which is highest ever allocation to the state compared to some Rs 7 odd billion budgetary allocations to the state made in 2013-14.
He pointed out that Modi government has successfully added new National Highway projects of more than 4,800 kms in Odisha.
Listing out other initiatives of the Centre to benefit the state, he said, there is a proposal to set up the second international airport in Odisha. The state will also be a major beneficiary under the 14th finance commission and GST (goods and services tax) as a consuming state.
Commenting on skill development initiatives, he agreed there was a need to create a new model for education and skilling. "Our education system is creating a certificate mechanism.
It is not facilitating employability. We need to focus on how we can create a world-class skill ecosystem."
Pradhan rued that India's skill-manpower ratio is only seven per cent and the situation in the country is more or underemployment.
"Out of 1300 million population, 500 million make up the workforce. The primary challenge is to upgrade them so that they can go for a dignified lifestyle, a dignified payroll. We expect the workforce count to go up to 600 million", he said.