Orissa has abundant natural resources and a large coastline. It contains a fifth of India's coal, a quarter of its iron ore, a third of its bauxite reserves and most of the chromite. Rourkela Steel Plant was the first integrated steel plant in the Public Sector in India. It receives unprecedented investments in steel, aluminium, power, refineries and ports. India's topmost IT consulting firms, including Satyam Computer Services, TCS (Tata Consultancy Services), MindTree Consulting, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Infosys have large branches in Orissa. IBM, Syntel, Cognizant, Bosch and Wipro are setting up development centers in Orissa. So far, two of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Orissa, for example, National Aluminium (2005 gross income Rs.51,162 million) and Tata Sponge Iron (2005 gross income Rs.2,044 million).
Orissa is notable as one of the first Indian states to have tackled its structural problems during the post-1994 Indian economic reforms. Orissa was the first state in India to begin to privatise its electricity transmission and distribution businesses. Over the period between 1994 and 2000 Orissa's former state electricity board (SEB) was restructured to form Gridco. This corporation was then divided into Transco and a collection of distribution companies. Attempts were then made to sell the distribution companies to the private sector. Like many other states, in 1996 Orissa was losing over 50% of the electricity it was delivered. The scale and importance of these reforms is notable and an important milestone in India's dramatic economic development.
Recently the number of companies who have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) to set up steel plants in the state has gone up to 50, including Posco of South Korea which has agreed to construct a mammoth $12 billion steel plant near Paradip port. It would be the largest single investment in India's history. Arcelor-Mittal has also announced plans to invest in another mega steel project amounting to $10 billion. Russian major Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Company (MMK) plans to set up a 10 MT steel plant in Orissa too. The state is attracting an unprecedented amount of investment in aluminum, coal-based power plants, petrochemicals, and information technology as well. In power generation, Reliance Industries (Anil Ambani Group) is putting up the world's largest power plant with an investment of US $13 billion at Hirma in Jharsuguda district. Vedanta Resources’ 1.4 million tonne alumina project in Kalahandi district is the largest investment in aluminium. Vedanta has also announced a $3.2 billion dollar huge private University project on the lines of the Ivy League Universities, which is unprecedented in the history of education in India.
The Central Government has agreed to accord SEZ (Special Economic Zone) status to eight sites in Orissa, among which are Infocity at Bhubaneswar and Paradip. But all these plans are facing massive resistance from the people of the state who mainly depend on agriculture for livelihood. Some vested interests are pushing ahead projects of Mittal, Tata, Vedanta, Birlas causing many human rights violations. Flood and cyclone are the major hurdle in Orissa's development as the important districts are situated nearer to the Bay of Bengal.
Read more about this topic: Economy Of Orissa, Macro-economic Trend
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