Monday, July 21, 2008

Karnataka ranks fourth in exports, thanks to IT, biotechnology

Karnataka ranks fourth in exports, thanks to IT, biotechnology

Nagesh Prabhu and S. Rajendran

BANGALORE: Karnataka’s exports have touched Rs. 1,33,135 crore with the information technology and biotechnology sectors continuing to take the pride of place on the export front. These two sectors alone account for exports amounting to Rs. 74,833 crore.

Happy with the State’s performance on the export front, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has sought to tone up the State’s industrial policy (2006-2011) to step up exports further. He has directed V. Umesh, Principal Secretary, Department of Industries and Commerce, to incorporate export-oriented features in the modified industrial policy.

“We have to improve on exports in several sectors though IT and BT exports will be our mainstay. We will do all that we can to step up exports in all sectors,” the sources close to the Chief Minister told The Hindu.

The Chief Minister has also directed the Department of Industries and Commerce to promote special economic zones according to the guidelines of the Union Government and “without hurting the interests of farmers”. The State Government is holding consultations with top officials of the Governments of Tamil Nadu, Haryana, New Delhi and Gujarat to bring about changes in the industrial policy.

If Karnataka ranked foremost in IT and BT exports, it ranked fourth in overall export of commodities behind Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The State’s exports, spurred by electronics, computer software and biotechnology, registered a growth of 20 per cent in 2007-08 against exports of Rs. 1,07,375.59 crore in 2006-07.

The service sector continued to drive the economy and it contributed 55 .72 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) compared to 25.16 per cent by secondary sector and 19.13 per cent by the primary sector.

Tier II and cities such as Mysore, Mangalore and Hubli have caught the attention of companies investing in IT. The Government, which has decided to establish IT and BT parks in Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum, Gulbarga, Shimoga, Davangere and Mangalore through joint ventures of private participation, is expected to give further fillip to software exports from the State.

Three major commodities that registered high export growth in 2007-08 are petroleum and petroleum products (Rs. 10,209 crore), iron ore and minerals (Rs. 10,197 crore) and gem and jewellery (Rs. 9749 crore).

The proposed jewellery park near Bengaluru International Airport near Devanahalli would help the State to widen its export basket, an official from the department said.

To attract major industries to rural areas, the budget has proposed to construct airports in Tier II cities.


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