Special Correspondent

Flurry of activity in the State in industry and services sectors

Proximity to New Delhi a factor

Manpower and land available too

JAIPUR: Economic slowdown may be a cause for worry all round right now but Rajasthan is likely to witness a flurry of activity both in industry and services sectors in the coming months with a large number of companies queuing up to start Special Economic Zones (SEZs) there.

Political stability, an industry-friendly atmosphere, availability of skilled manpower, improved infrastructure facilities, access to land and proximity to the national Capital are seemingly the factors driving them in hordes to this desert State. Though Rajasthan may be behind the front-running States such as Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat in terms of the number of SEZs in operation, it is going to catch up with them soon as, apart from the existing three SEZs in the government sector and one mega-SEZ — Mahindra World City — in the joint sector, there are as many as 17 of them in various stages here. In fact, Rajasthan had its SEZ in Sitapura Industrial Area near Jaipur specialising in gem and jewellery even before Parliament had in 2006 passed the SEZ Act, 2005. Interestingly, the new SEZs which are coming up now are a good mixture of IT and traditional sectors with which the State is identified — such as handicrafts, textiles, gems, jewellery, ornaments and building stones.

Encouraging scenario

“Despite the talk of economy slowing down and dwindling exports, the Rajasthan scene on the SEZ front is very encouraging going by the projects on the anvil,” says the General Manager (IT and SEZ) of the Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation (RIICO), A.K. Gupta.

“The atmosphere generally conducive for industries in the State seems to be the reason for the continuing interest. Moreover, Jaipur and Alwar hold a special fascination to investors due to their proximity to Delhi,” he adds.

RIICO is a partner in the multi-product Mahindra World City which is coming up near here in an area of 3,000 acres. Located on National Highway No.8, Mahindra World City, with a total project cost of Rs. 1,500 crore, has IT/ITes, light engineering, handicrafts, apparel, gems and jewellery, logistics and warehousing as focus sectors.