Odisha, the land of plentiful opportunities is one of the most happening states of the country. Spread over 1,55,707 sq km of land, it has a total population of around 400 lakhs spread over 30 districts in the state. Odisha is rich in mineral resources like iron ore, manganese ore, bauxite, coal, chrome ore and its mineral reserves constitute nearly 17% of the total mineral reserves of the country.
Till date agriculture has remained the mainstay of Odisha’s economy with contribution of about 26% to NSDP of the state. The production of food grains has considerably fluctuated over the years due to natural calamities. But the per capita availability of land has gone down from 0.39 hectares in 1950-51 to 0.14 hectares in 2006-07. As agriculture is the mainstay of Odisha’s economy, the state is characterized by a high incidence of poverty. As per the estimates of the Planning Commission, Odisha continues to be the poorest among the major states of India. More than 40% population lives below the poverty line as against the country’s average of 22%. Further the poverty of Odisha is also affected by non-development of industrial and infrastructure sectors in the state. This in turn has resulted in more of educated unemployment, which is a major issue faced by the state.
In spite of Odisha’s richness in mineral resources, a long coastline of 480 km, and abundant water resources, the poor socio-economic status of Odisha portrays a paradoxical picture of poverty amongst plenty.
The key reasons for the state’s poverty are repeated natural calamities, lack of high quality infrastructure (railways, roads, ports) and inadequate utilization of its vast mineral resources.
But the potential to become one of the richest regions of the country and in the world is very high and is an absolute reality in the near future. But all depends on the people here, their attitude, their potential to gainfully utilize the upcoming investment opportunities et al.
Gateway to a New Odisha
With new investments in various sectors like Industry, Infrastructure, Tourism, IT, Education and Services, Odisha is richly endowed and ready for the big leap.
The state is taking some major initiatives to transform itself into an environmentally sustainable and industrialised state. Major investments are happening in the sectors of Steel, Alumina, Ports, Roadways, Water Resources, IT and Tourism.
To cater to such large-scale development, the state is also gearing up to meet its infrastructural requirements with substantial stress upon roadways, railways, waterways and ports. Since waterways are the cheapest form of transportation, Orissa’s rich internal waterways and 480 km long sea coastline is playing a major role in converting the state into a major economic hub in the global front.
The upcoming port at Dhamra in the Bhadrak district of Odisha holds the key to a new gateway to the prosperous state. It is set to be the second deepest draft all weather port in the State after Paradip with capability to handle ships of the largest size as compared to all other ports in the country. In addition to meeting Odisha’s transportation needs, it has the capability to cater to the requirements of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh. Therefore Dhamra port can be termed as the jewel in the crown of a prosperous Odisha and it will provide livelihood and employment opportunities to more than 50,000 families directly and indirectly.