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Published on: Dec. 13, 2021, 11:05 p.m.
Rajasthan: expanding horizons
  • Richly endowed with natural beauty and dotted with historical monuments, Rajasthan is a prime tourist destination

By Sajal Bose. Deputy Editor, Business India

Despite the industrial slowdown post the Covid pandemic, Rajasthan Government presents an admirable report card which is drawing the attention of investors.

The state of Rajasthan is blessed with abundant resources in terms of minerals, land, energy and skilled manpower which are backed by several geographical advantages, superior industrial infrastructure and effective governance; this makes it an ideal destination for investors from diverse business segments. 

Industrial development and inflow of Investment have gained momentum in Rajasthan. Apart from industry friendly policies, the state’s prime focus is to create a world class industrial infrastructure. The State Government has been rapidly transforming the industrial scenario of Rajasthan with pro-business policy interventions to attract fresh investment. 

Rajasthan has performed very well in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ reforms recommended by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), an exercise aimed at improving the investment eco-system of the States. It ranked 8th in the country in 2019 in this vital area and is making conscious efforts to improve its performance further.

Rajasthan has introduced a ‘One Stop Shop’ to provide various approvals and clearances under one roof. “It has been a major step in the direction of simplification and facilitation wherein 14 departments have been brought under one roof and clear timelines have been laid down for various approvals and clearances required by new and existing industries,” says Shakuntla Rawat, Industry and Commerce Minister of the state. The State has also been ranked first in Export Preparedness Index (EPI) among the land locked states.

In a major move to facilitate aspiring MSME entrepreneurs, Rajasthan became the first state to exempt clearances and approvals, required under State Laws, for establishment of new MSMEs in the State for an initial period of three years. “This provision is the first of its kind in the history of any state of India” says a senior Secretary with the Government. “Earlier, delay in government approvals had led to many entrepreneurs shelving their projects. Under our new Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise (Facilitation of Establishment and Operation) Act, 2019 (Acts), one can start his business/unit immediately after registering on our portal Raj Udyog Mitra and acquiring the Acknowledgement Certificate.

There will be no inspection of his premises under any State Law for a period three years, after which one has a window of another 6 months to get clearances. He adds: “More than 4,000 plots in the Industrial Areas have been sold in the last two years. This has been a record achievement for the State.” 

Industry agrees that the State Government is delivering on its promises. “Government of Rajasthan has taken all necessary steps to create a conducive business environment coupled with supportive infrastructure and progressive industrial policies,” says H M Bangur, Managing Director, Shree Cement Limited, one of the largest cement players in the country. The company began its journey from Rajasthan. Its plant at Ras, District Pali is the largest single location plant in the Northern India. 

Endorsing his views, Ashok Kajaria, Chairman FICCI, Rajasthan State Council and also the chairman of Kajaria Ceramics – the largest manufacturer of tiles in the country says: “Under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthan is taking progressive steps towards the creation of an enabling ecosystem for driving investments and growth. We at FICCI work closely with the state government on policy and procedural issues and act as a catalyst in facilitating the economic development of the state.” He is also the chairman, Kajaria Ceramics Limited – the country’s largest manufacturer of ceramic/vitrified tiles. The company’s largest plant in India is situated at Gailpur, Rajasthan.

An enabling policy environment is the key towards attracting investors for any state. The Rajasthan Industrial Development Policy 2019 and RIPS (Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme) 2019 have given a major fillip to the incoming investments while sector specific policies have also been brought in for individual sectors which are of importance to the State. Rajasthan Agro-Processing, Agri-Business & Agri-Export Promotion Policy 2019, Rajasthan Solar Energy Policy 2019, Rajasthan Wind & Hybrid Energy Policy 2019 and Rajasthan Tourism Policy 2020 have been introduced to create a conducive business environment for companies to invest and thrive in the state. Some more policies, for other relevant sectors, are intended to be launched shortly. 

Rajasthan, with its vast tracts of barren land, is now leading the green energy revolution in India. Solar generation potential of the State has been assessed at 142 GW. The State Government plans to systematically harness this potential and has set for itself an ambitious target of 30 GW capacity by 2024-25, which will transform the energy-scape of the state and the country.

Delhi based Jakson Group was amongst the first few solar companies, who had invested in a solar power plant at Rajasthan in 2013. “This is one of the most investor friendly states that translates its promises into action by engaging with and holding the investors. The business environment in Rajasthan is the best in the northern region,” says Sameer Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director of Jakson Group.

Strategic Location & Connectivity

Land of the Rajas, Rajasthan is the largest state of India with an area of 3.43 lakh square km covering 10.4 per cent of the total landmass of the country. “The state has locational advantage, it shares borders with Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, allowing industries based in Rajasthan to have direct access to these large markets,” explains a senior bureaucrat in the Government. The State enjoys easy access to 40 per cent of Markets of India.

The Golden Quadrilateral and East West Corridor passes through Rajasthan. Nearly 39 per cent of the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), connecting Delhi to Mumbai passes through the State. 58 per cent of the area of the State falls under the influence area of DMIC. The State also has the second largest rail network in the country and the third largest network of national highways. International airport at Jaipur has direct connectivity to major Indian and overseas cities. The other six airports are at Jodhpur, Ajmer, Udaipur, Kota, Jaisalmer and Bikaner.

One multimodal logistic park is operational at Khatuwas in Alwar while 4 more are coming up at Kisangarh (Ajmer), Kota, Jaipur and Pali. The requirement of a port has been effectively covered by the development of nine Inland Container Depots (ICDs) at strategic places in the State as well as an Air Cargo Complex. 

Rajasthan is largely a traditional society. Nearly 75 per cent of the State’s population still lives in rural areas. The challenge for the Government is to bring them to the mainstream through industrialisation. With this purpose in mind, the government is doing its best to create a cohesive business ecosystem to accelerate the establishment of business enterprises and generate large scale employment which is the key to socio-economic development.

Rajasthan is the native place of one of the most enterprising community of India, the Marwari Business Community though a large number of hugely successful and famous Marwari Business Houses are now based out of the State. Therefore, Rajasthan Foundation has been set up by the Government of Rajasthan which works towards strengthening the bonds between Non-Resident Rajasthan Community and the state of their origin. It provides the platform through which eminent Pravasi Rajasthanis participate in the socio-economic development of the state. 

Petroleum & Mineral Wealth

The State has been firmly placed on the Petroleum Map of India with the commencement of work on the first oil refinery at Pachpadra in Barmer district which has been undertaken as a joint venture between Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and the Government of Rajasthan (74:26). The project involves setting up of a Greenfield 9 MMTPA refinery-cum-petro chemical complex at Pachpadra with an investment of over Rs43,000 crore. It is expected to be completed by 2022. 

A range of petrochemical products including Polypropylene, LLDPE, HDPE, Butadiene, Benzene and Toluene will be available for setting up the downstream industry. 

RIICO plans to develop a Petroleum, Chemical & Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) in the vicinity of the upcoming Refinery cum Petrochemical Complex. Two industrial areas – at Borawas-Kalawa (17 km from the Refinery) and at Ramnagar (Thob) (35 km from the Refinery) have already been developed by RIICO. Huge land parcels have been identified in Barmer and Jodhpur which are being made ready for allotment to the potential investors.

The Bureau of Investment Promotion (BIP) is the principal agency of the State Government for investment promotion, entrusted with facilitating new investments and handholding the existing and potential investors in the successful implementation and smooth operation of their projects. 

Rajasthan State Industrial Development & Investment Corporation Limited (RIICO) has pioneered industrialisation in the State of Rajasthan by setting up industrial areas. RIICO also acts as a financial institution by providing loans to large, medium and small-scale projects. Even during the pandemic, the agency has successfully attracted several investors for setting up their projects in Rajasthan. 

Energy surplus State

The State has achieved self-reliance in production of power and is an Energy Surplus state. Furthermore, growing concerns of global warming and climate change require emphasis on clean and green energy. Therefore, the State agencies and other stakeholders have increased their focus on renewable energy. India has set a target to have 460 GW of renewable energy in the country by 2030. Rajasthan, being an active player in the sector, will likely contribute significantly towards achieving this target. 

Rajasthan meets over one-third of its energy requirements through renewable energy. With about 325 clear sunny days per year and the highest solar radiation, of 5.72 kwh/sqm a day, in the country, the State offers great potential for development of solar energy and its ancillary industries. Currently, the State has the largest solar power generation installed capacity of over 8,000 MW in the country and is the fourth largest in total renewable energy capacity after Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat. Besides solar, the state produces 4,326 MW of wind power and 120 MW power from biomass at present.

The State DISCOMs purchase solar energy as per the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) as determined by RERC. Rajasthan Solar Energy Policy – 2019 allows Solar Power Projects to sell power to parties other than DISCOMs of Rajasthan and use it for captive consumption, within and outside the State, after fulfilment of the prescribed terms and conditions.

The State takes immense pride in its Solar Park situated at Bhadla in Jodhpur district which is reportedly one of the world’s largest solar parks. The park is spread across 14,000+ acres of land and comprises of 100 million solar panels with a capacity to produce 2,245 MW of solar power. It commenced operations in 2013 in a phased manner and was finally commissioned in 2020.

The Rajasthan Solar Power Park Company Limited, Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan and Adani Renewable Energy Park Ltd. were instrumental in developing this gigantic park in phases. The park is so huge that robots periodically clean all the solar panels. Bhadla has the lowest tariff of Rs2.44/kWh in the country.

The other solar parks are Fatehgarh Solar Park (1,500 MW) which is being developed by Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan Limited; Phalodi-Pokaran Solar Park (750 MW) by Essel Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan Limited and Nokh Solar Park (925 MW) developed by Rajasthan Solar Park Development Company Limited. All these are under approval by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, GoI.

The State Government has a vision to transform Rajasthan into the Renewable Energy Hub of India. The renewable energy sector has, therefore, been included in the ‘Thrust Sectors’ in Rajasthan’s Industrial Policy. The State has also implemented a new Solar Energy Policy and a new Wind & Hybrid Energy Policy to facilitate investments in the sector. The Government initiatives have been able to attract new investments of more than Rs1.2 lakh crore in the sector from players such as Greenko, Renew Power, JSW Energy, Torrent Power, Adani etc.

Several benefits are being offered by the State to companies investing in PCPIR. Total investment opportunities arising from PCPIR are expected to be Rs15,000 crore by 2030 and these are expected to yield 1.5 lakh jobs. 

The refinery and its downstream projects will have excellent connectivity and locational advantage. It falls in the region of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC). It also enjoys access to the major ports of Kandla, Mundra and JNPT and is easily accessible to other industrial areas. 

As far as Mineral Wealth is concerned, Rajasthan is the second largest Mineral Producing State of the country in terms of value. Producing 81 major and minor minerals, the State offers rich opportunities in mining, extraction and value addition. The State is the sole producer of Zinc and Lead in India; the largest producer of Limestone, Rock Phosphate, Selenite, Gypsum, Silver, Copper Ore, Potash, Sandstone and Marble. It is a major producer of several other minerals such as feldspar calcite, fireclay, ochre and steatite. The State is also a leading producer of Granite & Kota Stone of various shades. Makrana region is a world-famous centre for mining of marble.

The State is the largest onshore producer of Crude Oil (Approx. 8,000 TMT) and second largest producer of Natural Gas (Approx. 1,500 MMSCM), after Assam, in India. Besides mining and mineral extraction, opportunities exist in manufacturing of Ceramic Tiles, Sanitary-ware & Insulators, Porcelain and Bone China Tableware, Refractories, Glass, Bio-ceramics, Industrial ceramics, etc. The State has an exclusive Ceramic & Glass Industrial hub spread over 750 acres at Neemrana. 

The State has massive reserves of limestone for cement production. There are more than 25 cement manufacturing facilities in Rajasthan. It is the largest cement producing state in India having a total capacity of more than 82 million tonnes per annum which generates steady revenues for the State and employment for its people. The cement manufacturers cater to the entire North Indian market including NCR.

Textile hub

Rajasthan has a deep-rooted tradition in textiles. Bhilwara is known as the Textile City (it has been active in this sector since 1930s) and now this region has emerged as a Textile Hub in Rajasthan. It has integrated textile-manufacturing facilities consisting of spinning, weaving, dyeing and processing units. The majority of these units are engaged in the process of manufacturing synthetic blended yarn. A large labour force of over 70,000 people is engaged in manufacturing of textiles in the State.

Today this region produces over 200 million mts. of fabric every year that adds value to the State’s industrial growth. However, merely 15 per cent of the production is with organised players. Jaipur, Pali and Balotra are other developed textile and apparel hubs. Textile and Readymade Garment exports from the State in FY20 amounted to more than Rs8,200 crore.

Kolkata based BSL takes pride in sharing the fact that the company was the pioneer in manufacturing of poly-viscos suiting in Bhilwara in 1971. Its Managing Director, Nivedan Churiwal proclaims: “The State has always provided a healthy atmosphere for the growth of business, whether it is Government’s policy for investment or labour laws. The State will continue to remain one of the preferred destinations for the industry.” RIICO’s Textile and Apparel Parks at Ajmer, Kishangarh, Pali and Jaipur offer excellent infrastructure. A mega-integrated park is also proposed at Kakani in Jodhpur.

Robust industrial infrastructure

Being the largest state of India, Rajasthan offers land in plenty and at competitive prices. “To further build on unique resources, infrastructure and the market access advantages of Rajasthan, we are relentlessly working on making the investor experience seamless” says Industry Minister Smt. Rawat. 

RIICO has 360+ well-developed Industrial Areas with robust infrastructure and facilities for units to be set up in the State. Sector-specific Parks for synergies within the sector are also available like Electronic Manufacturing Cluster, Medical Devices Park, FinTech Park, Apparel Park, Auto Zone, Ceramic & Glass Zone, Electric Vehicle Zone etc.

Besides this, there are IT Parks at Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota and Udaipur, Agro Food Parks at Kota, Jodhpur, Sriganganagar and Alwar, Gems and Jewellery Zone at Jaipur, Cable Zone and Garment Zone at Bhiwadi. The State has India’s first country-specific Zone i.e. the Japanese Zone at Neemrana where 45+ units are currently in production. Another Japanese Zone has been developed at Ghiloth. “Our new industrial areas are planned in sync with environmental and ecological stipulations. Each of them has all basic infrastructure like power, water and roads,” informs a RIICO official. 

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced a FinTech Park at Jaipur, the state capital. The proposed project is expected to roll out in FY22 and its development would cost around R100 crore. The state is likely pull in investment to the tune of Rs3,000 crore through this project.

Abundant human resources

Rajasthan has the advantages of qualified manpower as it is home to premier educational institutions like IIT Jodhpur, IIM Udaipur, BITS-Pilani, MNIT, Jaipur, LNMIT, Jaipur, NLU, NIFT, IICD, FDDI, NIPER etc. 116 Engineering Colleges, 1,600+ ITIs, 226 Polytechnics and 2 Skill Universities further augment its Educational Infrastructure. Kota is a hub for coaching institution in the country. A third of Chartered and Cost Accountants in the country are from Rajasthan.

“The State Government’s commitment to human resource development is commendable and it has successfully involved the private sector in this. We are happy to be contributing in this sphere through our presence in the state,” states steel tycoon L N Mittal. Chairman and CEO, ArcelorMittal. He is also the Chairman of Governing Council of LNMIIT, Jaipur. 

Health initiatives

In the field of health, the Chiranjeevi Swasthya Bima Yojana of the state is the most extensive healthcare insurance policy. While most state and central government schemes cover only those below the poverty line and financially backward strata of the population, the Chiranjeevi Scheme is open to all citizens of the State. It is free for BPL and other financially weaker sections and highly subsidized for others. An insurance cover of upto Rs5 lakh can be availed for the entire family without any rider of pre-existing conditions. 

Rajasthan has been moving ahead as per the CM’s vision of ‘Nirogi Rajasthan’ envisaging the overall wellness of all citizens. Gehlot, during his previous tenure, had introduced free medicine and free diagnosis schemes. The State Government’s effort towards strengthening the health infrastructure came to the rescue during the Covid Pandemic.

During the first wave, the mass spread of infection was first registered in Bhilwara city. The State Government’s effective management and control won worldwide appreciation as the ‘Bhilwara Model’. The State is planning to set up 16 new medical colleges in the next four years with an investment of Rs5,000 crore.

During the second wave, the State adopted the strategy of door-to-door survey and the health department carried out preventive treatment exercises. This helped suspected cases in receiving timely treatment while in isolation in their homes and reduced the patients’ load at hospitals in the State.

As oxygen demand was exceeding the availability, Rajasthan government acquired more than 40,000 oxygen concentrators units and hundreds of oxygen production plants were installed at hospitals. The Government came up with incentives for the establishment of oxygen plants by enterprises and hospitals through the oxygen package which assisted in the establishment of over 80 such plants in the private sector. 

Now due to relentless efforts on the part of the Government, 84 per cent of the population has received the first dose of vaccination while 54 per cent has received both the doses.

Although water is an issue of concern in Rajasthan, the state has a long tradition of water conservation; the same reflects in effective water management strategies of the State Government. The State Government is continuously working towards improving the infrastructure and quality of the water supply.

During second wave of Covid pandemic, the states of Rajasthan and Punjab accomplished civil work of restoring nearly 70 kilometres of feeder canals of Indira Gandhi Canal Project in a record 60-day period. “It was a race against time as the repairs required closure of the canals, while 1.75 crore people, numerous cattle and thousands of hectares of farms in Rajasthan depended on the canals for water,” informs a senior government official. The Rajasthan government has also been able to achieve a historic agreement with Punjab to get more water from the IGNP project.

 Tourist paradise

“Padharo Mahrey Des” or welcome to our land is the age-old adage of the State. It cordially invites a guest to one’s home. Often a visit to this land offers a first-hand experience of the opulence and grandeur of the State’s royal past. Richly endowed with natural beauty and dotted with historical monuments, majestic palaces, forts, temples, lakes, deserts and wild life sanctuaries which form the fabric of its vibrant art and culture and its fabled handicrafts, the State is a prime tourist destination. Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Mt. Abu, Kota, Alwar, Bharatpur, Ajmer, Jaisalmer and all other destinations have their fair share of tourist attractions, whether it is their magnificent architecture and sculpture, scenic beauty, lakes, deserts or wild life. Obviously, Tourism is one of the focus sectors of the State.

Tourism contributed significantly to the state’s revenue before the Covid Pandemic and is the third largest employer after agriculture and textiles. 52 million domestic tourists and 1.60 million foreign tourists visited Rajasthan in 2019. As far as foreign tourist arrivals are concerned the State ranked 6th in the country.

Covid and the subsequent lockdown had adversely impacted the sector. “We had witnessed a steep drop in the number of tourists last year. But things have been rapidly improving this year from July onwards. We sincerely hope that the Covid restrictions are lifted with respect to foreign tourists,” says a senior tourism official. The State has a plethora of choices, both for the luxury as well as the budget traveller, which translates into vast potential for expansion of both the segments. Palace on Wheels, the royal journey through heritage locations, is popular amongst the luxury tourists, especially foreign tourists. The State is also considered a hot destination for luxury destination weddings. 

Looking to the great scope for investment in the hospitality segment, the State Government has announced several relaxations for the affected units. The New Tourism Policy focuses on sustainable development of Tourism in the State.

Invest Rajasthan 2022 

Rajasthan has become India’s emerging investment powerhouse. The State Government has worked hard, with consistency and determination, to tackle all challenges that came its way. Now it is ready to showcase its potential in its mega event ‘Invest Rajasthan’ to be held on 24 & 25 January 2022 at Jaipur. ‘Invest Rajasthan 2022’ is expected to be attended by investors from all over the world.

The Government has already embarked on a series of road shows across the country and overseas in preparation for the forthcoming summit. In its four roadshows so far, it has received project proposals envisaging an investment of more than Rs3.6 lakh crore in the State.

Invest Rajasthan is the State’s active investor outreach program comprising domestic, national and international investor meets, embassy connect programs and virtual seminars. The program aims at soliciting investment proposals, processing them on a mission mode and taking them to fruition.

Invest Rajasthan 2022 Summit being organised in Jaipur has been conceived as a major milestone event in this campaign.

Ashok Gehlot, the Chief Minister’s mantra is: “Invest Rajasthan 2022 is the manifestation of our commitment to building enduring partnerships with private enterprise for the development of the state and prosperity of our people. It is an important milestone towards delivering on the commitments made by us to investors. I invite you to experience and benefit from the bouquet of exciting opportunities Rajasthan has to offer, and to join us in building a promising future for all of us.”

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