New Delhi: Uttarakhand is expected to create employment opportunities for three lakh of its talented people by absorbing them in food processing, agri biotech and pharma institutes that will attract an estimated Rs50,000 crore investment within the next five to seven years making it as a lead state for investment in the northern part of the country.
In an exhaustive blueprint prepared by Assocham onRs.Uttarakhand: Unbounded Opportunities”, what emerged was that institutes will generate knowledge and technology and prevent mass scale migration to cities beyond its geographical boundaries.
Places like Musoorie, Rishikesh, Chamoli, Rudraprayg, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Almora, Naintal, Pithoragarh and Champawat are a repository of rich variety herbs in which the identified institute can come up.
Over 170 medicinal and aromatic plant species are grown in their foothills. In addition, fruit like apples, oranges, pear, grapes peach, plum apricot, litchi, mangoes and guava are widely grown in the state and therefore have immense potential for development of horticultural crops.
According to the study, emerging areas which offer opportunities for corporate investments include tourism, especially adventure tourism, building up of sports centres like golf courses and creation of IT infrastructure, power etc.
At present, Uttarakhand’s 85% gross cultivated area is used for self-consumption for households except in Haridwar, Udham Singh Nagar and Dehradun districts and thus there is need to enhance agri, biotech, horticulture and floriculture crops productivity and production in it.
Four agri export zones and one biotech park near Pantnagar are already coming up in the State. The presence of suggested institutes will impart professional training to enable its talented pool to gear up for food processing, agri and biotech companies.
The state can acquire Top 10 rank in fruit and vegetable productions by way of using innovative agri biotech varieties of technologies. It had fruit and vegetable production of approx. 1925 and 1000 metric tonnes in 2006.
The paper pointed out that the proposed institutes should be given fiscal incentives such as a 10-year tax holiday exemption, easy availability of loans with moderate interest rates to enable the State to garner free flow of domestic and overseas food processing, agri biotech and investments in pharma firms.
During 2006, Rs5633 crore worth of corporate investment from 31 projects was received by the state, which is ahead of Madhya Pradesh, in which Rs4878 crore poured in 23 projects.