December 1, 2020

Karnataka moots ‘plug-and-play’ factories for industries

BENGALURU: In a bid to reduce time taken for firms to launch manufacturing activity, the industries department is proposing to offer industries a slew of plug-and-play factories — pre-constructed facilities with all necessary infrastructure — across various industrial parks and estates.

These facilities will be offered on lease which will reduce industries’ upfront investment and help them channel more funds into technology and innovation. Industry members TOI spoke with said such facilities, which are common in China, Taiwan and some other countries, would be a great benefit.

Gaurav Gupta, principal secretary, industries department, told TOI: “We are looking at different models and are talking to heads of industry and other stakeholders about this. There is a lot of potential and we will have to see what kind of response we get. We cannot go about building things if there is no response.”

Gupta, while insisting such ready-to-occupy facilities will not be restricted to any one sector, said that the government may begin with various clusters it is planning as part of the flagship ‘Industrial Cluster Development Programme’.

The government intends on developing various clusters under this programme, including ones in the agriculture/food processing sector. “The idea is to help reduce the turnaround time — from the time a project gets approval to start of operations — of industries and also to attract new investments,” Gupta said.

He said the government may build these factories by floating tenders for the project, or get builders to do it. “Each model has various nuances that need to be worked out. We will work out the details once we know what kind of response we’ll get. That process is already on,” Gupta said.

Manu Jain, vice-president, Xiaomi, and managing director, Xiaomi-India said at a press conference that plug-and-play facilities in China are huge.

Devesh Agarwal, president, Bangalore Chamber of Industries and Commerce (BCIC), told TOI: “Our chamber has made two proposals to the government. One is to adopt a cluster approach, which has been taken seriously, and the second is to offer plug-and-play units. Karnataka’s industrial policy has always been very progressive and we are glad that the government is looking into both these suggestions.”

He pointed out that this won’t be the first time Karnataka has offered such facilities to industries. “More than 40 years ago, KSSIDC (Karnataka State Small Industries Development Corporation) had offered similar facilities in Peenya Industrial Estate. It was a massive success, but for reasons we are unaware of, it was never emulated anywhere else in the state,” Agarwal said.

Stating that the industry will welcome the initiative, Agarwal said that the department could even look at a model that allows builders to draw up an agreement with the government and build estates that have such factories.

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