'Look beyond Bengaluru': IIMB and CII unveil Karnataka Vision Document

According to IIMB Director Rishikesha T Krishnan, a lot of excellent things have happened without being planned for, but how much difference would it make if anything was done consciously to build on them is what the text is about.


The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and the Confederation of Indian Industry issued Karnataka @ 100, A Vision Document for 2047 on Monday, claiming that it will serve as a guide for the state to achieve equitable and sustainable growth.

The study stresses Karnataka's plethora of opportunities, as well as the state's geographical imbalance, or how the state is growing "haphazardly." According to the data, Bengaluru Urban District contributes more to the state's GDP than the entire north Karnataka area. Furthermore, the state suffers from significant geographical inequality, with poverty relatively low in the south (just 2% in Bengaluru) and high in the north (as high as 41% in Yadgir), according to the document.

The research also emphasises the need to improve physical and social infrastructure outside of Bengaluru, particularly in north Karnataka. "Infrastructure development in Karnataka's low-income regions is an urgent task in order for them to connect seamlessly with the region's major economic hubs such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune." We also need concerted attempts to build new economic clusters in Karnataka, notably in tier-two cities like Belagavi, Hubli-Dharwad, Mysuru, Kalaburagi, and Mangaluru, which would contribute to larger state-wide prosperity," according to the study.

The study also highlights the paucity of funding in the primary education sector, despite increased investment in the higher education sector. It shows an alarming drop in elementary education funding from 69.76% in 2018-19 to 58.82% in 2020-21. Secondary education spending has been reduced slightly. In comparison, budget allocation for higher education has increased from 9.67% in 2018-19 to 12.33% in 2020-21.

Prof Jitamitra Desai, faculty member (decision sciences), Prof Prateek Raj, faculty member (strategy), Prof Anil B Suraj, faculty member (public policy), and Prof Shanker Subramoney, faculty member (finance & accounting) collaborated on the document. Contributors include Prof Rishikesha T Krishnan, IIM Bangalore director and faculty member (strategy); Prof Arnab Mukherji, faculty member (public policy); Prof Trilochan Sastry, faculty (decision sciences); Prof R Srinivasan, faculty member (strategy); and Dayasindhu N, co-founder and CEO, Itihaasa Research and Digital and an alumnus of the IIM's doctoral programme.

In terms of Bengaluru, the authors highly backed the mayorship model as a means of improving urban governance. "It is critical to empower municipalities and councillors to hold the appropriate stakeholders accountable for urban infrastructure problems." In fact, Bengaluru lacks sufficient benchmarks for measuring what good infrastructure entails. "It is critical to decentralise powers and responsibilities rather than having a minister intervene in urban governance," Subramoney added.

The document also advocates for tourism to be recognised as an "industry," citing its 14 per cent contribution to the gross state domestic product. The plan also asks for district-level tourism divisional offices and the development of important tourism themes such as "agritourism" and "coastal & beach tourism."

"The document specifically does not spell out anything related to the five guarantees," Suraj said of the economic and social consequences of the five Congress' poll guarantees. However, I believe they are stuck in a gender-based perspective and what truly matters to people in terms of energy and other necessities. The promises, on the other hand, are consistent with the state's greater interests."

Prof. RT Krishnan, Director of the IIMB, stated, "Karnataka is a lucky state." Because a lot of positive things have happened in Karnataka without being consciously planned for. That is correct. It is unrelated to any political party or administration. That has been the story for several decades. But how much difference would it make if we did something deliberately to lay the necessary foundation? That is the task, and it is the focus of the vision paper."

"The document emphasises sustainability and innovation as two key pillars for Karnataka's balanced and inclusive growth," he added. It is an invitation to all Karnataka stakeholders, from citizens to policymakers, from academia to the business community, to join hands and work together to develop a green ecosystem in Karnataka that would place our state at the forefront of the global economy."

Finally, the statement urges Karnataka to create a course for economic and green growth through appropriate interventions like as investment, participation, Industry 4.0, innovation, and governance. CII will also send the document to the state government and other stakeholders.