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BHUBANESWAR: The Hidden Pearl of the East


Akhilesh K Prasad

The National Housing Bank’s Residex has recently found that the prices of residential property are increasing more in tier-II and tier-III cities in comparison with tier-I cities. The highest increases in prices of residential properties for the quarter ending March 2017, over the previous quarter, was observed in Bhubaneswar (11.7%), and followed by Visakhapatnam (10.9%) and Raipur (10%).

In December-January 2016, the market in Bhubaneswar as elsewhere in India had plummeted owing to demonetization. According to reports, property registrations had dropped sharply from a regular 200 to about 20 per day. However, it has now been observed that price-sensitive buyers are showing more interest in tier-II and tier-II markets as infrastructure development is pushing real-estate growth in smaller cities while tier-I cities are seen to be reaching saturation in construction opportunities and economic growth.

Designed as a residential city with outlying industrial areas, Bhubaneswar has presented itself as a luring market for real-estate investment. It is the capital of Orissa and a hub of administration, information technology, education and tourism.

The city attracts almost 1.5 million tourists per year. It also boasts of at least 7 universities, numerous medical and engineering colleges and some renowned management institutes such as XIMB and KIIT that consolidates its position as an education destination for students from all over India.

After 2005, there has been a surge of investments in Bhubaneswar, mostly in real estate, infrastructure, retail and hospitality. Several shopping malls and organised retails have opened shop in the city. Over the last decade, the government of Odisha has keenly promoted the software industry in the state. They have developed IT parks such as Infocity-1, Infovalley, STPI- Bhubaneswar and JSS STP.

In 2009, Odisha was ranked 9th among Indian states in terms of software export by NASSCOM. In 2011-12, Odisha had a software exports growth rate of 17%. Most of the states IT/ITES companies have been established in Bhubaneswar. In fact, in a 2012 survey, the city was chosen as the best for conducting IT/ITES business among tier-II cities in India. Infosys and Tech Mahindra have been present in Bhubaneswar since 1996. Other multinational software companies include TCS, Wipro, IBM, Ericsson and Reliance Communications. Apart from these, some 300 small and mid-size IT companies and business start ups also have offices in Bhubaneswar.

According to a 2011 survey by Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India, Bhubaneswar had the highest rate of employment growth among 17 tier-II cities in India. On account of demographics, infrastructure, level and scope of economic activities and government support for the same, Cushman and Wakefield have listed Bhubaneswar among the top ten emerging cities in India. In 2012, the city also ranked third among Indian cities in starting and operating a business by the World Bank.

The city was ranked as the best place to do business in India by the World Bank in 2014, and has emerged as arguably the fastest growing trading and commercial hub in eastern India.

FDIAn MBA by qualification, Akhilesh has dabbled into various businesses. He is a keen debater, data miner and analytically inclined. His blogs tend to present a fresh perspective on any given matter.

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