Odisha Economic Review

As per the Odisha Economic Survey estimate for the 2019-20 financial year, the economy of Odisha is expected to grow at 6.16% of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) this year, down from 7.90% the previous year largely because of lower agricultural production due to a series of natural calamities and deceleration in the mining and manufacturing sectors. 

The economy of Odisha is marked with a paradox. While over 60% of the population depends on agriculture for livelihood one way or the other, the share of the agriculture and allied sector in the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) has continued to go down steadily, reaching a measly 19. 90% in 2019-20. The biggest contributor to the economy is the services sector with a 40.51% share in the GSDP with the industries sector at second position with a 39.60% share. Per capita income is expected to reach Rs 1, 01, 587, up from Rs 95, 164 in 2018-19. With the working age (15-59) population estimated to grow to 30.4 million by 2021, providing them employment is going to be a huge challenge in the days ahead. 

Skill & Entrepreneurship Gap

A comprehensive study by internationally known consulting firm Ernst & Young commissioned by the state government paints a grim picture of the skill gap in Odisha. The study puts the total incremental demand-supply gap for skilled jobs at a whopping 4, 014, 585 by 2026 with the largest gaps found in the banking, financial services and insurance (902, 692); tourism, travel, hospitality and trade (656, 108); education & skill development (692, 849), healthcare (651, 037) and IT & ITES services (614, 363). These figures underline the importance of undertaking skill development activities on a massive scale across various sectors – primary, secondary and tertiary – to meet the burgeoning skill gap. The key areas that need to be focused on in the primary sector are food processing, horticulture (especially cashew nuts, mangoes and pineapple), floriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries. In the secondary sector, emphasis has to be laid on automobiles & automobile components and chemicals and pharmaceuticals while the tertiary sector needs to focus on education and skill development, healthcare, IT and ITES services, media, tourism and entertainment.

Opportunities

The bigger the challenge, the larger the opportunities. There is a whole new world waiting to be explored In Odisha, a state rich in natural resources and blessed with nine agro-climatic zones. The biggest opportunities in the years ahead are in the agriculture and allied activities like horticulture, floriculture and fisheries. As of now, the youth have no interest in farming because the earnings are meagre. But crop diversification in the agriculture sector and a greater emphasis on the allied sector can turn things around and make farming attractive for the new generation.