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Chief Ministers seek investment from diaspora
New Delhi, Jan 9 (PTI/IANS):
Published on 9 Jan. 2011 11:41 PM IST
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Eyeing better investment flow from diaspora, State heads on Sunday showcased the competitive business environment and investor-friendly policy initiatives of their governments while identifying education and healthcare as key areas for deeper two-way engagement.
Addressing the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas here, Chief Ministers of various states sought active support of the 25 million diaspora in enhancing infrastructure in their respective States, while highlighting India as a safe destination for investment. Making a fervent appeal for enhanced investment in his state, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said inclusive growth should be the “mantra” of THE development process if India has to emerge in the right earnest.
“This decade of Gujarat has been a decade of phenomenal growth. We have not only registered overall double digit GDP growth but our important sectors also have registered double digit growth,” he said a gathering of around 1,500 NRIs and Persons of Indian Origins (PIOs).
Showcasing the investment potential of his state in diverse sectors, he said the government has been trying to make people the partners in growth not just beneficiaries.
“Our agriculture has grown at 12.8 per cent in the last five years and at 9.6 per cent over last seven years.This is thrice the national average. The industrial sector has also grown at 13 per cent,” Modi said. He said Gujarat contributes to 22 per cent of total exports and 30 per cent of the stock market capitalisation of the country, which reflects the opportunities and dynamism of the State economy.
Speaking on the occasion, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda termed the Indian diaspora as a “formidable global force” who represent a “truly great resource” in the form of intellectual, technical, scientific and entrepreneurial excellence. Seeking investment for his state, Hooda described Haryana as a land of “opportunities and enterprise” and said it had grown at 8 per cent even during the worst period of economic meltdown.
“Haryana has made rapid strides and carved a niche for itself. The state, which was largely an agrarian initially, is now one of the most industrialised states in the country with the manufacturing and services sector contributing about 80 per cent of the gross state domestic product,” he said. Both Hooda and Modi spoke about need for enhancing infrastructure in health and education.
During the last five years, Hooda said the state has attracted investment to the tune of $11 billion (`53,000 crore) from both domestic as well as international investors and investment worth `1 lakh crore is in the pipeline.
Speaking on the occasion, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the government has made a huge “turn around” in the state and it is now growing at 11 per cent. Listing the progress made by Bihar government in the past five years, he said, “all the mines went to Jharkhand but the minds are still with Bihar and to nurture that we have appointed more than two lakh teachers in government schools.”
He also said that the government has improved the law and order to great extent as neither a single case of death or a single incident of booth capturing occurred during the state assembly election last year. Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, while complimenting the NRIs for their contribution in development of the state, announced setting up of a Commission for NRIs to redress their grievances, especially related to property matters and other legal disputes.
He said the commission would be headed by a retired judge of the High Court and Punjab would be the first state in the country to take such initiative to redress grievances and disputes of the NRIs.
Badal said the Punjab Government has already set up dedicated police stations and exclusive fast track courts for taking up issues related to NRIs only. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who could not make it to the programme, said his government would soon come out with a policy to promote creation of key infrastructure while safeguarding interests of the farmers. Calling for better collaboration with the diaspora, he assured them to speed up clearance for industrial and infrastructure projects. Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat, in his speech, also sought investment from the diaspora in the state and said despite occasional adverse publicity, the state’s tourism profile as an ideal leisure destination has not been impacted.
Not reaching out to NRIs for money: Ahluwalia
The Indian government is not reaching out to NRIs for their money but wants them to take more interest in this country, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said here on Sunday, adding that overseas Indians should send their children on holidays to discover the land of their origin.
The government is not reaching out to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) because “we need your money”, Ahluwalia said while answering an audience query at the end of an interaction with Chief Ministers on ‘Inclusive Growth’ on the concluding day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas function here.
He said that as an economist he would suggest that overseas Indians not invest in the country if they feel their money can be better invested elsewhere.
“But take interest in India. Exciting things are happening here,” Ahluwalia said. Rather than investing in India, he said that NRIs should give a holiday package to their children.
“Let them discover what is going on in the country of their origin,” he urged. He suggested that even if a visit to India is for pilgrimage, it should be accompanied by a “pure holiday”.
“That is the most useful thing to do,” he added. Ahluwalia, who was responding to a query about the quest for NRI investment when there were reports of illegal wealth from India having been stashed away in foreign tax havens, said money laundering was not a problem specific to India.
Ahluwalia said that the government would be happy to receive any specific information about cases of money laundering. “If there is specific information, the Finance Minister will be happy to hear it,” he said to applause from the gathering. Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said that the government was not asking overseas Indians to come to the country to attract investment. “It is a get together,” he said. He said that NRI’s share in the total foreign direct investment in India was about 1.3 percent.

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