States woo diaspora money

PTI[ MONDAY, JANUARY 12, 2004 03:12:28 AM ]

NEW DELHI: In a bid to cash in on the current upbeat mood about the Indian economy, several states on Sunday wooed the diaspora at the Pravasi Bhartiya Sammelan to invest here with promises of better infrastructure and transparency.

States like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Punjab and Haryana topped the list.

However, most of the chief ministers did not turn up on the last day of the celebrations on account of internal party bickerings or because of the two-day BJP executive meet in Hyderabad.

Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala was the only head of a state to show up at the mega event here.

Gujarat minister for NRIs and NRGs (Non-Resident Gujaratis) Ashok Bhatt claimed the western state was the "most happening place in India" providing the most attractive incentives in the fields of IT, pharma, ayurveda, diamond and tourism.

Appealing to all sections of the PIOs, Bhatt said, "Jo ave Gujarat, so Gujarati (whoever comes to Gujarat is a Gujarati)."

To augment the flow of investments into the state, industries minister Anil Bhai Patel said an NRI Investment Act would soon be introduced and amend labour laws in SEZs.

He also invited them for a three-day vibrant Gujarat Uttarayan Festival being organised to forge closer cultural bonds with NRIs.

Madhya Pradesh made a fervent plea for investment in the state which was rich in mineral resources, diamond deposits and tourism.

There is a great possibility for high return on investment in infrastructure and power in the state where the two sectors need to be urgently addressed, chief secretary Satya Prakash said here.

He said the state’s abundant natural resources including rivers, forest, minerals and very good law and order situation made it an ideal investment destination.

Madhya Pradesh was among the few states in the country where politicisation of bureaucracy was very limited, he claimed, adding that the state government had also set up a taskforce to draft a plan that would soon outline the industrial policy of the state.

Commissioner for industries, commerce and export promotion of Andhra Pradesh Sameer Sharma said the state had a huge potential due to its long coastline, active government support and a skilled manpower base. "Pharma and bio-tech are growth engines and we will focus on them."

Rajasthan’s industries minister N S Rajvi said adequate power supply, soft interest rate regime, cheap labour and congenial social fabric made the state an attractive investment destination.