NRIs annual conference a ‘picnic’:Nitish Kumar

February 15th, 2009 - 10:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Feb 15 (IANS) Disillusioned at no response from NRIs to investing in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Sunday described the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas as a “picnic”.

“It is nothing but a picnic. It is certainly not for investments,” he said at a media workshop on ‘Bihar: Recovery and Growth, How the Media Should Read the Moment’ here, organised by Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) along with Women’s Feature Service.

The chief minister, who has been trying hard to project Bihar as an investment destination for over last three years, admitted the conference hardly helped states like his, which is starved of NRIs’ investment.

After coming to power in November 2005, Kumar and his Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi started wooing NRIs to invest in the state by hard selling brand Bihar.

A year and half ago, Modi went on a 10-day trip to Britain, Italy and Canada to market Bihar as a favourable investment destination. He said many NRIs, especially those from Bihar, had expressed a desire to contribute towards the state’s development.

The state government had spent millions of rupees on trying to attract NRIs for investments in the state, and also set up an NRI cell to facilitate investment in Bihar from expatriates.

But till date, the state has not got a single big NRI investment.

The state government is trying to promote the state, often seen as one of the most lawless in India and struggling with highest percentage of population below the poverty line, as a favourable investment destination but has had little success so far.

The chief minister, in a reference to changing Bihar, said that law and order had improved in the state which was suitable for investments and the state government was doing everything to create basic infrastructure as well.

Bihar is keen to attract foreign investment in the areas of agriculture, health, IT, tourism and infrastructure.

In 1995, then chief minister Lalu Prasad also undertook a foreign trip to attract NRIs to Bihar but did not make much headway.

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