States highlight diversity in investment at diaspora meet

January 9th, 2009 - 2:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra ModiChennai, Jan 9 (IANS) The huge diversity of opportunities for foreign nationals of Indian origin to participate in development and investment were highlighted by senior government ministers of several states to 1,500 delegates on the second and final day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here Friday.But the seemingly endless list of facts and figures by ministers frustrated both the audience that grew increasingly restless, and even the chairperson, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who repeatedly requested cooperation in keeping addresses short and eventually resorted to using a reminder clock.

Tamil Nadu Minister for Electricity Arcot N. Veerasamy injected some life back into the proceedings at the annual meeting of the Indian diaspora by taking the microphone for less than 30 seconds to enthusiastic support from the audience. He declared that his chief minister had already provided all the information needed by delegates during his inaugural address the day before.

As the speakers detailed their achievements, Haryana Minister for Power, Water, Sanitation and Parliamentary Affairs Randeep Surjewala challenged a statement by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi: “I want to contradict Mr Modi - Haryana also achieved double digit growth last year.”

Modi had earlier declared his state as the only one that had achieved double digit growth in India in the past year: “Even in Asian countries the growth rate of any developed country is not double digit. India may reach 7 percent this year, but in Gujarat state the growth rate is more than 10 percent - the only state in Asia with double digit growth rate.”

Modi provided a range of statistics to highlight the success of projects such as rainwater harvesting, and a plan to sustain development and growth through a model where sustainability is ensured by balancing growth at 30 percent industrial, 30 percent agricultural and 30 percent in the services sector.

Sushil Kumar Modi, deputy chief minister of Bihar, painted a rather negative picture when he referred to his state as being “one of the most backward states of India”, as he noted the trials and tribulations of the state’s people through two years of flooding.

But he also pointed out the success of Bihar’s model in empowering women, which he said was now being copied by other states, as one of its plans to develop human resource capacity, another being education.

“We have appointed 2,020,000 teachers already and will appoint 80,000 more this year.”

Sushil Kumar Modi said Japan, Thailand, Singapore and China were cooperating in a scheme to develop youth in Bihar.

Punjab representative Manoranjan Kalia, minister for industry and local government, said his state had instituted special services to assist NRIs who had migrated to get their ancestral land in villages back from those who had taken it over, including special dedicated police stations.

Bhopinder Singh, lieutenant governor of Andaman and Nicobar, described the territory as one “giving full expression to idea of India being unity in diversity - a unique model of national integration”.

“We have the only tribes in the world living in total peace and harmony with their neighbours in a modern civilisation,” Singh said as he invited delegates to experience the natural beauty of the islands.

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