States welcome NRIs to participate in nation development

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New Delhi, Jan 9 (UNI) Major states of the country today called upon Non-Resident Indians participating in the sixth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here to take part in the development of their country, showing them the various opportunities for investment.

A major thrust of the state's development plans was the social sector, especially health and education.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee took the lead in inviting the overseas Indians as he inaugurated the session on ''Developmental Challenges of the States: Partnership opportunities'' at the two-day conclave of diaspora that came to a close here this evening.

''This debate could not have come at a better time. The public discourse on the developmental challenges that India faces must engage the attention of us all. The civil society and the overseas Indian community,'' he said calling upon them to divert a part of their energy, talent and money for the development of their respective states.

''India has been engaging in bilateral and regional trade agreements not only to boost its trade but also to give shape to its strategic partnerships with nations and groupings. It seeks to involve itself inextricably with the world, and of course the diaspora.. Our states are uniquely placed to harvest the benefits arising out of our external engagements,'' he said.

Mr Mukherjee said India's development process in the past few years had captured global imagination, and the country presented a great opportunity for overseas Indians who have scripted many a success stories in other parts of the world.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi while asking for investment in the infrastructure of the state, also urged NRIs to invest in the social service sector.

Stating that he was focusing on human development index, and the state government was soon going to start a 'Healthy Child Project,' he asked NRIs to do something for the poor children of Gujarat.

Mr Modi said the other areas of focus of his government were industry, agriculture and development of 1600 km of the state's coastline and ports.

He said the state was already having one of the best infrastructures in the country and now aimed to make it world class, adding that inviting private capital and management in core sectors, in existing and greenfield projects was a key initiative of his government.

Stressing that Gujarat was the best place for NRIs to invest, he sought to point out to them that it achieved an annual average growth rate of 10.2 per cent in the tenth plan, which was highest among all states, and the Planning Commission had set the state a target of 11.2 per cent in the 11th five year plan, which was also the highest.

He also offered to host the first PIO University, as proposed by the Prime Minister, in the state and called upon the NRIs to participate in the great opportunities that would arise from the 100 billion dollars Industrial Corridor that would pass through major areas of the state.

Referring to another announcement of the Prime Minister of setting up of a Global Advisory Council for the People of Indian Origin at the conference, he said Gujarat had already created such a mechanism for providing the requisite facilities to the overseas India entrepreneurs.

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