Australian Minister impressed by AP's development

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Hyderabad, Sep 10 (UNI) Describing India as a ''growing economic super power'' Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith today said he was quite impressed by the development made by Andhra Pradesh in various fields.

According to an official release here, the Australian Minister, who was on a week-long visit to India leading a high-level delegation, held discussions with Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.

He said he found Hyderabad as one of the fastest growing cities in the country. India offered a huge investment potential for Australian industrialists in the fields of IT, biotechnology, pharma, construction and agricultural research.

Mr Smith sought details from the Chief Minister about various welfare programmes, including the Aarogyasri Health Insurance Scheme, housing scheme for poor, boost given to higher education and Self-Help Groups.

Explaining the schemes, the Chief Minister told Mr Smith that 87 per cent of the state's population was covered by the Aarogyasri scheme and it was well received by the low income group.

On the boost given to higher education, Dr Reddy said 17 universities had been started by the present state government.

The Chief Minister also informed him that there were ample opportunities in infrastructure development, IT, BT and Manufacturing sectors.

The delegation, including Australian High Commissioner to India John McCarthy and Australian High Commission Counsellor Victoria Walker, later visited the L V Prasad Eye Research Institute, which is involved in a collaborative project with the Centre for Eye Research in Australia.

UNI SM RL KP1918

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