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Give up discriminating investment: FM

Written by: Staff

Madurai, Dec 3: Pleading against discriminating domestic and foreign investment, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said irrespective of its origin it was the key to infrastructure development, which in turn would act as a catalyst for economic growth.

"I am for more space for private investments since public investment is not adequate enough to meet the demand," he said addressing the valedictory of the CII Southern Region Exhibition here, showcasing the potential in the southern districts of the state.

Calling for competitive investment from both the public and private sector, he said it was necessary to sustain the current 8.5 per cent growth rate for another 10 to 15 years. Efforts were on in that direction, he added.

In his opinion it was an intelligent option to receive foreign investment rather than discriminating it. 'The money with a dog will not bark', he quoted an old saying to drive home the point that native wisdom was also supportive of this. As such, investment should flow in whatever be the source, he quipped.

The country was riding on an investment boom which had touched a record 57 per cent in 2005-06, the minister said underlining the need to have an additional 50 per cent every year to maintain the tempo of industrial growth and overall development. The pace of this trend should not be allowed to slow down, he added.

However, he maintained that the benefits of the boom should not be confined to the top rung saying both the big ships as well as catamarans should have the space to travel side by side.

High growth rate would necessarily have a price attached to it and infrastructure development was needed to increase productivity commensurate with the present growth level, it was pointed out.

In a veiled response to the Left criticism on FDI, the Finance Minister called upon the youth and the entrepreneurs to be vigilant about political parties which discriminate the flow of investment. On the southern districts lagging behind in industrial growth, Mr Chidambaram urged the legislators from the region to secure more financial allocations from the state government for infrastructural development.

The prerequisites for industrialisation, according to him were a high degree of social order, peace on the law and order front and political parties which committed to developing the economy.

Obviously, he was referring to the casteist tension plaguing this region.

Pointing out that the region remained backward in many social indices except education, the Minister emphasised the need to build up the social infrastructure, which was equally important like physical infrastructure. Though the region could boast of many engineering and technical institutions apart from the universities and colleges, he said the stress should be on quality and standard of education imparted.

Admitting that he was not aware of the current status of the Nanguneri Special Economic Zone, conceived by the previous Karunanidhi Government, he urged the industrialists to get it developed at the earliest so that the fruits of the Tuticorin Port Trust and the Sethu Samudram Shipping Channel could be reaped in full.


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