Govt will go on SEZ with great caution: Pranab

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New Delhi, Jan 9: Minister for External Affairs Pranab Kumar Mukherjee today said the government would formulate its policy on SEZ with great caution so that injustice is not done to the people. Addressing overseas Indians at the 6th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here, Mr Mukherjee said the challenge before India today was to balance growth with equity and sustainability.

''Our government is cautious in formulating a balanced policy in so far as SEZ are concerned, so that while we build up our industrial and manufacturing strengths, we do not neglect the legitimate rights and demands of the people,'' he said. Noting that the SEZ issue had become very sensitive, he said, '' I am sure states are working out their own policies towards relief and rehabilitation and offering suitable compensation packages to the people impacted.

He also underlined the need of the states to increase the pace of economic reforms, saying that if the country has to sustain its growth it has do that at a balanced pace throughout the country, which meant that states should reinvigorate their efforts to provide a conducive atmosphere for attracting investments.

He said they should engage '' all agencies concerned, more particularly the overseas Indians who have proved their worth and interest in bringing to their motherland not only economic investment but also their talent and skills, resources and ideas and above all their emotional bondings.'' Pointing out that the government was focusing its activities on '' Aaam Aadmi'', and development of rural areas to bridge the rural urban divide, the External Affairs Minister called upon NRIs to invest in social sectors.

He also underscored the importance of energy security for the country to drive its economic growth.

Pointing out that today, a barrel of oil has touched 100 dollars which had sent shock waves across the world, he said that for India, it means additional resource allocation of millions of dollars in the national plan.

This, he said had prompted the country to explore alternative avenues of energy and renewable sources of energy and leveraging of multilateral and bilateral frameworks to secure energy supplies over the long term.

''The Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation was precisely intended to address our concerns on energy security,'' said the External Affairs Minister.

He asserted that the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation was part of India's quest for energy security without which the country would not be able to sustain its economic growth.


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