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Tuesday, Aug 30, 2005

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`Bold steps needed to develop manufacturing'

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The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms Jayalalithaa, flanked by the FICCI President, Mr Onkar S.Kanwar, and Sr Vice-President, Mr Saroj K.Poddar, at a meet in Chennai on Monday. — V. Ganesan

Chennai , Aug. 29

BOLDNESS and innovation must underpin Indian industry's growth to develop as an international manufacturing hub, said the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms J. Jayalalithaa.

Tamil Nadu would be at the vanguard of this development with its growth initiatives spanning the primary sector, manufacturing and knowledge industries.

In an address - she described it as a report card of initiatives to encourage industry in Tamil Nadu - to the national executive committee meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here on Monday, Ms Jayalalithaa said Tamil Nadu was expanding its infrastructure, diversifying agriculture and encouraging industry without losing track of human development goals.

In agriculture, the goal is to push for diversification into high value and water efficient crops. Efforts are on to use information technology to introduce modern techniques in farming. The State Government will develop new export zones in addition to the agri export zones, she said.

Infrastructure funding had trebled to Rs 4,791.64 crore in 2005-06 from Rs 1,777.91 crore in 2001-02. World Bank assisted projects for road development and urban development have taken off. Action has been taken to add about 4,000 MW of power generation capacity.

Chennai has emerged as an automobile components export hub and its position will be strengthened with the setting up of an automobile testing facility, which is to come up at Oragadam, near Chennai, she said.

Ms Jayalalithaa was optimistic about the flow of investment into the State, which, according to her, was now a problem of plenty. The State is running out of space in industrial estates and new ones have to be established, she said.

The Union Government should ensure that State Governments attract investments on their inherent strengths rather than introduce artificial incentives. The Centre should do away with exemptions from excise duty and income tax on new investments extended to States such as Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh. These distort investment decisions of companies, she said.

Mr Onkar S. Kanwar, President, FICCI, said Tamil Nadu should identify high potential sectors, improve investment environment, public service delivery mechanism and governance reforms, accelerate infrastructure development and put in place a risk mitigation system in agriculture. These will form a part of the strategy for making Tamil Nadu a leader in the country. The Government should develop clusters for leather, pumps and motors, machine tools and household appliances, and capitalise on opportunities in the textile sector.

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