Gandhinagar, Jan 9 (IANS) Several chief ministers Friday wooed the Indian diaspora at the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here to come and invest in their states and promised several incentives, while Kerala urged that the diaspora be given online voting rights.
Among the chief ministers who attended the session, called Investment Opportunities in States, were Andhra Pradeshs’ N. Chandrababu Naidu, Madhya Pradesh’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Punjab’s Parkash Singh Badal, Kerala’s Oommen Chandy, Maharashtra’s Devendra Fadnavis, Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar, Jharkhand’s Raghubar Das and Goa’s Laxmikant Parsekar.
Earlier, chairing the session at the PBD, the world’s largest annual gathering of people of Indian origin, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the country is “moving towards an era of cooperative federalism, giving voice to states in shaping the economic destiny of the nation”.
He said the new government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already taken a series of measures to reignite the economy.
“We have reasons to be optimistic as we are constantly making course corrections to gain investor confidence,” he said.
Singh said the ‘Make in India’ initiative is a “mission to transform this country from an importer of manufactured items to an exporter of manufactured products”. The objective is to increase the share of manufacturing in the GDP from the current level of 14 percent to 25 percent.
Andhra’s Chandrababu Naidu said his state after the bifurcation is a new state and facing some troubles. “There is a crisis but there are opportunities too. By 2022 when India reaches 75 years after independence, we want our state to be the top three in the country. By 2029, we want to be top in the happiness index and by 2050 we want to be the best global destination,” he said.
Haryana’s Khattar spoke about the soil health card programme launched by his government for farmers and to boost productivity. He said his state wants to produce fruits and vegetables for the international market.
He also said that his state produces the largest number of medal winning sportspersons. “We want to make the state a sports hub and also in trade.”
Chouhan invited the diaspora to “Come and make in Madhya Pradesha in the line of Modi’s ‘Make in India'”, promising an investor-friendly climate and 24×7 electricity and a special NRI cell to tackle different projects.
Chandy spoke in favour of granting the diaspora online voting rights. “We must think of providing the diaspora online voting facilities and make suitable changes in electoral laws.”
He also expressed appreciation for the efforts of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to bring back the Kerala nurses stranded in Iraq and in Libya and said the government should bring out a rehabilitation package for them.
He said that employment opportunities in the Gulf sector may diminish following reforms like ‘Nitaqat’ that could force Indians to return home.
“We must think about how we can rehabilitate those who come back to India and in what way we can make use of their expertise,” Chandy said.
He also said there is need to channelise the remittances sent by Indians for the development of the country. “If properly channelised, NRI remittances can make a significant impact on the states,” Chandy said.
The states held separate concurrent sessions with the diaspora to highlight investment opportunities and discuss any queries.
The event is being held in Gandhinagar Jan 7-9 to mark the centenary of the return to the country of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa. Around 4,000 delegates are attending the three-day session.