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India asks its diaspora to support infrastructure development
January 8, 2014, 4:50 pm

India Wednesday urged its nearly 25 million-strong diaspora across the world to play a constructive role in bolstering the economy, especially in infrastructure development and expanding manufacturing capacity.

Addressing the 12th edition of the annual diaspora meet - Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) - in the national capital, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said the diaspora's role in the Indian economy was very important.

Sharma said the Indian government is taking steps to make the country a manufacturing hub.

"In the coming decade, almost 54 million graduates will look for job opportunities, hence it is necessary to significantly raise the manufacturing sector's contribution to GDP to increase employment opportunities," he said.

The minister said India's demographic dividend held out immense possibilities for higher long term growth, provided enough jobs are created for the young brigade, which in turn is possible only by creating a growth-friendly environment.

India, he said, has a dearth of skilled workforce and therefore it was necessary to invest in human resources and empower the youth. It is important to develop the young workforce with requisite education and training as per global standards, which will lead to increased employment opportunities for the youth.

Minister of Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Kamal Nath said the diaspora should play a role in infrastructure development of the country.

He pointed out that with the rise in the number of cities, urban infrastructure has not kept pace and has emerged as one of the biggest challenges.

The government has initiated a number of projects such as the construction of metro rail lines in many Indian cities and is also looking at ways to integrate it with intelligent transport system, he said.

He said India needs specific governance and management as it is a complex nation.

"The country has experienced unprecedented growth with the rise in disposable income of rural Indians, which has emerged as the new aspirational class and become one of the important drivers of the economy," Nath said.

Sidharth Birla, president of industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), which is involved in organising the diaspora meet, said a positive environment is required to encourage expansion and creation of businesses.

Birla said that businessmen could be forgiven for not really believing that an overall setting conducive to business exists in India.

Positive intentions of the government leaders as presented today, tend to get overshadowed by noise over substance. It is easy for the atmosphere to get sidetracked by media and civil society and activism, Birla said.

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