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Farmer-the most endangered species

Andhra should set up at least 10 knowledge SEZs: Assocham

Posted by Ramoo on March 19, 2007


Posted online: Monday, March 19, 2007 at 0000 hours IST

HYDERABAD :  In the next seven years, Andhra Pradesh can become a ‘knowledge centre’ for the world, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce (Assocham). In a blueprint, titled ‘Winds of Investments are towards Andhra’, Assocham suggests that the state has the potential to attract over Rs 1,50,000 crore investment in the next seven years. The blueprint, submitted to chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy by Assocham president Venugopal N Dhoot recently, was prepared by a group of professionals after field visits and interaction with officials.

‘‘We are confident that the state has enough potential — resources, proactive government and technically qualified manpower — which is sufficient to attract the investments,’’ Dhoot told the media.

The document points out that the state produces over 80,000 engineering graduates, 10,000 management graduates and over 3.50 lakh English-speaking workforce annually— and this is its greatest advantage.

The anticipated investment is capable of creating four lakh jobs additionally, besides increasing the state’s export share from 4.39% to 10% by the year 2012.

But this can be achieved only if Andhra Pradesh prepares a blueprint for establishing 10 Knowledge Special Economic Zones (K-SEZs) and 10 Agri-Processing Special Economic Zones (A-SEZs). This apart, it should act as a catalytic agent in promoting biotechnology, nano-technology, robotics, knowledge agriculture; promote institutes of professional excellence.

On its part, Assocham would take up the job of training small-time farmers by establishing about 200 agri-training institutes. Dhoot said the KL Chugh (former ITC, MD) committee to prepare the draft project paper to be submitted to the Planning Commission to get central funding. ‘‘We expect active partnership from the state government to proceed on the project,’’ he said. DS Rawat, secretary-general, Assocham, said a few corporates had evinced interest in the project. However, the modalities would be worked out after the Chugh committee submitted its report.

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