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January 17, 2000
Our Correspondent in Abu Dhabi
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu believes 'Dubai Internet City' could gain from the infotech services of his state.
Naidu, who was in Dubai for a couple of days, painted a vision of India riding the infotech wave and sweeping the world. With Andhra Pradesh, of course, at it's crest.
"Our software engineers are at the cutting edge of technology, with the state today contributing 23 per cent of India's software professionals.
Further, an estimated 20-25 per cent of Silicon Valley is composed of Indians -- and half of them originate in AP," Naidu told members of the Indian Business Council.
The Rs 15-billion Hi-Tech City in Hyderabad was progressing fast. The first phase is complete and the next has begun, he said. Further, the new Knowledge Park -- catering to industries working on bio-technology, drugs and allied material -- was also moving at full steam ahead, he said.
Naidu said that the state capital, Hyderabad "is already host to all the majors in the computer industry", suggesting that they were there because they saw the potential for the industry and a climate conducive for growth.
Naidu said the IT revolution had also left its mark on the bureaucracy.
"We have already started our e-governance project -- using computers and the Internet to take our services to the end-user's doorstep, rather that forcing customers to come to us," he said.
The operations on the Internt, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister said, could put an end to the kind of corruption that is routine in government offices.
Naidu said IT was just one facet of his state's progress, and that the state planned to step up the pace of privatisation in many sectors. It would also invest heavily in core projects, namely power generation and development of human resources, he said, adding that it was exploring the possibilities of sourcing the state's power generation requirements from the UAE.
Speaking of Dubai's proven expertise in managing sea and air ports, Naidu hinted that the emirate could play a role in Hyderabad in view of the plan to privatise and upgrade operations in Andhra Pradesh.
"We plan to make Hyderabad an international airport, serving as the transit hub between Europe and China. On the ports side, we have five major and seven smaller ones dotting our 1,000-km-long coastline," he said.
Other reforms that he has in mind, says Naidu, were in healthcare, education, and some pilot projects. He also stressed on tourism's potential to generate huge revenues.
Naidu urged the Dubai's business community in to invest in Andhra Pradesh, speaking of rosy investment opportunities in agro-food processing, infotech, engineering, white goods, drugs, ports, roads, airports, industrial complexes, tourism, construction, recreation and health.
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