|HOME | BUSINESS | REPORT|
|February 18, 2000||
Naidu's economic numbers could land one in jail or mental hospital, says Swiss minister
Our Correspondent in Hyderabad
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was visibly embarrassed by the comments of the Swiss Minister for Economy, Pascal Couchepin, at a luncheon meeting in Hyderabad Friday.
Reacting to the presentation made by Naidu on the "Vision-2020" envisaged for the state, the Swiss minister felt that Andhra Pradesh's target for a seven-fold increase in the gross state product in the next two decades was a bit too ambitious.
"Such projections we cannot make in our country. In the best of electoral speeches in Switzerland, we cannot make such promises or projections. If I make such promises, I will be sent either to a jail or a (mental) hospital," Pascal Couchepin quipped, even as Naidu was seen squirming in his seat.
When Naidu recalled how a city-based company, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, was able to achieve almost a thousand-fold increase in its turnover to almost Rs 6.5 billion now, the Swiss minister shot back that such growth could be good for companies and their shareholders but the states could not achieve such ambitious growth.
However, the Swiss minister told Naidu that he was very impressed with the "Vision-2020, which is very clear, simple and concise". He said that India and Switzerland were very close in the rankings in the world in terms of the size of the GDP. While India's GDP ranked 17th, the Swiss GDP was reckoned at 15th position.
The Swiss minister also had a word of advice for Naidu. He said that a predominantly agrarian state like Andhra Pradesh should lay stress on the development of the farm sector, which provided employment and foodgrains for the people.
Pascal Couchepin, who led a 25-member high-level Swiss delegation of officials and businessmen on a two-day visit to the city, said that both India and Switzerland needed to work together.
"We need each other's help to expand the economy. We must strengthen the existing bilateral, economic and trade relations between our countries. The visit to India offers first-hand view on India's economy to the leading Swiss industrialists and industry organisation representatives," he said and added that the Swiss delegation was in Hyderabad to identify and explore the potential areas for bilateral investments and improved trade and business relations.
Naidu mooted the idea for setting up a Promotion Board with representatives from Andhra Pradesh and Switzerland to coordinate and interact periodically for exploring possibilities for mutual investments and bilateral trade.
"Every year, I am coming to Davos," Naidu said, recalling his visit to Switzerland during 1999 and this year to attend the World Economic Forum summits. "I will send you updates on the possibilities for investments here on the Internet but we should explore the possibility for setting up a promotion board," he said.
Naidu also invited the Swiss banks and insurance companies to set up their operations in Hyderabad, which he wanted to develop as the financial and insurance hub rivalling Bombay.
|Tell us what you think of this report|
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK