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June 29, 2001
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Enron debacle not to hit foreign investment: Mahajan

Union Information Technology Minister Pramod Mahajan has stressed that the debacle of the Dabhol power project would not have a major impact on foreign investments in India, but said it was a sensitive issue which could have 'some impact'.

Mahajan, who hails from Maharashtra, where the $2-billion project of US energy major Enron is situated, said, "The state government is dealing with it and if necessary, the Central government would take its own initiative."

The minister urged the investors to take a look at India's track record over the last 50 years, during which it has never defaulted on any international agreement.

An isolated incident should not have any effect on their investment decisions in India, "which welcomes them", he said at a seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Mahajan invited investors to start ventures in the IT sector, saying India now provides the best possible environment for the purpose and has removed all constraints.

India allows 100 per cent foreign direct investment in IT, repatriation in dollars and investors do not need to search for an Indian partner or waste time in obtaining licenses, Mahajan told the seminar attended by top leaders in the industry.

They just need to inform Reserve Bank of India within 30 days of starting business, he said.

"India has best IT professionals in the world who know English and are available in adequate numbers," he said.

To a question, Mahajan said it was not important whether China or India was on the top in one sector or the other.

What is important, he said, is that India does the right thing to meet the needs of its own people.

"It will compete where competition is necessary but the basic test is whether it is doing the right thing for its one billion people," he told the audience.

In this context, he referred to a 'cooperation agreement' signed with China in IT, 'as India is strong in software and China in hardware'.

"So it is a cooperative relationship," he said.

India, he pointed out, had an advantage in that its people knew English and hence it made a name in exporting its wares.

In China, on the other hand, most people did not know English.

But they had started looking inwards and begun tapping the huge domestic market, he said.

The Enron Saga

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