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Good economics is best politics, says Naidu

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The delegates of India-Asean Business Summit with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, and the Minister for State for Commerce and Trade, Singapore, Mr Shanmugharatnam, at the inaugural session in Hyderabad on Friday.


THE Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, in a departure from his usual serious power-point presentations, regaled the delegates of the India-Asean business summit.

During his 15-minute speech, laced with humour, Mr Naidu took pot shots at politicians, Government and public sector outfits.

"Wherever there are two politicians, you can be sure that there must be at least three political parties and five different views," he said.

"Politicians love politics! In my view, however, good economics is the best politics! That is why I refuse to engage in politics except at the time of elections. Fortunately, this is not election time", Mr Naidu said as the jam-packed delegates participating in the FICCI-organised meet burst into laughter.

Stating that an outstanding example of success of reforms in the country was deregulation of the telecom sector, the Chief Minister pointed out that when there was a public sector monopoly over telecom, the joke was that those without telephones were waiting for telephones, while those who were lucky to have one were waiting for the dial tone.

Over the last seven years, he said Hyderabad had transformed into a knowledge hub and icon of modern India. "It is a city so much in tune with the information age that some shops even display boards like `Y2K Tandoori' and `chicken dotcom".

The Chief Minister also advised the delegates to ask the right questions. He reminded them of an anecdote where, in one of the universities someone wrote very prominently on a wall, "Nirvana is the answer". Next day someone else wrote below it, "But what is the question!" The discovery of truth lies not only in finding the right answers, but also in asking the right questions", he said.

Mr Naidu, who is at his best when presenting his State particularly to potential investors, asked the audience to go for shopping in the pearl city of Hyderabad. "Not only shopping, you also invest here to gain first-hand experience", he said.

According to Mr Naidu, Asean countries can partner with the country in offering IT and IT-enabled services to the developed countries. India has a large pool of skilled manpower and Asean countries can benefit from this technical workforce.

The Singapore's Minister of State for Commerce and Trade, Mr Shanmugaratnam, said the knowledge-based economy in Hyderabad offered inward and outward investment opportunities for Singapore in a range of activities including biotechnology and e-governance.

Welcoming delegates, Mr Rajendra S. Lodha, President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), said that there was a need to improve trade between India and Asean which currently remained weak and short of expectations.

Mr Ramalinga Raju, Chairman and Managing Director of Satyam Computers, said that information technology was slowly converging with biotechnology and life sciences.

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