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Promoting basic industry is Govt's priority: YSR

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Mr R.H. Khwaja, Chairman and Managing Director of Singareni Collieries, receiving the `Best All-Round Performance Award' from Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Chief Minister, at a function organised by FAPCCI in Hyderabad on Saturday.

Hyderabad , June 13

IN his first speech at an industry forum after assuming charge as Chief Minister a month ago, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, has said that promoting basic industry is his Government's priority along with agriculture and rural development.

"When I said that agriculture and rural development was my priority, it didn't mean that industry was not my agenda. It is of no less priority for the Government," Dr Reddy said, before presenting Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FAPCCI) awards for the year 2002-03 here on Saturday.

Assuring the industry that the Government would every thing that was needed, he made a dig at the erstwhile Telugu Desam Government.

"How can any one claim that we are an industry-friendly State, when we receive just 4 per cent of all the Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs) inflows into the country," he wondered.

"During 1994-2001, we received a meagre Rs 1,608 crore as against a total FDIs of Rs 51,600 crore," he said.

He, however, said that he was not worried. "If our people are encouraged, they will be second to none," he observed.

Expressing concern over the widespread industrial sickness in the State, he said the Government would take steps to restart all the viable small-scale units.

"About 38,000 SSI units fell sick and 350 medium and large enterprises have become sick or are in the process of going sick in the State. Thousands of crores of rupees lay waste in many of these. We will take steps to revive all the viable ones," Dr Reddy said.

Stating that Government's thrust on agriculture would yield good results, he asked the industry to take up agri-based industries.

"We are going in a big way for bio-diesel and ethanol production," he said, appealing to the industry to support the initiatives.

Mr S.S.R. Koteswara Rao, President, FAPCCI, urged the Chief Minister to carry out a comprehensive survey of sick units that could be revived.

"After identifying causes for the sickness on a case-to-case basis, the Government can come out with a package," he said. Asking the Chief Minister to take up VAT (value-added tax) cause with the Union Government, he felt that the State could go ahead as systems were well placed for the new tax regime.

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