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Tuesday, Aug 19, 2003

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Vizag development report moots agency to attract funds

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , Aug. 18

GITAM Institute of Foreign Trade (GIFT) has, in a report for Visakhapatnam district, proposed to make the north coastal district achieve development levels comparable to Singapore.

Claimed to be the first-of-its-kind report for a district in the entire country, the Visakhapatnam Development Report (VDR) called for setting up an Investment Coordination and Promotion Agency (ICPA) on the lines of Economic Development Board (EDB) of Singapore.

"We need an EDB-like agency to attract huge investments into the district," said the report, which benchmarked the district against Singapore on certain development indices.

Why the Singapore reference? Singapore's GDP per capita was $512 in 1965 when the city-state set off for the "march for development." Visakhapatnam district reported a GDP per capita of 510 in 2000, it said, suggesting that the Singapore example can be re-enacted. "Besides, both places house equal number of people."

The institute is teaming up with some national-level management institutes in this regard, according to Prof C. S. Venkata Ratnam.

Stating that the number of small-scale units did not increase in number during the last four years, the report observed that large industries in the areas of steel, heavy engineering and oil, did not really push small-scale industries.

"They (small-scale units) seem to suffer from lack of quality consciousness, inadequate technical and managerial talent that can make them withstand competition," the report stated. "We should go for a detailed study to look into the problems that dogged the small-scale sector in the district vis--vis the success stories of the sector in China and Taiwan."

Identifying tourism as a major growth engine, the VDR has set a target of 10 lakh tourists by 2010.

"The Chief Minister should write to the global hospitality majors such as Hilton and Hyatt, inviting them to set up hotels along the Visakhapatnam-Bheemli beach road," the report said.

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