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Exports key to raise GDP, disposable incomes: Narayana Murthy

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`Creation of jobs is the answer to country's woes'

AWARD WINNER: The Chairman and Chief Mentor, Infosys Technologies Ltd., Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy, delivering his speech at the
AWARD WINNER: The Chairman and Chief Mentor, Infosys Technologies Ltd., Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy, delivering his speech at the "4-way Test- Man of Year" award function organised by the Rotary Club of Belur in Kolkata on Thursday. A. Roy Chowdhury

Our Bureau

"Foreign direct investment was also necessary for creation of jobs and politicians should not fear FDI."

Kolkata, Aug. 3

The Chairman and Chief Mentor of Infosys Ltd, Mr N.R. Narayana Murthy, on Thursday presented a strong case for increasing the country's earnings from exports to raise the per capita GDP and disposable incomes of the Indian population.

Delivering his address after receiving the "Four Way Test Award" at a function held jointly by Rotary International District 3290 and Rotary Club of Belur here on Thursday, Mr Murthy said the time had come to ensure that a lesser number of people in our country depended upon agriculture.

The need of the hour was to facilitate the transition of some of them into "low-tech manufacturing as China has done".

Since finding markets within the country for all that is produced would be difficult, it would be imperative to focus on exports. This, in turn, would ensure a higher per capita GDP and disposable incomes at the hands of people.

Exports

"No developing country in the world has progressed without exports", he said, citing in this regard instances such as Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan and Thailand. "The only solution for us lies in exports. From the existing level of 14-15 per cent of GDP, Indian exports have to go up. China's exports are at 30 per cent of GDP, even as Mexico, Taiwan and Thailand have similar export figures. All these countries have enhanced the contribution of exports to their GDP," he said.

According to him, China has created 130 million jobs in low-tech manufacturing. It has also decided to move one per cent of its population every year from agriculture to manufacturing. "If China can do it why can't we", he asked.

FDI

Foreign direct investment was also necessary for creation of jobs in our country, he said, adding that politicians should not fear FDI. "Global capital has multiple choices and it is important for the political leadership to realise that creating an urban-rural divide, rich-poor divide and educated-uneducated divide is not the solution to our problems", he said.

Stating that the only way the country's problems could be solved was by the creation of jobs and wealth, Mr Murthy said that "unless we do so we shall be failing in our duty".

Speaking on the occasion, the Governor of West Bengal, Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi, asked Mr Murthy to don the role of an "Ombudsman for enterprise".

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 4, 2006)
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