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Back investment-led growth, State told

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday urged the people of Kerala to adopt an investment-led growth model with massive outlays for industrial infrastructure.

Mr. Chidambaram's speech, while inaugurating the function marking the re-launch of "Veekshanam," the mouthpiece of the Congress in the State and his press meet, emphasised the theme of investment-led-growth, which, he said, had been initiated by the party in 1991 and had won wide acceptance in the country including West Bengal.

Addressing the press conference, he said Kerala's industrial infrastructure needed massive investments in power, telecommunications, highways and ports. The Centre had already cleared the Vallarpadom transhipment terminal. He said that during the current year up to November 10, a plan assistance to the tune of Rs.3,931 crores had been devolved to Kerala, including devolution of funds as per the Twelfth Finance Commission recommendations and Kerala's share of loan.

The Finance Minister rejected the contention that Kerala's second-generation problems in health and education were being neglected. He said that Rs.12,316 crores had been devolved as per the 11th Finance Commission recommendations, while the 12th Finance Commission had recommended a 55 per cent increase at Rs.19,607 crores.

At the Veekshanam function, Mr. Chidambaram dwelt on the Congress- formulated investment-led growth, stating that growth was not a function of fancy economic formulas. "Growth is the function of investments. Without investments, there could be no growth. There are 32 opportunities to invest in the country, why should some one invest in Kerala? Investment is a matter of faith. Unfortunately, the climate created by the politics of Kerala has deterred investments," he said.

The people of Kerala should not encourage opposition to investments. "Keep your politics out of economics, keep your politics out of investments, keep your politics out of creating jobs, keep your politics out of income generation," he said.

Mr. Chidambaram said he was aware of Kerala's problems. He had to restrain himself from making an announcement because of the byelection, he added.

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