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Re: This should be encouraging news!



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At 06:17 AM 6/21/00 -0700, Ram wrote:
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>http://www.outlookindia.com/20000626/affairs4.htm
>
>
>      KARNATAKA=20
>      Velvet Czar to the Fore
>
>      Watch out, Naidu. S.M. Krishna is winning both panchayat polls and =
>investors.
>
>      It's the kind of popularity every political leader yearns for. But =
>it seldom happens that all these traits are bestowed singularly upon one =
>individual. Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna is one of those rarely =
>blessed personalities.
>
>      His appeal, it seems, is universal - well-liked by the rustic as =
>well as by the urbane. He is a leader who's not tainted by blemishes of =
>moral turpitude or brazen deeds of favouritism. And that is precisely =
>why he has the moral courage to unabashedly ask political foes to pitch =
>in for accelerating the mechanism of development. It has taken Krishna =
>eight months to express each of these attributes in their entirety.
>
>      The upshot: Karnataka is not only regaining its lost sheen as the =
>most favoured destination for investors, but has actually taken a step =
>forward. The chief minister's style of functioning sets him startlingly =
>apart from his predecessors. A man with a perennially unruffled =
>composure, his vision doesn't merely envisage a place in the sun for the =
>state's infotech sector. He is equally committed to an increase of per =
>capita income in the agrarian sector.
>
>      Krishna's popularity can be gauged from the fact that one of his =
>predecessors, Ramakrishna Hegde, has praised the new CM's initiatives =
>much to the chagrin of his own Lok Shakti people as well as the BJP =
>leaders. Their contention is that Krishna has the "advantage" of =
>succeeding a somnambulant J.H. Patel. Says Karnataka assembly Opposition =
>leader Jagadish Shettar: "It's sheer media blitz that's helped the chief =
>minister take credit even for routine decisions."
>
>      In early June, Krishna faced his first crucial test as leader of =
>the Congress party and chief minister - elections to zilla and taluk =
>panchayats and the first Global Investors Meet (GIM). The score-sheets =
>were telling - the party won 26 of the 27 zilla panchayats (649 of the =
>889 seats) and 2,099 of the 3,252 taluk panchayat seats. And at the GIM, =
>the state government signed MoUs for investments - which are supposed to =
>bring in Rs 17,000 crore more than what was targeted - in sectors as =
>varied as power generation, cement, automobiles, vegetable oils, =
>infotech and infotainment (Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp plans to set up a =
>Rs 1,000 crore facility near Bangalore). As Ravi Uppal, head of the =
>state unit of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and managing =
>director of Volvo (India) Pvt Ltd, said: "The government is building a =
>unique platform of trust between itself and the industry."
>
>      But well before the GIM's valedictory on June 30, Krishna is =
>scheduled to visit Singapore to firm up on phase II of the $208 million =
>International Tech Park Ltd (ITPL) near Bangalore, and to invite =
>investments from the government there. Avers the chief minister: "I want =
>them to invest their surplus resources in Karnataka."
>
>      The follow-up on projects approved at the GIM is perhaps =
>unparalleled.
>
>            The Reliance Group sought 80 acres for an infotech park near =
>Bangalore. The government sanctioned 70 acres inside the Electronics =
>City the next day.=20
>            The entire phase II of Electronics City with a sprawling =
>campus of 240 acres was allotted to entrepreneurs during the GIM.=20
>            In the case of G. Manoharan Naidu, music director and =
>managing director of Lahari Recording Co Pvt Ltd, who signed an MoU with =
>the state government for setting up a Rs 110 crore audio and video =
>cd-rom facility near Bangalore, an approval came within two days. Gushes =
>Naidu: "It's been an extraordinary experience for me. At the GIM, I told =
>the officials that I need an approval for conversion of agricultural =
>land for industrial use. I got the clearance within two days, without =
>having to pay bribes. In the evening I got a call from the industries =
>department, asking me if any formalities were pending. I am told that =
>all the requisite approvals will be granted by June 24."=20
>
>      So, Krishna's clear focus on development and constant monitoring =
>has helped the state to draw in more investments than those set off even =
>by President Bill Clinton's visit to the country. And if his much-feted =
>Andhra Pradesh counterpart thought that he had won after Clinton graced =
>Hyderabad at Bangalore's cost, Krishna's coup by wooing the =
>Hyderabad-based Sathavahana Ispats Ltd to sign an MoU to start a Rs =
>400-crore coke-oven plant for generation of 50 MW of power near Bellary =
>has shown Naidu that he was mistaken.
>
>      Officials say Krishna actually made a remarkable impression on =
>investors during the World Economic Forum summit at Davos three months =
>ago. During his presentation, he reportedly explained that though =
>finance minister Yashwant Sinha and he were from political parties with =
>diametrically opposite ideologies, both agreed on the policy of =
>development. The process of liberalisation was initiated by a Congress =
>government in 1991, but was being continued by the one being led by the =
>BJP, and "we (both the parties) want you to come to India." At the GIM, =
>he had Sinha for the inauguration and Arun Jaitley at the end of the =
>two-day meeting. Even his predecessors, Hegde and Veerappa Moily, were =
>there among the invitees - a rare feat.
>
>      His colleagues find him different from other chief ministers - one =
>who has clarity in thought and is democratic too. According to a senior =
>minister, at cabinet meetings, the CM doesn't bulldoze his way through, =
>he listens to his colleagues. For instance, when the cabinet was =
>discussing the threat of Mangalore Power Company (Cogentrix's joint =
>venture) to pull out, the CM was initially perturbed at the slow =
>progress and bureaucratic hurdles which were responsible for the =
>pullout. Eventually, however, he was convinced that it was good as the =
>state was not in a position to afford the power generated by this =
>project.
>
>      Krishna is democratic but he is no softie. He continues with his =
>surprise visits to various government offices to jolt the bureaucrats =
>into action. Recently, he visited a granary of the state food and civil =
>supplies corporation, and found rice supplied by the Food Corporation of =
>India unfit for consumption. His retort that the rice should be dumped =
>at Krishi Bhavan, Delhi, has had his political adversaries, the BJP in =
>particular, baying for his blood. They have dubbed it a political stunt =
>because his visit and subsequent criticism of the public distribution =
>system deprived the BJP of support even in districts which had been =
>traditional strongholds of the party. "The campaign that the BJP =
>government hiked the prices of commodities affected our prospects. The =
>turnout was poor because the elections were held soon after his visit to =
>the granary," frets Shettar. (The BJP, incidentally, has slipped to the =
>fourth position in this month's polls to the local bodies, registering a =
>single-digit show in seven of the 27 districts.)
>
>      Krishna, however, continues to ignore such barbs. "The fact that =
>we did not shy away from holding elections, but held them at the =
>earliest was one factor that helped us win. The credit for this victory =
>will be shared with all the Congress workers. Also, the earnestness with =
>which we are going about implementing our promises has really impressed =
>the people in rural areas," said Krishna.
>
>      As president of the PCC, Krishna is leading by example. He visits =
>the party office at least twice a week. His ministers too have been =
>forced to emulate their leader and interact with party workers. As a =
>consequence, his detractors within the Congress have little opportunity =
>to raise the banner of revolt. And when they do - like during the GIM =
>when three ministers opposed investments by mncs and later retracted =
>their statement - he has a firm message for them: toe the government =
>line or quit.
>
>      The chief minister's vision is to create multiple growth centres =
>so that the entire state develops in a uniform fashion. "I would like to =
>scale greater heights. If you think I am satisfied with the way I have =
>performed over the last eight months, I am not; I feel a bit depressed =
>because I could have done better. I want Karnataka to be prosperous and =
>make it a state that is surplus in power generation by 2004." Should he =
>succeed in making it a power-surplus state, his political power too =
>would increase exponentially.
>
>      By B.R. Srikanth
>
>
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This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/
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