DR. ASHWANI KUMAR URGES GLOBAL AND US ORPORATIONS FOR MEGA INVESTMENTS IN INDIA’S
PETROCHEMICALS AND MANUFACTURING SECTOR
Date : 08 Jun 2006
Location : New Delhi
Dr. Ashwani Kumar, Minister of State for Industry, while addressing a Conference of over 50 CEOs of leading global chemical and petrochemical majors yesterday at Greenbrier, Virginia made a forceful plea for FDI in India’s petrochemical and chemical sector. Senior executives of companies such as Dow Chemicals, Dow Corning, Exxon Mobil, Total SA, British Petroleum and Akzo participated in the conference. The Minister informed that the Indian petrochemical sector with a turnover of nearly USD 40 billion was growing @ 9% and is poised for an exponential growth. Dr. Kumar informed the gathering that India’s per capita polymer consumption was only 4 kilograms as against China’s 26 kg and the world average of 25 kg per capita and therefore the Indian petrochemical market offers huge possibilities.
Dr. Kumar said that the Government of India is committed to being an enabler and facilitator in setting up Petroleum Petrochemical Investment Regions (PCPIRs) spread over 100-250 km areas through public promote partnership initiatives. He said that based on the preliminary study and evaluation, the states of Karnataka, West Bengal, Orissa, Gujrat and Andhra Pradesh have been identified as possible destinations for setting up PCPIRs. These states have been chosen because the basic infrastructure is existing and can be expanded further. Dr. Kumar said that “ anchor tenants” such as ONGC were already in Mangalore. The Haldea Complex in West Bengal could facilitate an early start up of PCPIR in West Bengal and could attract multi-billion dollar investments for creating a world- class petrochemicals infrastructure in the country. Dr. Ajay Dua, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, also attended the Conference along with other senior officials. This conference is a sequel to the initiative of Prime Minister taken in September 2004 to attract mega investments in India.
Later on the same day, Dr. Kumar, attended a meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) at Washington. NAM is an association of over 30,000 US manufacturing companies. He urged the gathering to look upon India as a manufacturing hub and enter into engaging commercial partnership with Indian manufacturing companies.
The Minister further stated that India is determined to increase the share of manufacturing from 17% of its GDP to over 30% by 2020. He said that a 1% growth in manufacturing would lead to a 3% growth and would thereby unfold huge employment generation opportunities in the hinterland of India.
The NAM meeting was presided over by Governor of Michigan John Engler who is President of the National Association of manufacturers and was attended by top management of over 100 American Corporations including Bechtel, GE, Cummins, Whirlpool, Meadwestvaco, General Motors, Halliburton, EDS, Eastman Chemical Company etc. Mr. Victor Menezes former Chairman of Citibank, Mr. Romesh Wadhwani, Parag Saxena and Anand Dorairaj of the NRI Task Force were amongst those who attended.
At both Green Brier and NAM meeting, Dr. Kumar made an impassioned plea of support for the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Deal, which he said would alter the paradigm of Indo-US relations, one from contention to a purposive engagement in pursuit of common goals. He said that the time had come to put aside the past and to move forward towards strengthening the strategic partnership between India and the US, which was in the common interest of both countries.