In Maryland, Karnataka Chief Minister Invites US Investments

Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy with Steven McAdams (C) from the Maryland Governor's Office of Community Initiatives and Keerthi Swamy (L), a prominent businessperson

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Silver Spring, Maryland – Chief Minister of the southern Indian state of Karnataka, H.D. Kumaraswamy addressed a select audience of potential Indian American investors and invited them to participate in the “Global Investors’ Meet” Karnataka government will be hosting in January 2020 on opportunities, incentives and facilities it offers to potential investors.

Inviting businesses, Kumaraswamy sought participation “to make the Global Investors’ Meet a success as it is meant to attract investments from domestic and overseas firms with global linkages for job creation.”

In his speech Kumaraswamy said, “Our government is drafting a new industrial policy for 2019-24 to offer a robust ecosystem to spur economic growth, create jobs and make the state a global manufacturing and services hub,” noting, “Karnataka contributes 50 percent to the country’s machine tool production, 39 percent to IT exports, 67 percent to making aircraft and helicopters for defense services and 33 percent to biotech exports.”

He promised ease of setting up business and less red tape in the official state machinery saying, “We are undertaking comprehensive reforms to ensure seamless and time-bound processes for project approval, grant of statutory permissions and licenses. Our transparent policy initiatives are aimed at providing support to new industries and entrepreneurs.”

IAT reached out to prominent attendees at the meeting which was held at the conference hall of the Jewel of India restaurant here.

Rajan Natarajan, former Deputy Secretary of Maryland State and Commissioner of Transportation, State of Maryland pointed out that compared to any other chief minister of other Indian states, “Karnataka CM is easily accessible for any ordinary investor to meet and close the deal quickly.” Natarajan, an ace business professional, called Kumaraswamy’s “Compete with China” initiative a bold and great decision that would take Karnataka state further in attracting FDI and developing industrial cluster. Sounding optimistic about the 2020 Global Investor Conference in the state, Natarajan said, “It will attract thousands of new global investors and make his (Kumaraswamy’s) vision into realities.”

Suresh Shenoy, President, WHEELS Global Foundation sounded less enthusiastic as he expected a dialog with the chief minister but instead, “I heard a canned speech – a marketing pitch!” “The CM read out a couple of pages of facts and figures which I felt, were not compelling to the audience that was almost entirely made up of people of Indian origin who are already familiar with Bengaluru,” said Shenoy.

“We know and hear of the severe pollution, congestion, housing shortages, and serious water crisis – yet, there was not any mention of these challenges or any indication of a political will to solve them,” said Shenoy, expressing disappointment that there was no time allotted for questions.

Elisha B. Pulivarti, President, US India SME Council – whose organization had signed an MoU with the Government of Karnataka to organize their official visit to the United States and to promote 2020 Karnataka Investors Summit – was very pleased with the event. Calling it a “brilliant and powerful business meeting,” Pulivarti noted that the chief minister discussed “sectors-wide business opportunities to manufacture in Karnataka at large.”

Kumaraswamy was on a visit to the US to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony of Vokkaliga community’s Kalabhairaveshwara temple, and was scheduled to conclude his trip on July 5 after addressing a convention of Vokkaligas Parishath. Kumaraswamy belongs to Vokkaliga community, a dominant community in southern Karnataka and a strong vote base of the Janta Dal (Secular) political party.

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