Karnataka wants US as partner country at investors’ meet

Bengaluru, Nov 3 (IANS) Karnataka is wooing the US to be a partner country at its global investors meet February 3-5, 2016 here and participate in the event with a large delegation.

“Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urged American ambassador Richard Verma to make the US a partner country of the ‘Invest Karnataka 2016’ and bring a large delegation to the event in view of the state’s potential for huge investment and strong presence for US firms,” an official statement said here on Tuesday.

The US is the second largest investor in the state accounting to 12 percent (1.4 billion) of Karnataka’s FDI.

“Bengaluru is the Silicon Valley of India, a counterpart to the Silicon Valley in US. There are a lot of similarities between the two regions as also co-ordination under the sister-city initiative between San Francisco and Bengaluru,” Siddaramaiah told Verma who called on him here.

He told the visiting envoy that construction and metallurgical industries, automobiles and computer software and hardware services are the sectors which attract American investments in India.

“US investments in India are concentrated mainly in five sectors: 75 percent in services, 18 percent in manufacturing, seven percent in primary sector construction, 0.2 percent in electricity, and 0.1 per cent in water and gas,” he noted.

Precious stones and metals, machinery, electrical machinery, mineral fuel, oils, optical instruments and equipment, aircraft, spacecraft parts, organic chemicals and plastic products are India’s major imports from America, he added.

Benglauru houses as many as 300 US companies.

The American ambassador’s meeting with the Karnataka chief minister followed his meeting with state Tourism Minister R.V. Deshpande aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation in trade and investments between the state and the US.

Karnataka Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee requested the US ambassador to open a US Consulate in Bengaluru to help the huge number of IT professionals to easily get a US visa.

Verma is visiting Bengaluru as part of the US-India Aviation Summit being held in the city November 3-5.

Earlier in the day, Verma visited the US-supported Water Health Centre project near Don Bosco church in suburban Lingarajapuram and interacted with slum dwellers in the vicinity, and said it was “heartening” to see how these are transforming communities by improving family health, work attendance, reducing school absenteeism, and improving the overall quality of life.

“We are poised to support the Municipal Corporation (Bengaluru city body BBMP) and its partner, Water Health India, to scale up these water centres from nine wards to 25 by May 2016, with a goal of eventually serving all of the wards in Bengaluru,” he added.

Nearly 8,000 households in Lingarajapuram today have access to clean drinking water at just one-sixth the cost (Rs.5 for 20 litres) of the retail market price.

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