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Mahua Venkatesh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 25, 2013
The UPA government, which is making all attempts to revive the growth story and boost overall investments, is looking to invite sovereign wealth funds of other countries to invest and promote the proposed National Investment Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ) to be set up across the country.

"We would focus on these manufacturing zones and we are keen on having SWFs on board to promote and set up these NIMZ. We are in talks with several of them," a senior government official who did not wish to be identified told HT.

With more than 200 million Indians expected to join the workforce by 2025, these manufacturing zones would help create several million jobs in the next few years.  Besides, it would also increase the share of manufacturing in the gross domestic product (GDP) from approximately 17% at present.

The government has envisaged NIMZs as spread over 5,000 hectares, with extensive, state-of-the-art infrastructure.

In this connection, finance minister P Chidambaram is set to announce measures to boost the cash-strapped infrastructure sector, which require an estimated $1 trillion (R55.4 lakh crore) in the next five years. 

An official source said the government is especially keen to give a push to the NIMZs as the country would go to polls next year. "At present, the government has little (achievements) to showcase. To add to its woes, the growth rate has decelerated, denting sentiments in a big way... therefore  the government is now trying to make up for lost time and in this the NIMZs could get a huge push," the source said.