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Anand Sharma seeks Singapore investments in NIMZs

SINGAPORE: India today sought investments from Singapore in the proposed national investment and manufacturing zones (NIMZs), which are integrated industrial townships with world class infrastructure.

Commerce and Industry Minister 
Anand Sharma, who is here on a two-day visit, said countries like Germany and US have already expressed a keen interest to participate in the NIMZs.

"We have a (national manufacturing) policy. If you read it carefully, first objective is to raise the share of manufacturing to 25-26 per cent, create 100 million skilled jobs, establish integrated industrial townships...It is a country of limitless opportunities," Sharma said here while addressing business community of Singapore and India.

He said for the ease investment in these zones, the ministry has taken several steps including, redressal of regulatory issues and single window clearance for faster clearance.

However, he said that land is an issue "which is very difficult to address anywhere, especially in India, where dependence on agriculture is very high".

Sharma said that to create jobs, India has to boost the 
manufacturing sector as agriculture and services would not be able to generate the required employment.

"...by 2025, we will have a minimum of 150 million, if not 200 million, young Indian joining the workforce, if we don't create employment, we will have a major challenge confronting us," he added.

Further, Sharma said that master planning for seven NIMZs have been completed.

"...(master planning for) other zone will also start. 12-16 industrial townships coming to India, minimum area would be about 800-900 sq km," he said.

He informed the gathering that the trunk infrastructures for the townships would be funded by
Indian government and the internal infrastructure would be available through viability gap fundings.

"...the industry whether from Singapore or domestic, when they move to these zones, they don't have to buy land, those will be the mechanism which will be worked by SPVs," he said adding "we will see true transformation in areas such as waste management, pharma, biotechnology among others".

He also asked for enhanced cooperation in services sector with Singapore. About 4,000 Indian companies are present here.

The National Manufacturing Policy provides for NIMZs -- mega industrial zones with world class infrastructure. The government is offering a host of incentives like exemption from capital gains tax and liberalised labour and environmental norms to promote these zones.

Sharma was speaking at the round-table investment meeting organised industry body FICCI. It was attended by around 50 companies from Singapore.