CII to set up task force to aid Naxal-hit areas

Written by Political Bureau | Bangalore | Updated: Jul 17 2010, 04:49am hrs
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) plans to get corporate houses involved in social development programmes in Naxal-affected regions in a bid to win the trust of locals. As a start, it will set up on Friday an internal task force led by B Muthuraman, vice-chairman of Tata Steelalso the industry bodys vice presidentto devise ways for private industry involvement in areas such as healthcare and education in these backward regions.

We feel industry has a huge role to play in the social upliftment of these areas, said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, CII. The Naxalite issue has come to the fore in recent months with back-to-back attacks on security personnel in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.

The government has been seeking participating from India Inc and civil society towards achieving inclusive growth in these regions as part of its two-pronged approach of development and police action to tackle the Naxal problem.

Banerjee said Union home minister P Chidambaram had suggested identifying possible areas where industry and government could work together at a recent CII annual general meeting. Thats how we are putting together a framework, he said, explaining that a social engagement will have to precede industrial investments in these regions.

If you just talk about only investment, it will not work out, said Banerjee. You need to involve the industry in social issues to develop trust. The important thing we have found out is that industry should be seen adding value to the wellbeing of these regions. The move envisages working with state governments, local bodies and NGOs, he added.

The task force would be on the agenda of CIIs national council meet in Bangalore on Friday, in which some 75 leaders would participate.

Besides, the industry body also plans to come up with a recommendation to the government on foreign direct investment in defence and retail. CII advocates opening up but at the same time, it also says that there should be a level playing field, said Banerjee.