Make Every Crisis An Opportunity

Mumbai, Sept 18: | Updated: Sep 19 2003, 05:30am hrs
When the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr Chandrababu Naidu, took stage as chief guest at the first-ever awards for excellence in municipal initiatives hosted by the Credit Rating and Information Services of India (Crisil), his advice was clear - make every crisis an opportunity.

See Israel, addressed Mr Naidu from where he had just arrived a few days back, It is a country with a lot of problems, but have used them to their advantage. He went on to say that although they had little rain, they developed agritech, a high-tech agricultural development that they now deploy to other countries in the world. He also added that because of their problems with neighbouring countries, they have high-class security measures that are advised and taught even to America.

Mr Naidu believes that India can become a developed nation even before 2020.

We have all the talent, natural resources and ability to make India a developed country, but we also need to concentrate on other matters like municipal and labour reforms, he remarked, adding that for India to compete globally, its labour reforms must be clear and practiced rightly. He stressed the need for more municipal tax-free bonds and also believed that there should be clear jurisdiction and job checks for functionaries in governments.

ICICI Bank managing director and chief executive officer (MD & CEO) KV Kamath, who was also present at the awards, thought along the same lines. Said Mr Kamath: The balance is shifting from India being viewed as primarily a rural country, to a fast-growing urban development one. And with urbanisation, comes economic growth.

Mr Kamath is of the view that funds are no longer the key issue in India. The banking system has adequate funds and interest rates are low. What is required is the availability of good and innovative projects, which urban local bodies (ULBs) are coming up with, he added.

He remarked that while the Indian ULBs attract only 0.5 per cent credit offtake, the US has garnered $1.7 trillion, which was around 20 per cent.

Mr Kamath urged the people concerned to strengthen municipal finances and to introduce transparent tax collection methods.

In a move to influence and incentivise ULBs to implement successful initiatives in different areas of their work, Crisil launched the Crisil Awards for excellence in municipal initiatives.