The Hindu

Minorities to bring in Rs. 10,000-crore investment­s in next five years

- SANGEETHA KANDAVEL

CHENNAI: Over the next five years, the minority community in the State will bring in investment­s to the tune of Rs. 10,000 crore ($1.5 billion) through opportunit­ies enabled by Make in India programme and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalith­aa’s Vision 2023.

On Saturday, eight memoranda of understand­ing (MoUs) totalling Rs. 2,439 crore in various sectors including power, infrastruc­ture, warehousin­g, logistics, real estate, constructi­on, education, tourism, renewable energy and healthcare were signed at the United Economic Forum’s (UEF) 2015 trade summit that was held in Chennai.

The UEF, a non-profit organisati­on which encourages entreprene­urship among the minority community in Tamil Nadu, will help these eight firms in obtaining funds through Islamic finance, private equity, venture funds and bank finance. The organisati­on will also assist them to liaison with government department­s for their regulatory permits and approvals. The eight firms would be getting funds in the next one year and will start their proposed work within two years.

“We want to bring the minority community out of the pigeon holes and encourage entreprene­urship. We want this community to scale up,” said Ahmed A.R. Buhari, president, United Economic Forum.

Mr. Buhari said that the UEF would now help these eight firms that signed MoUs to obtain funds.

“Several investors have evinced interest in pumping in monies here. There are investors from Malaysia, Qatar and the UAE who want to come here,” he added.

To start with, the UEF is hand holding existing firms to scale up their operations. The next step is to assist start-ups and new ideas within the community.

According to the UEF, The 2011 census puts Muslim population at 17.22 crore or 14.22 per cent of India’s total population, a 25 per cent increase in decadal population from 2001. While the minority community in the country has significan­tly progressed, it is still below par the national average in several developmen­t indicators like literacy rate.

The UEF has also lined up plans to re-launch as a Chamber of Commerce and Industry, similar to CII, FICCI and SICCI.

“The UEF intends to become a chamber of commerce. We went across the country studying similar chambers,” Mr Buhari said. A separate chapter for women is also on the cards. “Women are coming forward to open businesses and share ideas. We want to encourage them,” he said.

Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali said that for entreprene­urship to grow, there should be unity. “There is no unity among us now and this has to change and we have to think progressiv­e,” he said.

Officials from the State Industries Department also made a strong pitch about the investment opportunit­ies in the State and how the community can capitalise on this. “There are lot of opportunit­ies in the MSME sector and the manufactur­ing sector which they can tap,” said a senior government official.

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