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Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry

January 15, 2008

Prime Minister greets Indian diaspora

Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh inaugurated the Sixth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi on January 8. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Singh said that the idea of India transcends the narrow barriers of religion, language, caste or class, both within and outside the Indian nation.

The Prime Minister announced the launch of an 'Overseas Workers Resource Centre' (OWRC), which will provide all relevant information and assistance to potential migrant workers. He also announced the establishment of the Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council, which will comprise illustrious NRIs and People of Indian Origin. The security and welfare of Indian residents living abroad is a top priority of our diplomatic missions, the Prime Minister said.

Following is the text of the Prime Minister's address on the occasion:<.

"Let me begin by wishing each one of you a very happy new year. Even though Delhi is right now cold, I assure you that a very warm welcome awaits you in this land of your ancestors. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is a very special day for each one of us. Each of you represents the idea of India in different parts of the world. Like I had said last year, we are one family and the whole world is our home. The invisible thread that binds us together and bonds us with Mother India is our common 'Indianness'.

Each year, we have the honour and privilege of having an eminent Pravasi as our chief guest. This year, we have the distinguished Dr. Navin Chandra Ramagoolam, the Honourable Prime Minister of Mauritius, as the Chief Guest. The people of India and Mauritius have deep emotional links - civilisational, cultural and many other. Mauritius is a very special friend of India. We take great pride in the achievements of the people of Mauritius to which the Prime Minister and his great father have made a very notable contribution. Dr. Ramagoolam is a great friend of India and a very dear personal friend. It is indeed my pleasure to extend a very warm welcome to him and to his gracious wife.

As we begin the year 2008, we look back at the year gone by with some satisfaction. It has been a good year for the Indian economy, for our working people and for our entrepreneurs.

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22 world-class railway stations

The Indian Railway Ministry's plans to develop major stations in metros and other prominent cities into world-class facilities have received good response from international bidders. Hong Kong-based Terry Ferrell has been appointed architect and technical consultant for the New Delhi station. If everything works out as per plans and construction and redevelopment work starts as scheduled, almost two dozen stations will sport a world-class look equipped with modern amenities before the start of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, according to a senior ministry official.

Twenty-two stations will be developed through the public-private partnership route. Apart from the metros - New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai - the stations which are part of the project include those at Agra, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubhaneswar, Chandigarh, Howrah, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mathura, Patna, Pune, Secunderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Varanasi, besides Anand Vihar and Bijwasan (both Delhi).

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Mumbai to host equity fair

India's financial capital, Mumbai, will witness the country's first-ever private equity fair - IPEX 2008 - to be held on February 27.

IPEX 2008, organised by Yen Expo and the Indian Institute of Management- Ahmedabad (IIM-A), will see over 25 companies showcasing their businesses to 150 private equity funds from India and abroad. The fair will be held at Hotel Grand Hyatt.

"IIM-A has been roped in to make a detailed company analysis of each applicant and shortlist the best 25 for the fair," Sunil Shirole, senior investment banker in Yen Expo, said. Shirole said the fair would help mid-sized companies who find it difficult to attract private equity investors, as they are unable to present their business plan in a format that is appreciated by investors.

Fund-raising through the bond market, currency and interest rate risk management, securitisation with a view to ensuring balancesheet liquidity, credit derivatives and collateralised debt obligations continue to be a complicated process for an trading group.

Retail market to touch $365 bn

The boom in India's retail sector will continue and top $365 billion in 2008, against $300 billion last year, says a study by a leading industry chamber, released in New Delhi on December 31.

With a year-on-year growth of 30-35 percent, the retail trade sector in India will top $440 billion by 2010, says the study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. "The retail industry size in calendar 2007, particularly in its organised retail segment, is around less than five percent, which works out to be slightly more than $16 billion," said chamber president Venugopal N. Dhoot.

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