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Thursday, July 5, 2007

NRI couple makes a mark in Andhra Pradesh

Chicago, IL: India is now emerging as a land of opportunity. A congenial climate to succeed as investors exists for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in India in general and in Andhra Pradesh in particular.

This encouraging view with supporting examples has been expressed by a successful NRI wife and husband duo – Galla Aruna Kumari, Andhra Pradesh Minister for Medical Education and Health Insurance, and Galla Ramachandra Naidu, a leading industrialist.

Aruna Kumari and Ramachandra Naidu were speaking at a well-attended felicitation meeting arranged in their honor by various Telugu associations of Chicagoland at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago (HTGC) in Lemont, a suburb of Chicago, on July 1.

The couple, who had come to the US in 1969, returned to Andhra Pradesh in 1985 when no one else even thought or ventured to do so. The temple was taken as the venue because the couple, along with other friends, played an important role in its establishment and growth.

Addressing the gathering, Aruna Kumari said that all NRIs, with their knowledge and education acquired in India, and the success they achieved in the US, owe an obligation to their country and the state. They would definitely find gainful venues in Andhra Pradesh to invest their money and knowledge.

Explaining the opportunities they would have, she said: “India is growing at a fast pace. There are ample opportunities available for NRIs to help the country. Andhra Pradesh, with its rich resources, is emerging as a leading knowledge and industrial state. The Chief Minister, Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, promises to do what he can do; he does not promise what he cannot do. The investment areas in Andhra Pradesh are abundant. There is an opportunity for investment for every NRI. They can start industries. They can support education. They can help hospitals. They can develop their villages. The NRI physicians can invest in the medical colleges that they studied. The NRI engineers can help industries. They all can give money to buy furniture, equipment and books for libraries of medical and other educational institutions.”

She said that the YSR government was concentrating on youth employment schemes, women empowerment plans, rural housing, agriculture and other growth-oriented works.

Speaking about her Ministry, she said that it was only 50 days ago she assumed charge. With her persuasion, the newly initiated health insurance scheme, which was originally started in three districts, had been extended to 10 districts. It would soon be extended to all the districts of the state. Listing the problems faced by hospitals and medical colleges, she said that there was severe shortage of faculty. She gave an example of a government dental college where the principal along with eight other faculty members resigned en masse to join a private college. Therefore, she proposed some remedial measures and incentives to retain the faculty. Hitherto it was taking five years for an assistant professor to become a professor. Now the period had been cut down to two years. Similarly the retirement age of physicians and professors had been extended from 58 years to 60 years. She also emphasized the need for new medical graduates to serve in the rural areas.

Galla Ramachandra Naidu, who owns companies like Amara Raja Batteries in Tirupati, Amara Raja Power Systems in Kanakambadi, Amara Raja Electronics in Diguvamagham and Galla Foods in Rangampeta, said all these projects would remain second to his first successful project – the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago. Tracing the history of HTGC, he said it was started as a small project with an investment of $250,000 and it had grown into a project of millions of dollars.

He said that when he returned to India in 1985, the country was still had a license raj. Hurdles and red tape were many in the way of starting any new industry. It needed a lot of patience and perseverance to start an industry and succeed. But as of today, all his industries provided employment to about 5,000 people, including women and the youth – both educated and uneducated. “Now things are very different in India. Many incentives and opportunities are available to start industries. In economic parity, India now occupies fourth place after Japan in the world. With 10 percent GDP, India would soon replace Japan. India, which was looked down suspiciously in 1960s, is now commanding great respect and recognition among world countries. Today China may be dominating by flooding the world with cheep consumer goods, but India will soon overtake China by supplying quality consumer goods to world. If you want to start an industry or business, India provides you several opportunities. It is a turning point. With consumerism growing in the largest Indian middle class population, and with increasing purchasing power among the youth workforce, India’s economic activity is scaling new heights. Our scientists, doctors, engineers, management experts and other professionals and entrepreneurs, who are contributing so much to the growth of world counties, can now help India. India needs you and provides you opportunities,” he added.

Yugandhar Yadlapati, one of the founders of Telugu Association of North America, praising the hard work and perseverance behind the success of Aruna Kumari and Ramachandra Naidu in the US and in India, said that it was no exaggeration if some one said that one day a person of Andhra origin would become the President of the US. “You can already notice the influence of Andhras here – former President Bill Clinton would be addressing the forthcoming TANA conference in Washington DC. Aruna Kumari, with her vast experience gained in the US, quickly won the hearts of people in Cuddapah area and became an MLA, and subsequently a Minister. She gained political acumen from her father, Rajagopala Naidu, an active parliamentarian and a close associate of N.G. Ranga.

Syama Pappu, president of Telugu Association of Greater Chicago (TAGC), said that TAGC was proud at the success of Ramachandra Naidu because he was its president in 1975. Paying tributes to the contribution of Telugus to the US and other countries, Syama Pappu said that the world which realized the importance of Telugu physicians, engineers, scientists and other professionals also recognized the importance of experts of information technology. “In Chicagoland itself, there are 10,000 Telugus. With thousands of Telugus living and serving the US, the bondage between Andhra Pradesh and the US is strong. We do everything ourselves in this country and we value dignity of labor. We must carry this message to our own people in India. Here we should work to keep our family and Vedic values and pass them on to our younger generations. We should celebrate our festivities and showcase our culture to mainstream Americans here,” he concluded.

Earlier, Narendra Reddy, vice president of American Telugu Association (ATA), welcomed the gathering

The others, who spoke in praise of services of Aruna Kumari and Ramachandra Naidu, included Subramanyaraju Rudraraju, regional vice president of TANA, Dr. Sinha, Dr. Prasanna Reddy, Ramakrishna, Dr. Umapathy Reddy, Dr. Tata Prakasam, Dr. Vidya Sagar, Dr. Ram Reddy, and Dr. Sadasiva Reddy.

Ch Bharati, who emceed the program with all the charm, said that in one of the factories of Ramachandra Naidu, 90 percent of the employees held qualifications less than 10th class.

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