CHENNAI : US Ambassador to India Nancy J Powell on Monday showered praises on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa for her various initiatives, particularly the ‘Vision 2023’.
“The Chief Minister has set a goal of 11 per cent gro-wth in the gross domestic product over the next decade, putting the state on par with upper middle income countries in Southeast Asia. Her efforts are praise-worthy and inspiring and the US supports Tamil Nadu’s efforts in this direction,” Powell said.
Addressing a meeting organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce here, Powell lauded the ‘Vision 2023’ and its emphasis on sanitation, housing for all, education for all and infrastructure development.
She recalled the significant changes she witnessed in the region since her last visit. “While white Ambassador cars and the green rice fields remain the same, the Chennai airport and a few Fords and Chevrolets I see on the road tell me that India is different now and it feels like homecoming for me.”
Tamil Nadu, which is the auto hub of India, is of particular significance to the US since the state enabled companies like Ford and Caterpillar to set up their units here, she said. “Besides creating jobs in India, setting up these offices has helped create jobs back in the US,” said Powell.
US Eyes Madurai, Kovai
Powell said she was in Chennai to look beyond capital city contacts and forge strong relationships at the State level. “Besides Chennai, my goal is to help bring American investors to tier-II cities like Madurai and Coimbatore, which have enormous potential,” she added.
She said that India will have the world’s largest population by 2030 and this rise will be fuelled by an optimistic, dynamic and well-educated population.
However, she criticised the Union Government’s recent policy decisions on FDI, including tariff and non-tariff barriers and lack of transparency, which she felt would discourage American entrepreneurs from investing in the country.
Powell is the second senior US personality to laud Jayalalithaa.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when she called on the Chief Minister in July 2011, had praised her impressive electoral victory saying it would be the “envy of any politician in the world”. Clinton had also congratulated her on the many path-breaking achievements.