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Be Indian, invest in India, says Y C Deveshwar
DNA - 31 Jul 2014

ITC Ltd chairman Y C Deveshwar  believes rich Indian entrepreneurs investing in real estate in US are showing  investment opportunities in India in poor light. This could be music to ears  for S D Shibulal, who till recently was heading country's leading home grown IT  company Infosys.

"I was recently saddened  by media reports that high net-worth Indian nationals in a position of  leadership have invested significantly large capital in real estate assets  overseas. This is symptomatic of the fact that even Indian capital has to seek  lucrative opportunities abroad given the difficulty of investing profitably in  the domestic economy, quite apart from perhaps a serious deficit in patriotic  fervour," Deveshwar told shareholders at the annual general meeting of  ITC.

According to media report,  Shibulal has invested in over 700 apartments spread across the Seattle and  Bellevue area of US.

"This is symptomatic of  the fact that not many profitable investment opportunities exists and that  Indian capital has to go out to seek profitable opportunities. But first  capital has to be invested in the country of origin which is India. Only if you  don't find avenues that it should go out. Even if it is at some difficulty. At  the end of the day who would care about India if not Indians," Deveshwar  later told dna.

"You would be happy to  know that 65 projects involving a built-up area of 28 million sqft with an  outlay of over Rs 25,000 crore are currently under implementation or in  advanced stages of planning. These projects are distributed across a majority  of states," Deveshwar told shareholders.

This includes 8 hotels being  added and another 18 being planned.

Deveshwar's patriotic sweep  also targeted the MNCs, particularly the FMCG biggies, who remit royalty on the  sales of every packet of chips, bottled water or even idlis!

ITC in contrast has taken  great efforts in building home-grown brands like Bingo or Vivel, Deveshwar told  reporters during a press conference.

To give boost to the food  processing sector, the government should make it tax free, he demanded.

ITC has no plans to get out of  cigarette business on its own even as incidence of punitive taxation goes up  progressively, he said.

"Our presence ensures  that least amount of smuggling of cigarettes take place. Also, we are using our  cash flow from this business to invest in industries of tomorrow, " ITC  chairman said.

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