Newly-elected official KNRI Forum - UAE president and chairman of Fortune Group of Hotels, Praveen Kumar Shetty in association with well-known philanthropist and entrepreneur Ronald Colaco hosted the first ever historical KNRI-UAE Business Meet with chief minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah at Fortune Park Hotel, Dubai Investment Park on Saturday April 29 evening with many well-known business community Kannadiga invitees along with KNRI-UAE office-bearers.
Ronald Olivera as master of ceremony welcomed CM Siddaramaiah, Ronald Colaco, Praveen Shetty and all the dignified members of KNRI to the business meet and elaborated on the event. CM Siddaramaiah was honoured with a shaul by Ronald Colaco and a bouquet by Praveen Shetty. Other distinguished guests, Dr Arathi Krishna, vice-president of NRI Forum, government of Karnataka, L K Atheeq, principal secretary to the Karnataka government, Govindaraju, parliament secretary, former MLA H Srinivas, MLA Mohiuddin Bava and other dignitaries were also welcomed with bouquets. Philanthropist Ronald Colaco was welcomed with a bouquet by Praveen Shetty.
CM Siddaramaiah later inaugurated the event with the traditional lighting of the lamp along with Ronald Colaco and Praveen Shetty.Praveen Shetty rendered the welcome speech and thanked all those who had wholeheartedly come to the event and also mentioned special thanks to the CM for accepting his invitation. He also thanked Ronald Colaco for supporting him in this historical event.
Be united in the interest of Karnataka: Ronald Colaco to NRIs
Philanthropist Ronald Colaco beautifully introduced CM Siddaramaiah with step by step chronological narration of a humble person's life story from his early days to his meteoric rise to the current position, and his transformation into becoming a leader of all Kannadigas. "I feel proud to say that I have known CM Siddaramaiah closely all these years and I respect him as a true leader," he said.
"When we have a person like Siddaramaiah, who, with a humble beginning, having been born in a poor family, rose from being a cattle grazing boy to become the chief minister of Karnataka, then who better than him do we require as role model to emulate?" Colaco said. He also stated that when Siddaramaiah, after becoming the finance minister for the first time during 1994 and made an attempt to present his maiden budget, the opposition were sarcastic with their comments as to what knowledge a shepherd would have of accounting. Siddaramaiah took this comment as a challenge and earned the rare distinction of a finance minister who went on to present ten annual state budgets thereafter, with some of his budgets had been rated as the best of all time.
"Siddaramaiah's real concern for the marginalised and downtrodden people of our state prompted him to start the AHINDA movement for the benefit of dalits, backward classes and minorities. He has introduced various welfare schemes like Anna Bhagya, Ksheera Bhagya, Vidya Siri, Kere Sanjeevni, etc," Colaco said.
At the beginning of his talk, Colaco heralded the sincere efforts of Praveen Shetty in organising the registration of KNRI Forum in UAE as well as the NRI business men/women meet in Dubai and expressed displeasure over some individuals' and groups' deliberate attempt to create controversies which is not in good taste and which brings disrepute to the people of Karnataka on a foreign soil and therefore urged everyone to be united and supportive of all programmes organised by anybody irrespective of whether it is Praveen Shetty or others, in the best interest and image of the state as well as people of Karnataka. Colaco also reminded the audience about the solemn need to uphold the unity and dignity of a country like Bharat heralded for its largest democracy in the world in spite of enumerous diversities having multiple regions, religions, languages,castes, cultures, traditions, food habits, dress code, etc, yet maintaining harmony and unity in diversity.
Karnataka No 1 investor-friendly state: Siddaramaiah
The evening continued with the introduction of all the invited Kannadiga NRI business community people who one by one introduced themselves to the audience as well as the CM, who was carefully listening all through.
The CM later thanked Ronald Colaco for his wonderful introduction as well as Praveen Shetty and Colaco for hosting such an event and thanked the Kannadiga NRI business community for attending the event. He then repeated some of his briefings of the previous day's KNRI-UAE inauguration speech and said that it may educate those who had not attended the historical event. He requoted the words of the famous Kannada poet Kuvempu "Wherever you live, however you live, be a Kannadiga (Yelladuruiru, Yenthadaruiru, Yendendigu nee Kannada Vagiru)".
While briefing that Karnataka now has become the number 1 investment-friendly state for Indians and also number 2 for foreign direct investments, he promised full cooperation and support with legal assistance to all investors in their ventures in Karnataka. While welcoming new investors he said that the Karnataka government has started the Pravasi Bharatiya Conference which identifies the 'Varshada Kannadiga' (Kannadiga of the Year) and honours the identified NRI with the award every year. He also briefed on the NRI Forum, Karnataka's slogan 'One State – Many Opportunities' and said that Karnataka is the IT hub of the world with the state contributing over 40% of the IT exports of India.
He added that the GDP of the state grew at 5.3% as against 5% of the country's GDP. Karnataka is the ideal location for hi-tech industries like aerospace, automobiles, IT and BT. Bengaluru is the Silicon Valley of India and Karnataka is the knowledge hub of Asia. The pamphlet distributed by the NRI Forum Karnataka states that Karnataka ranks 5th in India for growing vegetable crops, it is the largest producer of floriculture, spices, aromatic and medicinal crops and fruits, producer of 70% of India’s coffee, 3rd highest producer of sugar in India and has major scope for agri-exports, animal husbandry, poultry, milk and fisheries, he said.
A question-answer session followed, wherein some of the NRI Kannadigas raised valuable questions, to which the CM responded. Hafiz Saifulla, CEO of Zhumino Group of Companies highlighted on the vegetable exports from India which is banned due to poor methodology, stressing that Karnataka should follow the methodology of Europe and set standards for Karnataka-based perishable products. CM answering to his question invited him to raise this issue directly with him so that he could work on solutions to this issue.
There were various other questions including one on providing spaces in some of the industrial zones and/or granting special zones for KNRIs in those specified zones. Dr Kaup Mohammed, one of the respected members, also stressed on giving permission to foreign educational institutes and universities to open in Karnataka so that Kannadiga students get opportunities to opt for higher studies in Karnataka instead of going to Europe.
The CM informed that there is an online link created by the government for all the queries one may have and NRI Kannadigas could log in to it anytime to know Karnataka better. He assured that his government is looking into all the grievances of Kannadigas worldwide and will be more than happy to address each and every issue. He said that in the government's efforts to take Karnataka forward and tranform it into a complaint-free state, it would provide all assistance to Kannadigas in need.
Ronald Olivera concluded the evening with the vote of thanks which was followed by sumptuous dinner hosted by Fortune Group of Hotels.
Broadway Events headed by Joel Crasta supported both the KNRI-UAE main event and the business dinner event with sounds and lights.