HD Kumaraswamy does U-turn, says comments on subsidies to US firm misquoted

Kumaraswamy had reportedly questioned why a significant amount of national funds should be given to a US firm when there are small scale industries within India.
Union Minister HD Kumaraswamy
Union Minister HD Kumaraswamy
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A day after questioning the Union government for granting subsidies to the US-based semiconductor firm Micron Technology for its under-construction unit in Gujarat, new Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Steel HD Kumaraswamy said his comments were to highlight the need for a balanced approach and not meant to be taken as criticism. 

“Bringing the semiconductor sector to India is strategic; we require it. Parallelly, we have to create jobs for the second-line sector, our small-scale industry... We are thinking about it and working out on it... I have been misquoted. I have not mentioned any state. Why has my statement been picked up like this? I have to be very cautious in the future,” he told the media.

According to TOI, Kumarasamy raised his concerns at a televised meeting of Janata Dal (Secular) party workers after returning to Karnataka on June 14. While reportedly admitting that he is not authorised to do so, Kumaraswamy said that Micron Technology was set to receive Rs 3.2 crores in subsidies for every job it creates. The Minister further appears to have questioned why such a significant amount of national funds should be given to a US firm when there are small scale industries within India such as in Bengaluru-based Peenya industrial belt, which in his view has not received enough government aid.

Kumaraswamy reassured stakeholders that the Union government remains committed to creating a favourable environment for domestic companies while bolstering the local semiconductor industry. “Semiconductor is an important industry. It is a fundamental prerequisite for electronics and automobile manufacturing. Both these sectors generate substantial employment. I appreciate the semiconductor-related initiatives taken by PM Modi and will endeavour towards fulfilling them through my ministry.”

Karnataka’s Industries Minister MB Patil had welcomed Kumaraswamy’s initial statement. In a social media post, he said, “It is not fair that Rs 3.2 crore incentive is being given for every job created by Micron Technology in Gujarat. Mr. Kumaraswamy is right in questioning this... Every State in the country should get a level playing field and equal opportunities. If the government provides 70% funding for the project, we might as well call it a PSU. Even if it is to kick-start an ecosystem, all states should benefit and have equal opportunity. However, it looks like Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been showing special interest towards his home State Gujarat. This will lead to discrimination and unequal treatment.”

Union Minister HD Kumaraswamy
Union Min for Steel Kumaraswamy questions subsidies to US firm in Gujarat

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