This article is published in The Economic Times, 24-10-2007

NGOs spreading wrong information, India tells Dutch minister

NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday raised with the Netherlands the issue of some European NGOs spreading "incorrect information" about Indian industry employing child labour and violating human rights.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said the country will respond after the matter is decided in a Karnataka court.

"The issue is currently with a Karnataka court and we are waiting for facts and information before we take any action," Nath told reporters here after a meeting with the Netherland's Minister for Economic Affairs Maria van der Hoeven.

Nath said the Indian government would be in close contact with the Netherlands authorities to ensure that the matter is resolved and right facts are communicated about the Indian industries.

"I have taken up the matter with the EU. The reports create an image of India which is not correct and impacts credibility of our government," he said.

Nath on Tuesday conveyed India's resentment over "false" reports being spread by EU-funded NGOs about Indian industry employing children and abusing human rights to Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Vayrynen.

"Our industries are subject to laws and Indian labour laws are quite good," Nath said.

On enhancing trade relations between India and the Netherlands, Nath said there is tremendous potential to cooperate in areas of infrastructure, IT and chemicals.

While imports from the Netherlands into India increased 116 per cent last year, exports have grown by about 88 per cent. A delegation from the Netherlands comprising mainly small and medium sized companies would visit India later next month to engage with their Indian counterparts.

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Landelijke India Werkgroep - October 30, 2007