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Bangalore has pipped Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi to the post to get the country's first special NRI city. The government is setting up a special economic zone for overseas Indians in Karnataka soon.

"This is a big project under the overseas Indians ministry and we have already tied up investment from NRIs and PIOs worth $2.5bn

The economic zone will function as an NRI city within the city of Bangalore and the effort will be to attract investments in various areas like housing complexes, educational institutions, malls, infrastructure facilities, hotels and motels, IT and ITES units .

"We are also in talks with other state governments like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh for such NRI cities. The ministry and state governments will ensure that the NRIs setting up shop in these cities get single window clearance for their projects, and we hope to attract investments up to $14-15m annually through them," Mr Tytler said.

The new ministry has also decided to shift the third Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to Mumbai and is looking at various venues in the city to host the annual event for NRIs and PIOs in January '05.

"The event this time will be focused essentially on business and solving the problems that overseas Indians face in that area. We will also use the occasion to recognise the huge contribution of the human resources pool of global Indians towards the economic growth of India," Tytler said.

The NRI ministry will set up a special information and redressal cell to tackle the problems faced by those who marry NRIs and are then abandoned.

"This is a serious social issue and we have faced complaints from at least 10,000 young women from various states across the country and will seek the help of the ministry of external affairs as well to solve their problems," the minister said.

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