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Attack of the drones.

India, Dec. 4 -- A team of senior officials from Andhra Pradesh was here in DC last week to sell their state as an investment destination to US investors and companies.And they showed how blessed India is to have investors queueing up despite all that Indians do to keep them away - a shoddy sales pitch is one of their many tricks.

The delegation came up terribly short, for instance, at a US-India Business Council presentation attended by representatives from leading companies such as GE and International Paper.

The team leader - a senior official - introduced the presentation and ambled off the small stage, and slipped out of the hall.

But he forgot to leave the lapel microphone, which for a while broadcasted in the room a conversation he had initiated on his phone.

A few people smiled, others laughed and the next presenter, who had already launched his piece, gamely continued. That turned out to be the most interesting moment of the afternoon.

The first was a poorly designed slide with pictures of the state's chief minister and the minister leading this delegation, she couldn't make it to the presentation though.

"The honourable chief minister ... and the honourable minister...," the presenter droned. Exciting stuff. And then we went spinning down the tunnel.

One bland slide after another, accompanied by dull and pedantic commentary. This was work, a necessary distraction from the pleasures of a sun-drenched DC afternoon.

But to his credit he kept the numbers in millions and billions and money amounts in dollars. This was not an insignificant achievement considering what the next presenter did.

He also said some of the right things - "uninterrupted power supply", "great roads" and "great airports", "single window clearance" and "low cost of labour".

But could he have made Andhra a little more exciting? Could he not speak about the state's cultural attributes a little, about the delicious food and so much else it has? Ah well, it's just a job.

and then came the next presenter, who promised to be brief but he knew he wasn't going to be keep it. his presentation was on andhra's next big thing: health sector.

Exciting? Sure, but he killed it. The slides were boring, unimaginatively designed and, worst, the numbers were in rupees and lakhs and crores.

He could be speaking Greek for all the audience cared.

He droned on, clicking through a series of slides that made no attempt to sell anything. At one point in the presentation I got the impression he had mixed up his slides, as he kept returning to one on medical tourism.

And he droned on.

The team leader, who had ambled back to the stage by now, bega fidgeting at the health presentation proceeded at a torturously slow pace. But even gave up and asked him to wind up, in a stage whisper loud enough for everyone to hear.

The presentations were finally over, and Andhra survived another onslaught. Investors might still queue up, but that will be only because they can see there things these presenters didn't.

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Date:Dec 4, 2011
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