Bengaluru, July 20: The Government of Kerala today once more
signalled its willingness to go the extra mile to make the state a preferred investment destination through policy initiatives and ground-level support.
A slew of measures designed to facilitate investment and foster trade and business partnerships were outlined by senior government officials at a Business Meet organised here in connection with the Emerging Kerala 2012 Global Connect that the state is hosting in September.
Shri. K M Chandrasekhar, Vice Chairman Kerala State Planning Board and former Cabinet Secretary, said simplifying procedures is a priority for the government and it will be done with the active participation and assistance of the industry.
“We want people in the industry to tell us where things go wrong and what the points of delay are, because they are best placed to do so. This will help make us the necessary corrections before the event,” he said.
Shri. Chandrasekhar detailed the areas that the state was focusing on in the run up to the Emerging Kerala summit and beyond – power, land, skills development and increasing the acceptability of public private partnership, among them.
He also reiterated the Government’s commitment to ensuring that all development is sustainable and environment-conscious. “We are very proud of our unique ecology and we will not allow it to be destroyed.”
Shri. V. Somasundaran, Additional Chief Secretary, Industries and Commerce, pointed out that the Government has decided to fast-track viable projects coming up in the event by giving clearance within a period of 90 days. A Cabinet subcommittee has been specially authorised for the purpose.
“We also have a Single Window Clearance mechanism which will be available online for entrepreneurs and companies to secure clearance quickly and in a transparent manner,” he said.
Kerala is also keen to highlight the fact that the summit is not simply a one-shot investors’ meet or an MoU-signing exercise.
“Emerging Kerala will not be a one-off event. We will have a permanent Secretariat in place to deal with projects and proposals that come up during the event and take them forward,” Shri. Somasundaran said.
“This event is a platform to showcase Kerala, for cross-fertilisation of ideas and for B2B relations to be built. We want Emerging Kerala to be a business-led event, an opportunity for them develop what we need for the state and to strike deals. And our aim is to put this event on the national and international calendar,” Shri. Chandrasekharan added.
Shri. Alkesh Sharma, Secretary, Industries-Investment Promotion and Managing Director, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) made a detailed presentation on Emerging Kerala, and on the facilities and opportunities that are available for investors.
For the IT industry, he highlighted attractions including state-of-the-art technology parks extending from the north to the south of the state providing a plug-and-play environment, two international cable landings, unmatched data and telecom connectivity, low operational costs and a talent pool of young and driven professionals.
Some very innovative scientific and technical projects offering opportunities for collaboration were outlined by Prof. V.N Rajasekharan Pillai, Ex-officio Principal Secretary, Department of Science and Technology and Executive Vice President Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE).
Among them were water purification technologies, efforts to take traditional sectors such as coir, cashew and handloom to industrial scale and research on natural plant products.
“We would like pharma companies to identify unique molecules through isolation and purification of these medicinal plants. Such efforts will lead to global-level breakthroughs, at the same time fostering a non-polluting, eco-friendly industry,” he said.
Prof. Pillai also pointed out that one of the major initiatives being undertaken by the Kerala government is the scientific validation of Ayurvedic products and the clinical validaton of Ayurvedic practices, for which partnerships are being sought.
Industralists Shri. V.K. Mathews, Executive Chairman of the IBS Group and Shri. Jose Dominic, managing Director of CGH Earth and Shri Abraham Chacko, Executive Director, Federal Bank, shared their experience of doing business and working in Kerala.
A cross-section of leading industry and business leaders and representatives of trade commissions in the city attended the meet today.
Other senior Kerala officials present at the meet included Shri. Madhavan Nambiar, Former Secretary to Government of India, Civil Aviation Department, and Vice Chairman Emerging Kerala Organising Committee; Shri. T Balakrishnan, MD, Inkel; Shri. Tom Jose, Principal Secretary, Transport, and Managing Director, Kochi Metro Rail Corporation; Shri. Rajeev Sadanandan, Principal Secretary, Health; Shri. Suman Billa, Secretary of Tourism; Shri. B Ashok, Director, Industries and Commerce; and Shri. G. Vijayaraghavan, Member, Kerala State Planning Board.
The high-profile Emerging Kerala 2012 will be inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. Dignitaries including Union Ministers, top Government of India officials, industrialists, entrepreneurs, foreign trade representatives, policymakers, economists and other scholars are taking part in the global summit.
The Emerging Kerala campaign which was launched with a meeting in Delhi in April with diplomats and business heads followed by another road show in Mumbai in May, has already generated huge interest among investors in India and abroad.