Ernakulam looks to reap benefit under P Rajeeve

Kerala had signed an expression of interest (EoI) with Toshiba Group for technology transfer and manufacturing of Li-ion (Lithium-ion) batteries for electric vehicles in 2019. 

Published: 21st May 2021 06:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st May 2021 06:51 AM   |  A+A-

P Rajeeve taking oath as minister from Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Thursday 

By Express News Service

KOCHI: New industries minister lone representative from dist in Pinarayi 2.0; several projects awaiting his attention. Improving Kerala’s ranking from current 28th position in ‘ease of doing business’ to be his biggest challenge

As P Rajeeve, the new industries minister, assumed office on Thursday, Ernakulam district is expected to reap rich dividends not just because he’s the only representative from the district in the Pinarayi 2.0 cabinet, but also because the district is the state’s commercial capital with many big pending projects awaiting his attention. 

The first Pinarayi Vijayan-led government saw several loss-making public sector undertakings (PSUs) turning around to report profits, and the new industries minister is expected to further streamline the functioning of the state PSUs, putting them on the path of modernisation. 

A slew of projects, including the Petrochemical Park on about 500 acres of land in Ambalamugal and another for pharmaceutical industries adjacent to the plot, the revival of the industrial belt on the Eloor-Edayar stretch and the KINFRA Export Promotion Industrial Park at Kakkanad are awaiting Rajeeve’s immediate attention.

“In the first Pinarayi government’s term, Industries Minister E P Jayarajan did a commendable job in making the investment climate conducive. Rajeeve now has to take this forward. Ernakulam, being the industrial capital of the state capital, will be the biggest beneficiary,” said a Kochi-based businessman, who did not wish to be named. 

Kerala had signed an expression of interest (EoI) with Toshiba Group for technology transfer and manufacturing of Li-ion (Lithium-ion) batteries for electric vehicles in 2019. The new industries minister is expected to take the project forward, which will mark the Japanese multinational conglomerate’s second entry into the state. 

The biggest challenge, however, for Rajeeve would be to improve the state’s ranking in the ease of doing business index. Kerala was ranked 28th among states in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking for 2019. The state’s ranking has been consistently dropping from 18th position in 2015-16.  

“To attract investments to the state, ease of doing business has to improve. This will be a big challenge for Rajeeve,” said an official at an industry chamber. The first Pinarayi government had banned the notorious ‘nokkukooli’ effective from May 1, 2018. 

However, the practice, in which trade unions claim monopoly for supplying labourers in some sectors, still exists in one form or other. Though this comes directly under the Labour department, officials expect a direct intervention from the new industries minister to attract investments.


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