Kochi is going to witness a mega event ‘Emerging Kerala 2012’ scheduled to be held from September 12 to 14 at Le Meredien Convention Centre, Kochi.
The Prime Minister will inaugurate the three-day event as part of the Government initiative to project Kerala as the best investment destination.
The organisers will have to answer many questions about mega project requests when they shoot invitation in the backdrop of a volatile world economy.
The volatility is a reality which prevents huge investment projects to get started due to delayed return on investments. The non- revenue generation period is also very risky.
So a focus shift on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) can address the issue of uncertainty. Realization of smaller projects is an easy way for inclusive growth and clearance. A serious effort is required to bring power, infrastructure, information technology and biotechnology to the purview of MSME to have a presence spread across Kerala.
Land acquisition is a major block for developmental projects. Our State is the worst hit in acquiring land for projects. Hurdles are huge even for minor project proposals where the opposition of the native plays spoil sport.
The determination shown in cases like Moolampilly is welcome, but to find amicable solution for conflicting interests is challenging.
MSME requires only smaller infrastructures compared to big budget projects. When our Gross Domestic Product is showing a dismal performance, sustainable employment creation is the need of the hour.
To suit this environment a focus on smaller projects can help address the growth issues. So unemployment can be addressed seriously if we encourage and develop a sustainable economy for our state. We need to move beyond IT and tourism to smaller cities for encouraging investment by providing enhanced infrastructure for the entrepreneurs.
Recently road shows have become a platform for inviting potential entrepreneurs from outside the state and aboard.
The Chief Minister made a lightning visit to Mumbai to showcase the state during the second week of May. Road shows in Europe are not going to fetch anything substantial. But Far East countries can become potential partners in our projects.
The dynamic bureaucrats in CMs office have to put extra effort for showcasing the state for mega and smaller projects.
The young generation legislators who always stood solidly behind the Chief Minister in innovation can play a crucial role for debating Kochi event in all forums. Seminars, discussions, conferences with the help of chambers of industry, commerce and academia across the state can be made the space for awareness creation.
Major infrastructure projects which need support include high-speed rail corridor connecting Mangalore and Trivandrum, Kannur international airport project, mono rail for Trivandrum and Calicut, Kochi-Palakkad National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) and Kochi Metro.
Karnataka Govt. Organised Global Investors Meet on June 8 and 9 in Bangalore to showcase their potential. They claimed that it is a continuation of GIM2010, which laid a strong foundation for 2012 event.
If figures can be believed they received investment proposals worth Rs 7.6 lakh crore with the potential to offer 15 lakh jobs. In addition, Rs 1.68 lakh crore was received as registration of interest for infrastructure sector. A total of 730 Memorandums of Understanding were signed during the meet. The state leadership has assured the business community that all MoUs signed at the event will be taken to their logical end.
When we take the feedback from previous GIM of Karnataka Government, 389 MoUs worth Rs 3.91 lakh crore were signed in 2010. Of them, 72 per cent are in various stages of implementation, a growth of almost 100 percent in two years.
The 2003 GIM of Kerala has managed to send a clear message to the world that we have changed and will do everything possible to be an investment-friendly state. But the change of Government failed to pick up the momentum generated in 2003. Smart City project developed during the last UDF Government was in the cold storage for 5 long years. But now it has given hopes for revival.
Delay in implementation of a project increases costs. A project delayed is a project denied. We do not have much claim in continuation from the previous meets. All hopes are on the vibrant Kerala CM’s mechanism and his initiatives. Let us hope a trend-setter will emerge after the Kochi event.
(The writer is Management Faculty Member, Kannur University MBA Campus. The views in the article are the writer’s own.)