The state government seems to have forgotten to frame its industrial and commercial policy for 2011 that should’ve held sway for the entire 2012. Hence nine months into the current year, what it has in hand is a draft policy that was framed a year ago.
The story is no different in the case of the state’s IT policy and labour policy.
All three policies are critical to potential investors who are expected to flock to the state in the next four days for the ‘Emerging Kerala’ meet.
Though the state government is showcasing around 150 projects from various sectors like IT & ITES, high-end manufacturing, MSME, trade and textiles, the potential investors would grope in the dark as they will have to make to do with mere proposals that are on offer in the draft policies.
Speaking to Express, former Chief Secretary of Kerala C P Nair, while admitting that the event was a welcome step, said poor planning was evident everywhere.
“This lack of proper planning is evident as much in the case of policies as it is in all the controversies. At least six months before the event the government should have come out with a clear cut plan, instead of adopting the rapid-fire styled announcement of projects. Not only state-level but district level discussions and deliberations should have taken place before finalising the event,” he said.
Though most of the top functionaries of trade bodies and bureaucrats that Express spoke to agreed with the former Chief Secretary that it was shoddy planning that led to such a sorry situation, they chose not to go on record.
“Whether it be ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ or ‘Advantage Karnataka’, the investors’ meets were well-planned and the government policies proved to be a major draw to woo investors. But in the case of ‘Emerging Kerala’ even after going for aggressive marketing and holding a number of road shows outside the state and the country, the Kerala Govt has failed to put in place industrial, IT and labour policies. All business houses consider sound policies to be the guarantee for their safe investment in a state,” said one of the top functionaries, a national trade body.
Another business top honcho, who is part of ‘Emerging Kerala’s organising committee, said, “I fully agree that these key policies should have been announced well in advance before the meet. It is a big failure that can be attributed to the absence of proper deliberations among the stakeholders."