The ‘Emerging Kerala 2012’ investors’ meet opened here with much fanfare on Wednesday but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh failed to set the state’s investment climate afire with excitement. While inaugurating the mega meet, Singh made no new investment offers to Kerala except stating that “the demand for establishing an IIT in the state is under serious consideration” of the Centre.
In his speech for about 14 minutes, the Prime Minister made not even a single investment proposal other than saying that “the Centre is committed to helping the initiatives of the state government for building an improved industrial infrastructure in Kerala”.
Viewed against the 2003 GIM experience, where an enthusiastic A B Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister, offered investments worth Rs 10,000 crore for Kerala, ‘Emerging Kerala’ had a disappointing start.
The state needs to build an enabling environment to facilitate investments in every possible way, the Prime Minister said. He also urged the state government to derive maximum possible benefit from central initiatives, especially the National Skill Development Mission. It would go a long way in tapping the energies of Kerala’s educated manpower, he said.
He said that once the Kochi Metro Rail is completed, it would transform the face of the commercial capital of the state. “The Vallarpadam terminal has been planned to make Kochi one of the major transshipment points of the world, transforming it into an economic and logistical hub. There were some issues relating to the operationalisation of this terminal on account of cabotage and customs operations. The issues have now been resolved. I’m confident that a major portion of India’s container traffic would flow through this port,” he said.
When commissioned, the Liquid Natural Gas Regasification Terminal at Puthuvypeen will improve the availability of natural gas for power, fisheries and food processing industries in the state. The UPA Government will continue to encourage and actively support the efforts of Kerala to grow into a major investment hub.
“We would like the state to embark on a path of people-focused inclusive and sustainable development, driven by knowledge and innovation, mindful of the environmental concerns. Labour intensive light manufacturing has a strong comparative advantage in the state. All assistance needs to be given to the small and micro business enterprises,” the PM said.
Over 2000 delegates from 51 countries are taking part in the three-day meet.
CM Oommen Chandy presided over the function. Governor H R Bharadwaj, Union Ministers A K Antony, Vayalar Ravi, K V Thomas, Mullappally Ramachandran, E Ahmed, State Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty and Finance Minister K M Mani also attended.