THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After demonstrating an effective containment strategy, Kerala plans to turn the COVID-19 crisis to its advantage. On the fourth anniversary of his government's formation, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan revealed a slew of measures to woo global investors to the state which he termed the "safest place in the world".
"When the COVID-19 crisis ends, there would be new possibilities and opportunities. The government views this as a chance to attract new investments and ventures," he said.
After the pandemic, he said, there will be a rethink among global businesses on the practice of concentrating in a few countries. Kerala has already started steps to explore the emerging scenario.
The state has sent letters to Indian missions abroad seeking their support to pool in investments. A committee will be formed with the chief secretary as its chairman to advise the government on investment and business matters. Besides government secretaries, it will have representation from trade associations working for cooperation between India and various foreign countries. It will have nominees from foreign companies having presence in the country.
The CM also spoke in detail about the reforms brought in to make Kerala an investment-friendly destination.
The Chief Minister said Kerala was ready to receive its people working in other parts of the country and abroad who want to return in the wake of the pandemic scare. He also hinted about stepping up precautionary measures to prevent community spread owing to the influx of expatriates.
"We will maintain vigilance against the outbreak spreading. For this, we need specific information on returnees or else the spread could be uncontrollable. The state will take sufficient precautionary steps," he said.
The influx of returnees has led to a spike in new cases, he said. Until May 23, 4638 persons reached from other states and 1035 returned from abroad. "The number of new cases shot up to 62 on that day. We had a total of 181 fresh cases in the past four days," he said.
The government will conduct large-scale farming activities and massive planting of saplings simultaneously with COVID-19 control measures. Various development programmes will also resume without waiting for the end of the pandemic.