'Emerging Kerala' attracts investors from Gulf region |
Khaleej Times - 13 July, 2012
Kerala is set to roll out the red carpet to potential investors from the Gulf in September at one of the biggest investment branding exercises the South Indian state has ever undertaken as part of a major all-round growth drive initiated by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, a senior government official said.
The first “Emerging Kerala” investment meet, to be held from September 12 to 14, 2012, in Kochi, will provide entrepreneurs an opportunity to explore, invest and establish their business interests in a state with a pro-active administration and investment-friendly policies, said V. Somasundaram, the state’s additional chief secretary (Industries).
Speaking at an investor meeting hosted by the Indian Business & Professional Council in Dubai, Somasundaram, who was leading a delegation from Kerala to showcase the event to investors across the Gulf, said the state offers unique opportunities in tourism, medicine, healthcare, software, hardware, garments, chemicals and many other growth-oriented sectors. “With a pro-active administration and investment-friendly policies, Emerging Kerala will offer a key gateway to investors to make their mark on the industrial map of Kerala,” he said.
He said the aim of the event was to make Kerala a premier global hub of economic activity through fostering entrepreneurship and industry, which could leverage its inherent strengths.
Kerala has impressive socio-development indicators including high literacy, high life expectancy, low infant mortality, high degree of women empowerment and above all enormous human resource potential.
A series of mega infrastructure projects in the pipeline includes High Speed Rail Corridor connecting north and south Kerala, Kochi Metro Rail, Thiruvananthapuram Mono Rail and Kannur international airport, said Somasundaram.
Sanjay Verma, consul general of India in Dubai, said Kerala, along with most other states, has been playing a significant role in driving India’s exponential growth. “Things are indeed changing for the better for India. Some years ago, nobody would have hazarded even a remote guess that India would achieve such admirable growth,” he said.
Bharat Butaney, president of IBPC, said Emerging Kerala has been undertaken with a mission to transform the industrial and socio-economic scenario of the state boasting one of the highest literacy rates.
He said the main focus of the event was to showcase the myriad investment opportunities by projecting the state as an investment-friendly destination. “With the positive, ‘no red tape’ approach adopted by its dynamic Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Kerala will indeed be an investment haven worthy of serious consideration for progressive investors,” said Butaney.
Siddharth Balachandran, managing director Bumga Group of Companies, and Lalu Samuel, Chairman of Kingston Holdings, both with good investment track records in the state, outlined their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges Kerala has on offer to investors. Alkesh Kumar Sharma, managing director of Kerala state Industrial Development Corporation, outlined the key features of Emerging Kerala and the proactive infrastructure initiatives being undertaken by the government to turn ‘God’s Own Country’ into ‘Investor’s Own Destination.
Sharma said the branding exercise was aimed at stimulating growth through enabling policies and to facilitate an environment for investment.
Easing regulatory procedures for investors will be top on the priority list for the government, he said. The state’s Single Window Clearance system for speeding up approval of industrial projects is going online and growth-inhibiting legislations getting amended.
The government has constituted a state-level committee to look into each new project and approve special facilitation, incentives and concessions. For large and medium scale projects, the State Board is expected to issue clearance within 45 days, speeding up the process considerably, he explained.