In the next three days, the State will parade its investment opportunities before the world

The countdown is over, and Kerala is ready for take-off.

In the next three days, starting Wednesday, Kerala will parade its investment opportunities before the world as part of its vision to make the State a “global hub of economic activity”.

The Emerging Kerala summit will attempt to project Kerala as an 'investor friendly destination' and showcase the potential and opportunities in various sectors.

The three-day event, billed as a brainstorming exercise, is expected to spawn ideas and strategies to fuel state’s growth. Unlike Global Investors Meet, Emerging Kerala is not a one-off investors' meet. It is a sustained campaign to showcase the strengths and potential of Kerala, both in terms of growth and investment.

Big shots are in town

More than 2,500 delegates from 52 countries are scheduled to attend the summit being kicked off by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Hotel Le Meridien in Kochi. These include leaders from India and abroad, business and corporate honchos, ministers, policymakers, scholars, business and trade delegations, diplomatic missions.

Foreign delegations representing over 50 nations from around the world, including Ambassadors of the League of Arab States representing 21 countries; Ambassadors from GRULAC representing 16 nations, Ambassadors of United Arab Emirates, Poland and Turkey as well as High Commissioners of Australia, Brunei and Mauritius have confirmed their participation.

The biggest trade contingent flying to Kochi is from Canada and the UK (45 members each), China (23), the US (15), Japan (12) and Germany (5).

Emerging Kerala will have business-to-business meetings, round tables at which both Union and State ministers would participate, meetings with other country delegations and foreign trade missions, country and sectoral sessions.

What’s hot

Twenty-six sectors have been underlined as having high growth and investment potential. The core sectors include Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled services (ITeS); tourism and medical tourism; healthcare; food and agro processing; knowledge and education; ports, shipbuilding and logistics; energy, including green energy; biotechnology, nanotechnology and other sunrise sectors; financial services and infrastructure development.

Sustainable development and environment-friendly technologies form the core of the government's long-term growth strategy, and all plans and projects being showcased will reinforce this vision, says Minister for Industries P.K. Kunhalikutty. “We will ensure that industrial and economic development does not come at the expense of environment,” he says.

A host of mega projects, particularly in the infrastructure sector, has been given the highest priority. A high-speed rail corridor connecting Thiruvananthapuram and Mangalore (Rs. 1,18,000 crore), mono rails at Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode (Rs. 5,000 crore), Gas-based power plants (Rs. 8,000 crore), Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport (Rs. 3,000 crore) are some of the projects to be showcased in the next three days.

The hulk among the pack of mega projects lined up for the investors’ meet will be the Kochi-Palakkad National Investment and Manufacturing Zone. The Rs. 53,825-crore mega industrial infrastructure project will be executed on a Public-Private partnership basis. The project is estimated to give job to over five lakh people over five years and indirect employment to 25 lakh people in 10 years.

Kerala, which pioneered an IT revolution in the country with the setting up of Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram in 1992, is all set to experiment the third wave of IT revolution with the Rural IT Parks. “Kerala is going to be the ideal platform to experiment this third wave of IT revolution,” says Principal Secretary for IT, P. H. Kurian.

“IT is still one of the rising sectors for the State, contributing more than Rs 3,500 crore in export revenue. It is growing at a rapid pace,” he says.

A slew of IT-related projects, including rural IT parks in Kollam, Alappuzha and Thrissur districts will be showcased at Kochi. It has been found that 53 per cent of Kerala techies hail from rural pockets.

Tourism, identified as one of the key sectors to bust mounting unemployment, is also high on the agenda. Armed with the hassle-free clearance to investors, Kerala tourism is looking for foreign investments.

The modern hotel at the EduHealth City at Panakkad, adventure sports arena at Vagamon, a Mist Valley Resort and Spa and a Spice Valley Resort in Idukki are some of the other major projects.

An underwater aquarium at Arookutty in Alappuzha, a marine leisure island at Dharmadom in Kannur and a botanical garden and forest lodge at Nelliampathy in Palakkad also figure in the list.

Keywords: Emerging Kerala

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