PM would actually be flagging off a new phase in the State’s economic development
When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurates ‘Emerging Kerala 2012’ in Kochi on Wednesday, he would actually be flagging off a new phase in the State’s economic development, not to mention the aspirations of millions of Keralites.
Kochi is all decked up to play host to delegates from 52 countries. The presence of as many as 10 Union Ministers, diplomats, leading industrialists, technocrats, and Union and State officials is expected to give a new dimension to the three-day event. There would be four plenary sessions, touching on inclusive and faster growth; the role of public-private partnerships in bridging infrastructure gaps; manufacturing, trade, and services as growth engines for Kerala; and the conservation and preservation of the socio-cultural heritage of the State. There are as many as seven sectoral sessions focused on sectors in which Kerala is perceived to be strong. The three-day event has been structured in such a manner that B2B (business-to-business) and B2G (business-to-government) sessions, interspersed with round-tables, would be held, giving an opportunity for prospective investors to look at the slew of projects prepared by the State government.
The proclaimed objective of the summit is to project the State as investor-friendly, and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his Cabinet colleagues are hopeful that some of the big-ticket discussions would bring a spin-off in terms of valid investments.
No political consensus
The only missing element is the lack of political consensus, with the Opposition Left Democratic Front deciding to stay away from the event terming the objectives of the event dubious. At a different level, the Opposition position is only reflective of the rather narrow differences on the path to be adopted for pushing Kerala’s development. The Chandy Cabinet has gone the extra mile to allay the Opposition’s apprehensions related to utilisation of land and conservation of Kerala’s natural resources, by indicating the direction the government would take after the conclusion of the event.
Emerging Kerala is quite different from the Global Investors Meet (GIM) held in 2003, not only in terms of its objectives, but also in content and emphasis. While GIM was held during an economic boom, Emerging Kerala is being held when the world economy is going through a recession, though there are signs of better times ahead. To that extent, the State government can feel happy at the response the event has received. There are concerns about the type of industry that should be promoted, the procedural delays that are endemic to Kerala, and issues related to availability of quality power, to name a few.
Keywords: Emerging Kerala