‘Make Kerala a powerhouse of economic development’

Triggering the hope for a flow of investments into Kerala, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday launched the Emerging Kerala investors’ meet, which he termed as ‘a confluence of talent, expertise, and experience.’

Addressing an audience that included senior business people, technocrats, and delegates from abroad, Dr. Singh said the event would ‘result in strategic alliances with the potential to open up new and innovative avenues.’

The three-day event, organised by the Kerala government in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), is aimed at showcasing Kerala’s investment potential, especially in information technology (IT), tourism, and infrastructure, to investors from India and abroad. Of the 1,800-plus delegates at the event, nearly a third was from outside Kerala. There were some 50 diplomatic personnel, including the U.S. Ambassador, the British High Commissioner, and a Chinese vice-minister.

Strong points

Referring to Kerala’s strong points, Dr. Singh said: “These strengths, along with the Chief Minister’s commitment to give a clean, transparent and effective administration to the people, should be leveraged, and leveraged optimally, to attract investments into the State.” The event could lead to partnerships that could help in building local capacities and unleash Kerala’s latent potential.

“I am happy that this is not a one-off event, but the beginning of a process which would bring together government and corporate leaders, heads of regulatory institutions, economists, scholars and eminent men and women from other walks of life every two years to find ways and means to make Kerala a powerhouse of economic development,” Dr. Singh said.

Though there was a general expectation that the Prime Minister would announce a major Central project for Kerala at the opening of Emerging Kerala, it was not to be. The only announcement he could come to was that the long-pending demand for an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) was ‘under serious consideration’ of the Centre.

Opposition political parties stayed way from the event alleging that the United Democratic Front government was selling Kerala’s natural wealth to corporates. Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan had turned down an invitation to speak at the meet.

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