Kerala

ASCEND 2020 to present three investment channels

File picture of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurating the investor meet Ascend 2019.

File picture of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurating the investor meet Ascend 2019.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

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Meet to present State as a stage ripe for fresh investments

Three investment channels, including a $250 to $500 million Kerala infrastructure fund, are ready to be presented at ASCEND 2020, an investors’ meet which will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here on Thursday.

The two-day conclave of would-be investors will be an occasion to present Kerala as a stage ripe for fresh investments in areas ranging from defence technology and petrochemicals to food processing and hospitality.

The meet will also be an occasion for the State to present a progress card on improving its business environment since the ease-of-doing business campaign was launched at ASCEND 2019, Industries Department sources said. At least 30 to 40 agreements for fresh investments during the conclave are also expected.

M. Khalid, president of the Kerala State Small Industries’ Association and an invited speaker at ASCEND, expects the conclave to take forward Kerala’s efforts to become more business-friendly. Initiatives like allowing a new industry (involving investment up to ₹10 crore) to begin operations for three years on the basis of self-certification are bold, he said.

Investors’ demand

Chairman and managing director of the Kerala State Industries Development Corporation K. Ellangovan said potential investors sought investment framework and project profiles when the State reached out to them through roadshows ahead of ASCEND. Three investment frameworks would be on the meet menu.

As per the first model, the government would offer land to private companies, who as partners would develop industrial parks or spaces that could be sold or rented out to investors. The second was a special purpose vehicle model in which the State would be a minor partner and the private investor would take control with a major share of investment. This was expected to suit mega projects.

The third investment model was for financing projects. The corpus, on the lines of Indian infrastructure fund, would be an instrument for those with capital to invest. Dr. Ellangovan said the fund would close in March.

A hundred projects in sectors such as petrochemicals, agro and food processing, life sciences, ports and harbour, and fisheries will be showcased. Of these 18 involve investments of ₹100 crore or more, said an official statement.

While the conclave’s focus is on fresh investments, industrialists such as Mr. Khalid feel that those already running enterprises in Kerala should be turned into brand ambassadors for the State. He said the government should also develop vehicles to expedite solution sought by units that were already in operation.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 5:37:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ascend-2020-to-present-three-investment-channels/article30517199.ece

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