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ASCEND: Kerala’s Healthcare Merit Boost; Industries & Logistics Need Closer Link

In Business
January 10, 2020


Improved health indices apart, Kerala needs to continue its fight against malignant diseases such as cancer amid a surge in lifestyle diseases brought about by modern-day physical comforts and mental stress, ASCEND 2020 Global Investors Meet noted today.

K K Shailaja, Minister for Health, Social Justice and Child Development, said at the session on ‘Projects on Life Sciences, Healthcare and Ayurveda’ that infant mortality has gone down from 12 out of 1,000 in 2016 to 8 out of 1,000 now. Similarly, Kerala’s maternal mortality rate has slipped from 70 to 46 (out of one lakh), she added. Further, the state could contain the dreaded Nipah virus within a considerably short time last year.

All the same, non-communicable diseases like diabetes and high blood-pressure are on the rise in Kerala. “We need to invent more effective medicines at a time medical science is advancing leaps and bounds. Researchers must come out with stronger and quicker studies that are worth implementing,” the minister said.

Another high-profile panel discussion on the first evening of the two-day event went in depth about logistics and MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises), concluding that the two sectors shared a critical link that needed to be nourished jointly in Kerala.

Speaking at a session on ‘Projects on Industrial Parks, Logistics and MSMEs’, Industries Minister E P Jayarajan said Kerala had seen the emergence of 55,026 MSMEs in the past four years, taking their total to 1,31,925 at present.

“MSMEs form close to 70 per cent of the state’s industry; so, they require special care. All the same, the distribution of their products is also of equal importance; thus, we need a strong logistics industry as well,” the minister pointed out. “It is thus that this government has accorded priority to transportation of the goods. That’s how we have an Industries and Commerce Department these days.”

The panel discussion at the session had Kochi Metro Rail Limited MD Alkesh Kumar Sharma as the moderator, with Ranjit Ray (FTWZ’S DP World Subcontinent), K Jayakrishnan (KPMG), Deepak L Aswani (FICCI) and M Khali (Kerala State Small Industries Association) as speakers. Dr K Ellangovan, Principal Secretary, Industries and NORKA, made the closing remarks.

The panel discussion at Minister Shailaja’s session was moderated by KSIDC Chairman Dr Christy Fernandez, with Dr Mulchand S Patel (University of New York), Dr C N Ramchand (Saksin Lifesciences), Sam Santhosh (MedGenome Labs), Rajiv Vasudevan (AyurVAID Hospitals) and Pushpa Vijayaraghavan (Sadguru HealthSciences). The closing remarks were made by Dr Rajan N Khobragade, Principal Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Government of Kerala.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated ASCEND 2020 that aims to further reform ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in Kerala. The state Department of Industries is organising the mega event.