Kerala’s ASCEND 2020 Brings Rs 1 lakh-crore Investment: CM Vijayan

Kerala sees fresh investment of Rs 1 lakh-crores going by entrepreneur feedback at ASCEND 2020 Global Investors Meet, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan revealed today at the conclusion of the event held with the aim of lending pace to ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the state.

Of the amount, Rs 98,708 crores comes in as direct promise during the two days of ASCEND, while there are “a couple of entrepreneurs whom we happened to miss” at the event but have expressed their willingness to invest, the Chief Minister said amid cheers at the Lulu Bolgatty International Convention Centre.

Overall, the just-concluded event received 164 investment proposals. Across the sessions at ASCEND 2020 came in such promises worth Rs 32,008 crores and, towards the end, the Kerala Infrastructure Management Ltd vowed Rs 8,110 crores, while the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority promised investments of Rs 66,900 crores.

The government plans to meet the prospective investors individually. A team led by Principal Secretary (Industries) Dr K Ellangovan has been entrusted with this task, the CM said.

The government will seriously consider complaints against top officers who are indifferent or negative in their response to industrial investments, Vijayan said, adding a meeting will be convened to sort out the matter by facilitating interaction between top bureaucrats and representatives of the investment community.

There would not be any intermediaries between prospective entrepreneurs looking for investment in Kerala and the authorities, Vijayan said. “One can apply directly at several levels starting from the village office to the CMO,” he added.

Noting that the government will accord priority to completing the projects proposed in ASCEND 2020, Vijayan said the government needed skilled labour across sectors. “We are in talks with various universities to improve the standards of Kerala’s courses in skills,” he added.

The government will pay special consideration to the investment proposals from MSMEs at the ASCEND, while care will be taken to desist from projects that have a negative ecological impact. The government has convened a meeting on January 21 of local administration presidents and secretaries, the Chief Minister said.

Odisha Minister of State (Independent Charge) IT, Sports and Youth Services Tusharkanti Behera, who was the chief guest at the valedictory session, said his state was looking forward to stronger cooperation with Kerala in sectors such as information technology.

The other speakers included Industries Minister E P Jayaran, Ports Minister Ramachandran Kadannappally, Chief Secretary Tom Jose, industrialists M A Yusuff Ali, Ravi Pillai, Principal Secretary (Industries) Dr K Ellangovan and Industries Department Director K Biju.

Organised by the state’s Department of Industries, ASCEND 2020 featured nine sessions including six panel discussions. Inaugurated by the Chief Minister, it saw 100-odd projects, ratified by KPMG as viable, presented across sectors such as petrochemicals, agro and food-processing, defence, life sciences, aeropolis, tourism and hospitality, ports and harbour, fisheries, infrastructure, mobility development, logistics and electronic hardware.


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