Speakers at ASCEND Highlight Kerala’s Investment Reforms, Need for Innovation

KOCHI:
Along with political stability and law and order, Kerala needs stronger, skilled labour, industry-friendliness and innovation boost-up — all of which are on a reform mode, ASCEND 2020 Global Investors Meet noted today.

A plenary session on ‘Doing Business in Kerala — Key Enablers for Industrial Reforms’, the first at the two-day event, also highlighted the role of MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises), industrial parks and single-window facility in making the state a fast-developing hub for entrepreneurs.

Dr K Ellangovan, Principal Secretary (Industries & NORKA), Government of Kerala, spoke at length about K-SWIFT (Kerala’s single window interface for fast, transparent clearances), while highlighting its salient points. Launched a year ago to position the state as an investment hotspot, the initiative also aims at boosting the Rebuild Kerala mission.

Taking ‘land’ as an instance in his presentation on ‘Kerala — Towards an Investment-Friendly Destination’, Dr Ellangovan pointed out that the cost of this high-priced natural asset is now being calculated on the basis of indicative value. “While the lock-in period for its transfer is now brought down to three years from the earlier five years, the lock-in for activity change has been cut to six months from five years,” he added.

Sanjay Garg, Principal Secretary (Industries and Commerce), said Kerala has of late been a haven for MSMEs, which produce almost a third of the country’s industrial products and nearly half of the exports.

Terming the state’s recent growth in MSMEs as “phenomenal”, he said Kerala had seen the emergence of 55,026 medium and small-scale enterprises since 2016, taking their current total to 1,31,925. Of them the top units are in the sectors of agro, textiles and general engineering.

The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) Managing Director M G Rajamanickam, speaking on ‘Single-Window Facility and Support to Investors’, threw light on a couple of recent amendments made to secure licences quicker and smoother.

KINFRA Managing Director Santhosh Koshy Thomas highlighted the role of the industrial infrastructure development corporation, which had 7,000 cents of land bank along with 700 units and provide direct employment to 20,000 people. Having provided an investment of Rs 1,750 crore, the 1993-founded KINFRA is now readying to realise 24 well-defined industrial parks.

“We have identified 20 core-competency areas,” he revealed. “What’s more, we have a clutch of attractive schemes to woo prospective investors.”

K Biju, Director (Industries and Commerce) under the state government, listed five key corporations functioning under the department, and exhorted prospective investors to explore their role in quickening the state’s economic progress.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated ASCEND 2020 that showcases 100-plus projects which international consultancy KPMG has rated as feasible. ASCEND 2020 runs from January 9 to 10.

Iscea

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