Prime Minister, Dr.
Manmohan Singh, inaugurated the event ‘Emerging Kerala-2012–Global
Connect’ in Kochi today. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s
address on the occasion:
“I am delighted to be once again in this beautiful state of Kerala. The
State festival of Onam has just passed and I wish all Keralites, both
resident and non-resident, happiness and sustained prosperity in the
coming year. Before I proceed further, let me extend a very warm welcome
to our foreign dignitaries: members of the diplomatic community, and
other distinguished participants from all parts of the world, who are
present with us today.
I compliment my friend, the Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Oommen Chandy
and the Government of Kerala, the CII and NASSCOM for organizing this
mega event Emerging Kerala 2012- Global Connect. I am particularly 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 various walks of life every two years to find ways and means and
explore new pathways to make Kerala a power-house of sustained economic
and social development.
This confluence of talent, expertise and experience could result in
valuable strategic alliances with the potential to open up new and
innovative avenues for fulfilling the aspirations of the people. It
could lead to new partnerships that could help in building local
capacities boosting local employment, adding value to local production
and enhancing exports, thereby assisting the State in unleashing the
vast latent potential of this creative state of Kerala. I wish this
event all success for this year and also for the coming years.
In many ways Kerala is unique among the States of India. Its social and
human development indicators are at par with many developed countries.
It has abundant natural resources. Its human resources are of a very
high quality. Because of its breathtaking natural beauty, rich culture
heritage, magnificent cuisine and warm and friendly people, Kerala has
carved a niche for itself in the world of tourism, attracting lakhs of
domestic and international tourists every year.
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 investment into the State.
I am sure that initiatives like the present one would help in building a
climate favourable to entrepreneurship in this process.
The people of this wonderful State are adventurous, known to go where
opportunity lies to find employment, set up new enterprises and discover
new frontiers. Long before globalization became a buzz-word, Kerala was
connected to the rest of the world. A rich history of spice trade gave
this beautiful State a global orientation many centuries back, even
before Vasco-da-Gama landed off the coast of Kozhikode in 1498.
More than 2 million Keralites work outside India, in the Gulf countries
and elsewhere. Remittances from Non-resident Keralites contribute
significantly to the State’s economy. This constitutes more than 22% of
the GDP of the State. The contribution of the Non Resident Keralites can
perhaps be said to be the backbone of the economy of Kerala and has been
so for the last four decades.
It is therefore heartening to know that the Non Resident Keralites are
now making investments in the State in projects like hotels, hospitals
and shopping complexes thereby helping to create physical and social
infrastructure and new employment opportunities for the people living in
We need to build an enabling environment to facilitate such investment
in every possible way and I am very pleased to hear the Honourable Chief
Minister promise that that is precisely what he is determined to do. And
I hope that this conference would find new pathways of doing so.
Our Government is committed to helping and adding to the initiatives of
the State government for building an improved industrial infrastructure
in the State. Tomorrow I will be laying the foundation stone for the
Kochi Metro Rail Project for linking Aluva to Petta. Our Government has
approved the project at a cost of over Rs. 5100 crore. When this project
is completed, it would transform the face of the commercial capital of
the State by easing the burden of traffic congestion.
During my visit to the State in February, 2011, I inaugurated the
country’s first International Container Trans-shipment Terminal at
Vallarpadam; and the International Terminal Building at the
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. The terminal at Vallarpadam
has been planned to make Kochi one of the major trans-shipment points of
the world, transforming it into an economic and logistical hub. There
were some issues relating to the operationalization of this terminal on
account of cabotage and customs operations. These issues have now been
resolved. The Union Cabinet has recently decided to relax the cabotage
restrictions particularly for Vallarpadam. I am now confident that our
vision for this historic port will materialize soon and a major portion
of India’s container traffic would flow through this port.
There are several other projects that our UPA government has approved
for Kerala in the last few years. I inaugurated the Indian Naval Academy
at Ezhimala in 2009. The Brahmos Aerospace, Thiruvananthapuram was
commissioned in 2007. A Rail Coach Factory has been announced for
Palakkad. A mega central sector project for setting up of Liquid Natural
Gas Regasification Terminal at Puthuvypeen in Cochin Post Trust is under
implementation. When commissioned, it will improve the availability of
natural gas for power, fisheries, and food processing industries in the
The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and the
Indian Institute of Space Technology, which our UPA government has set
up, are shaping into institutions of excellence. We have also set up the
Central University in Kasargod. The demand for establishing an IIT in
this state is under serious consideration of our Government.
The UPA government has encouraged and actively supported the efforts of
Kerala to grow into a major investment hub. We will continue to do so.
We would like the State to embark on a path of people-focused inclusive
and sustainable development, driven by knowledge and innovation, and
mindful of the environmental concerns.
Labour intensive light manufacturing has a strong comparative advantage
in this State and all assistance needs to be given to the small and
micro business enterprises. I appreciate that the State government under
the distinguished leadership of Shri Oomen Chandy is fully alive to the
need for rapidly building up infrastructure, which is so essential for
rapid industrial growth.
I would urge the State government to derive maximum possible benefit
from initiatives of the Central Government especially the National Skill
Development Mission. This would go a long way in tapping the energies of
Kerala`s educated manpower.
I have no doubt in my mind that Kerala will be able to capitalize on its
immense resources to emerge stronger as an important investment
destination in our country. I wish the State government and its people
all success in their endeavours for building a modern, industrialised
and prosperous Kerala. With these words, I have great pleasure in
inaugurating the ‘Emerging Kerala-2012-Global Connect’.
Thank you. Jai Hind.”