Seeking to woo business leaders, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Tuesday said his state has the right ingredients to invest and nurture business, and underlined factors such as skilled manpower, low employee attrition rate and a large consumer market in support of his contention.
Chandy was addressing a gathering here of top business and corporate honchos besides heads of trade missions from abroad.
Kerala offers many advantages as an investment destination, including a transparent and responsive administration, high literacy rate, skilled manpower, low employee attrition rate, a consumer market of over 33 million people, top class infrastructure, and proximity to international air and sea routes, he said.
Chandy and his key ministers -- Industries Minister PK Kunhalikutty and Finance Minister KM Mani -- had earlier met top business leaders and overseas diplomats in New Delhi on April 20, signalling the launch of a six-month-long build-up to one of the biggest investment branding exercises the state has ever undertaken.
Tuesday's meeting, organised in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), was part of a string of national and international road shows the Kerala government has planned in connection with its ambitious "Emerging Kerala-2012', which will be held at Kochi Sep 12-14.
The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) is the nodal agency for the summit, which is intended as a biennial event.
Addressing the conclave, Kunhalikutty said the state has a clear development agenda. "The government gives top priority to PPP (public private partnership) in the proposed mega projects, and it will facilitate land and other statutory clearances for these projects. We are laying more emphasis on industrial infrastructure at par with the global standards," he said.
The industries minister said Kerala would promote private investments and foreign direct investments (FDIs) for development of world-class infrastructure. He said a new special economic zone (SEZ) policy was being finalised in line with the existing policy of Government of India.
Mani, on the other hand, said, "Collaborative efforts are needed to industrialise Kerala". He assured industry leaders that land acquisition would not be a problem.
The meeting was attended by representatives of a number of companies from both the public and private sectors, including Reliance Industries ltd, Hinduja Group, SBI Epital Markets ltd, Tata International ltd, Kotak Mahindra Capital, Mahindra and Mahindra, JP Morgan, BPCL, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, Marico India ltd, Johnson & Johnson ltd, iGATE and Hirco Developments Pvt ltd.
The conclave also saw the presence of representatives from US Asia Business Forum, Consulate General of Argentina, Consulate General of Canada, Mexican Trade Commission (ProMexico), Export Import Bank of India, Yes Bank Ltd, IndusInd Bank Ltd, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd and KPMG, among others.
Leading entrepreneurs from Kerala like BK Patodia, Chairman and Managing Director, GTN Textiles; Sanjaya Mariwala, Managing Director, Kancor Ingredients Ltd; and Navas Meeran, Chairman, Eastern Group, also shared their success stories.
Showing faith in Kerala's business-friendly environment, a representative from Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) announced that it would set up a second training centre for 10,000 students in the state.