Bid to tarnish State’s investment image: CM

Pinarayi says facts flew in the face of false propagandists

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that there seems to be a ‘planned move’ to ‘shame and brand’ Kerala as an unfriendly investment destination.

Mr. Vijayan was speaking against the backdrop of Kitex owner Sabu M. Jacob’s national attention-grabbing move to shift his investment from Kerala to Telengana, citing political harassment by the LDF government.

Mr. Vijayan said any attempt to put a stain on Kerala’s investment-friendly image tantamount to trespass against the developmental aspirations of the people. The people had rejected a similar campaign in the past to demonise Kerala as the graveyard of investors. They would do the same in the future.

He said Telengana was well within its rights to attract investment and fete industrialists. Nevertheless, the potentially damaging propaganda that Kerala was hostile to business flew in the face of facts.

Kerala had scored first in the Niti Ayog’s latest sustained development index report.

Industrial development is the primary yardstick of the survey. Kerala stood second in the country in innovation, investment climate and human resources, according to Niti Ayog.

The National Council of Applied Economic Research had rated Kerala first in terms of political stability and business awareness. Kerala saw investment to the tune of ₹6,612 crore in the past five years.

The government has now extended a ₹1,416 crore package to revive the pandemic-hit MSME sector. As many as 70,946 MSMEs set up shops in the State. Land acquisition for the Koch-Bangalore industrial corridor has entered the final phase. Massive infrastructure development projects are in the offing.

The government has passed the Kerala Investment and Facilitation Act, 2018. MSMEs can set up shops on the strength of an affidavit. They need to get the requisite permissions and licences within three years of the start of production. The government has instituted single-window clearance boards in industrial parks.

A centralised system to make factory inspections hassle free is in the pipeline. Checks will be software-driven and not complaint-based. The government has standardised the application form for getting an industrial permit. Kerala is striving to gain the 10th position in the national ease of doing business categorisation.

CPI(M) acting State secretary A. Vijayaraghavan said a conspiracy was afoot to project a distorted image of Kerala’s conducive investment climate. Attempts were on to demonise Kerala as an investor unfriendly State.

He said Kitex’s sudden disavowal of Kerala was not impromptu. “There is a political motive. Suddenly, Kitex gets invited by other political dispensations to set shop in their respective jurisdictions. They send jets to fete the industrialist. That is not spontaneous,” he said.

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