KOCHI: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday unveiled a set of path-breaking initiatives that will enhance the ease of doing business in the state including a wage subsidy scheme for the first five years for new ventures getting registered from April 1, 2020.

Inaugurating the two-day ASCEND Kerala 2020 global investors meet, organised by the state department of industries, in Kochi, showcasing over 100 major projects before the leaders of industry, Vijayan said the government was committed to carry on with its policy initiatives to simplify investment procedures.

“The investment climate prevailing in the state is most conducive. This is especially significant at a time when certain parts of the country and the world are in the grip of tension and anxiety. Here is an ideal destination where investment can be made in diverse sectors without having any tension or anxiety,” the chief minister said.

Recalling a string of legislative and procedural initiatives put in place by the state government, the chief minister said many more such measures are on the anvil to enable a fast, transparent and corruption-free investment regime.

A proposal to subsidise part of the wage commitment of newly set up industries for the first five years is planned. “This is a scheme under consideration. I don’t want to go into its details. This benefit will be available only to those units which provide ESI and PF benefits to workers. I also want to say at this stage that women employees will get at least Rs 2,000 more than their men counterparts under the proposed scheme. An estimated 37 lakh people will benefit,” he said.

Seeking to remove the land constraints faced by big units, the 15-acre ceiling on the land to be held by them will be relaxed. The units investing more that Rs 250 crore and providing over 1000 jobs will be entitled to this concession. Necessary changes will be made in the land legislation act to enable this. The bar on women factory workers being put on night shift will be lifted. It will be the responsibility of the employer to ensure their safety, he said.

The ceiling for financial aid from Kerala Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) will be raised from the current Rs 35 crore to Rs 100 crore. In certain cases, KSIDC can also provide higher amount, he said.

Measures will also be taken to ensure greater involvement of local bodies in industrial promotion and job generation, Steps are also afoot to improve labour relations to ensure the smooth functioning of units right from the start and improve technical capabilities and skilled workforce, he added.

Lauding the contributions of the Malayali diaspora in expediting the economic development of the state, Vijayan said a proposal to convene a global meet to attract foreign investment is on the cards. He said the visits of delegations led by him to Japan, Korea and the UAE had generated keen interest in Kerala.

Presiding over the session, industries minister E P Jayarajan said the government had diligently followed up the suggestions and proposals thrown up by the first edition of ASCEND Kerala held last year.

Yusuffali MA, chairman and MD, Lulu Group International, said in his address that Kerala is one of the most ideal investment destinations of the world, going by every parameter.

“There is no need for any apprehension on the part of the international banking and investor community on investing in Kerala. The beneficiaries of the investment that they make now will be the future generations of Kerala,” Yusuffali, who was a guest of honour at the function, added.

Noting that Kerala Government has done a commendable job in positioning the state as an attractive destination to invest, Dr. B. Ravi Pillai, chairman and managing director, RP Group, said the state should continue its efforts in this direction.

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