Kitex’ decision to withdraw its investment from Kerala, claiming that the state was not investment or business friendly, was a “planned and deliberate move” to humiliate the state, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Saturday. Speaking to media persons, he said the allegation that Kerala was not investment friendly was an outdated and unsubstantiated claim in the face of facts which show that the state had an atmosphere conducive to business.
He further said “Attempts to impede industrial progress are not good. Such moves would be seen as aimed at undermining the country’s future”. Referring to Kitex group chairman Sabu Jacob’s comment that he was “kicked and hounded out” of the state, Vijayan said complaints have to be investigated and doing so does not mean someone is being hounded or hunted.
“This government is not going to hunt anyone down,” he said and added that everyone has a responsibility to obey the law and the rules. Alleging harassment by the Kerala government officials, Jacob had last week said that his group was withdrawing its Rs 3,500 crore project from the state.
Vijayan said that according to a recent report published by Niti Aayog, Kerala ranks first in the Sustainable Development Index and a key indicator of the same was the industrial development in the state. He further said that the state was ranked second in the India Innovation Index in terms of business environment and human capital and fourth in terms of improved investment climate, according to the the report and all these were indicators which cannot be ignored while deciding whether Kerala was investment friendly or not.
According to the National Council of Applied Economics Research of 2018,Kerala was fourth in the investment probability index, which takes into account factors like land, employment, political stability and business awareness to arrive at a finding. Ever since the CPI(M) led government came to power in Kerala in 2016, steps favouring significant industrial investment were taken, he said.
Giving details, Vijayan said a centralized system will be set up for the inspection of industrial establishments, Single Window Boards are being set up in all industrial parks in the state to expedite the issuance of permits to entrepreneurs andRs 1,416 crore assistance scheme has been announced for MSMEs to overcome the crisis caused by the COVID pandemic. Besides that, amaster plan is being prepared for the modernization of Public Sector Undertakings and steps have also been taken to create a favorable environment for investors and entrepreneurs by changing the rules and simplifying the procedures.
He further said that in thelast five years alone, 70,946 small business units have been newly started, Rs 6,612 crore investment was made in the state and two lakh units are presently operating in the state. Efforts are on to achieve 10th rank in the Ease of Doing Business rankings this year, he said and added that in such a situation, pointing out isolated incidents to obstruct industrial progress in the state was not good.