'Debates should not hamper investment in Kerala'



Kochi: Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday said debates and controversies should not come in the way of investments for the development of Kerala.

Speaking at the inaugural session of "Emerging Kerala 2012" global investor summit here, Antony said the need of the hour is to inform the world that the state is investor-friendly and the event is for the betterment of the state.

"The ultimate goal is speedy development of the state. Debates and controversies should not come in the way of investments," he said.

Referring to the summit in which 1,893 delegates from 51 countries are participating, Antony said the global connect programme is a platform to bring together all the stakeholders.

He said this year's event is much bigger than the global investor meet held in 2003.

Stressing the fact that Kerala ranks high in literacy rates and also on the Human Development Index, Antony said the common man feels he is safe and secure in the state.

He said Kerala is a getting a foothold in the field of information technology (IT) and other sectors.

Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution KV Thomas said the state is one of the first in the country to focus on tourism.

Though other states overtook Kerala in the IT sector, Thomas said Kerala is fast catching up and would outgrow others soon.

In his welcome address, the state's Industries Minister PK Kunhalikutty said the response from business and corporate leaders and delegates from India and abroad has been overwhelming.

"Emerging Kerala-2012 Global Connect is a platform to make the world know that Kerala is one of the best places to live in and work from. We believe that once people are convinced about this, investments will automatically follow," said Kunhalikutty.

According to him, there are 14 sectors that would be discussed over the next three days and over 1,200 requests for business-to-business (B2B) meetings have been received.

Finance Minister KM Mani said the state government would follow investor-friendly policies and called for private sector participation in transforming the state.

Kerala Governor HR Bhardwaj, Union Ministers Vayalar Ravi, E Ahamed, Mulapally Ramachandran and KC Venugopal, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and several members of Parliament and assembly, diplomats and industrialists were present at the inauguration.

IANS