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Kerala Government Seeks NRI Remittances
Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Better late than never, Kerala seems to be taking the right steps, though a bit late. The state is making an effort to canalise the remittances made by NRIs from the State to productive projects.

The meet of Kerala NRIs at the Keraleeya Pravasi Sangamam, an annual ritual performed by Non-Residents Kerala Affairs (NoRKA) focused mainly on NRI investments. It the inaugural ceremony, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said that his government had decided to float a new company to attract NRI investment.

The proposed firm will offer consultancy services to those willing to set up their own ventures. Besides, the company would launch welfare schemes for NRIs.
This will raise doubt whether the government has done the homework well before deciding investment avenues for the hard-earned money of NRIs. There are already two State-owned companies - Kinfra and InKEL - in the infrastructural development business. InKEL is the recent origin.

Though the successive governments have been making efforts to attract the NRI fund, the response of the nearly 20 lakh expatriates is lukewarm.

But there is ample reason for the same; they have lost confidence in the government run projects and schemes. In the mid seventies, the government set up a few manufacturing companies partially funded by NRIs. Within a few years all the companies vanished from the industrial landscape.

This has shattered the dream of the NRIs to invest in government- run projects. It was years later, Cochin International Airport Ltd, the first public private participation venture in the country was set up at the initiative of the then Chief Minister K Karaunakaran.

Though the venture, in which NRIs have invested substantially, won accolades from various quarters, the success of the project does not bring much cheer to the NRI investors.



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