Ease of Doing Business to be Given Priority: CII Kerala Chief
Kochi: K Paul Thomas, MD & CEO of ESAF Small Finance Bank, who was recently elected as the Chairman of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) – Kerala State Council, has expressed his resolve to make the much-discussed ‘ease of doing business’ (EODB) a salient feature of Kerala that draws large number of investors to establish industries in the State.
According to him, CII’s main aim will be to help create an industry-friendly environment in the State through capacity building of industries and policy advocacy. “We also hope to join hands with the State Government to promote ‘ease-of-doing business᾿,” Thomas said.
K Paul Thomas observed that it is important to educate LSGD institutions about the scope of 'ease of doing business' at policy level
The recent suicide of a foreign-returned businessman, Parayil Sajan, at Anthoor in Kannur district following the alleged refusal on the part of the Anthoor municipality in giving clearance to his project had sparked serious debate about the efficacy of the much-trumpeted ease-of-doing-business in Kerala, a major agenda of the government to draw more investments to the State. Thomas added that CII will work closely with Local Self-Government Department (LSGD) institutions to further affirm the possibilities of ease-of-doing-business at policy level.
“We plan to start a campaign for LSGD Institutions underlining the importance of setting up new industries and creating new jobs which would, in turn, benefit the respective regions. EODB, as the policy makers envisage it, will start producing results only if there is awareness among the authorities at the grass roots level of decentralised government,” he said. This has been a key goal of the CII even before the unfortunate incident involving NRI Parayil Sajan came to light, Thomas added.
According to Thomas, developing industry and service clusters so as to help connect with international market will be another priority of the CII. “Some of the key areas we are focusing on for developing such clusters include Medical Value Tourism (MVT) and higher education. We aim to develop Kerala as a major destination of such niche sectors, creating more job opportunities,” he said.
Some new sectors which CII has identified to create clusters are skill and logistics. Logistics is a domain which has got immense potential particularly against the backdrop of Vizhinjam emerging as a major port hub. Armed with a long-term view, we have to develop resources and infrastructure for supporting the evolution of such a major logistics hub, he said.
CII is also partnering with Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) to promote EODB in the State. “We hold regular meetings with the State Government officials to monitor the coordination of activities in this regard. The main purpose of these meetings is to share the problems being faced by industries with the State Government and to understand the views of the government on those, and thus essentially working as a bridge between the State and the industries,” he said.