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`Invest in infrastructure to boost exports'

Our Bureau

Kochi , Aug. 12

THE State Government should give adequate support to the export sector in the State by making necessary investments on infrastructure such as ports, highways and SEZs, Mr N.R. Pai, outgoing president of the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has said.

The State, he said, could become a very competitive exporter on account of its proximity to the international shipping highway. However, the Government seems to think that the export sector is a domain under the Union Government and, hence, has been ignoring it. The products in the State have become uncompetitive in the country because of Kerala's geographical location at the southern tip of the Indian peninsula, he said at the annual general meeting of the chamber.

The Government, therefore, should initiate necessary steps to ensure that the production and service activities in the special economic zones are carried out efficiently so as to boost exports from the State. It should also make sure that unnecessary disputes, stoppages or strikes did not affect work in the zones, he added.

Mr Pai said that the tourism industry in the State has been doing well and this sector holds tremendous potential and promise for the State. Legislation for the conservation and preservation of tourism areas and regulation of tourism activities are required.

With the high rate of literacy, Kerala has great potential in IT and ITeS sector. However, these industries had not taken root because of the work culture in the State. The other three southern States share among themselves the export share of 49 per cent of the country's IT exports, whereas Kerala's share has been below one per cent, he said.

"It looks like the State has almost missed the IT bus, but the related segment of ITeS is in initial stages of growth. Let us not miss this bus at least, because ITeS has the potential to generate good employment levels," he added.

In the changed economic scenario, employment generation and not employment retention should get the priority. Areas of IT and ITeS, tourism, education, healthcare and medical services and even retailing hold very good prospects of generating employment.

Referring to the traditional industries of coir and cashew, he said the management and the labour would have to jointly work out strategies to bring down the cost by increasing productivity. The Government should also encourage such joint efforts and act as a catalyst.

More Stories on : Infrastructure | Exports & Imports | Kerala | Industry Associations

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