Kerala to give relaxation in land ceiling to investorsState

State government will also consider job-intensive projects public purpose

By T K Devasia

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Published: Mon 19 Jan 2015, 12:43 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 8:57 PM

Cochin (Kerala) — The Kerala government is planning to declare private projects with high employment potential as a public purpose activity.

This was disclosed by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy while inaugurating the two-day Global NRK Meet here. He said that his cabinet had discussed this as part of measures to remove the road blocks in the way of investments.

“Until now projects initiated only by the government and government-owned bodies were considered as public activity.

“Extending the norm to private sector will help the investors access the government services easily,” he added. The chief minister said that the government was also planning to provide exemption from Land Ceiling Act to projects with potential to create employment. According to the Act, only 15 acres of land can be held by an individual or an entity. The exemption based on the investments and the number of jobs to be created by the project. For example a project with the potential to create 20 jobs would be given one acre of land above the ceiling. A project worth Rs.500 million would get 10 acres additionally.

Chandy said that the proposals have already been discussed in the cabinet and the decision announced shortly.

He said that the government would also encourage NRKs to bring new technology.

He pointed out that a strategy in this regard was discussed at the NRK Technology Summit held in the state capital early this week. Chandy said that the NRKs will be able to access new technology as they were spread throughout the state.

Chandy sought the opinion of NRKs in converting the biennial Global NRK Meet into an annual meet. He suggested that the conclave could be held every year immediately after the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Industry and Information Technology Minister P K Kunhalikutty said that the new industrial policy being formulated by the government would be investor friendly.

He said that the policy would promote investments in high-tech areas. He pointed out that scope for investments in the high-tech sector in Kerala was great because the entire state was connected. No other state in India has this advantage. The federal government has taken Kerala as a model for the connectivity, he pointed out.

Non-Resident Keralites Affairs Minister K C Joseph, who presided over the meet, said that the government was working on a comprehensive rehabilitation scheme in the light of an economic recession anticipated in the Gulf countries in the wake of steady fall in oil prices.

He urged the delegates from the Gulf countries to share their views on the scheme during the interactive sessions at the Meet. Finance Minister K M Mani said that his ministry was ready to share the burden.

The Kerala Finance Corporation (KFC) under his ministry has already launched a self-employment scheme in this regard.

It enables the NRKs to avail loan up to Rs 2 million without interest for setting up self-employment ventures. The capital investment will also get 10 per cent subsidy.

Mani said that his ministry was viewing all developments affecting the NRKs with concern as the remittances were the backbone of the state economy.

He said that the total foreign remittances the state gets now had touched Rs.850 million. The meet being held after a gap of three years is being attended by over 500 NRKs from round 20 countries, including Middle East, Germany, UK, USA, Canada, France, Kenya, Libya, Singapore and Thailand.Maximum number of delegates have come from UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the US.

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