Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan convenes maiden Loka Kerala Sabha
Bengaluru: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday convened the maiden meet of Loka Kerala Sabha (World Kerala Forum), an initiative from his ruling Left Front government to seek cooperation from non-resident Keralites (NRKs) for the development of the state.
The forum may become important for engagement with NRKs, especially at a time when remittances, which form almost one third of the state’s GDP, have been dropping largely owing to oil crisis in the Gulf nations, a popular destination for migrants from the state.
Apart from all legislators and parliamentarians and some national political figures, the forum consists of about 177 persons including billionaire businessmen such as Yusuff Ali of the Lulu Group, writers, social activists and cultural organizations, among others, nominated by the state government, who are part of the four-million strong global Malayalee community.
“This is the birth of an international Kerala society,” Vijayan said while inaugurating the two-day meeting convened to set the agenda of the forum.
“Non resident Keralites have a major influence on shaping up the modern Kerala and influencing its state’s growth. But there has been no platform yet for them even voice their concerns or opinions, Loka Kerala Sabha will plug this hole,” Vijayan said, speaking in Malayalam.
The forum is supposed to provide a roadmap for the government on matters ranging from the welfare of those who are overseas to the need for proper rehabilitation of returnees to the efficient management of remittance money, he added.
Vijayan also pointed out his government’s plan to use NRK chit funds to raise money for mega infrastructure projects under the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), finance minister Thomas Isaac’s pet project to attract investment into the state.
KIIFB plans to mobilize Rs50,000 crore from the market in the next five years to invest in mega projects aimed at revamping Kerala’s physical and social infrastructure.
Such steps could help the state look beyond traditional ways of raising debt, often at huge interest rates and at the same time offer NRKs an attractive opportunity for investment, Isaac had said in an interview.
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