Development of basic amenities suitable for the future of Kerala, attracting investments and modern industries in a way that contributes to this goal, improving production, ensuring just distribution of resources are some of the fundamental lines of action presented in the government’s manifesto. The government is making interventions keeping these lines of action in view. It is due to this that we are reaching big accomplishments that never happened before in the history of Kerala. Finding investment opportunities that can fuel the state’s development progress as a continuation of this was the goal behind the foreign trip of chief minister and group this time.
The visit to Japan and Korea was intended as stepping into the next stage of growth in the domains of basic amenities, education, health, and new industries. The visits were completed successfully.
The stance of this government is to increase the production and distribute them justly. It is only by doing so, the lives of people can be led forward constructively. For that, the knowledge attained by humanity in the field of science and technology should be accepted and utilized in the scientific field as per the state’s requirements. Countries like Japan and Korea have progressed in different spheres of development using the information from the fields of science and technology. The special attention given to development approaches involving environmental peculiarities is important to areas like Kerala, which is often bothered by natural disasters.
After every official visit, the information regarding the benefits of the trip has been shared. The trip which has been completed now is one that is beneficial for the fields like Kerala’s higher education, health (medical equipment), tourism, IT, food processing, fisheries, skill development, waste management, and disaster management.
In fact, this trip was undertaken to keep the younger generation of Kerala in mind. Therefore, special attention was taken to ensure that each meeting of the trip proves to be beneficial to the youth. As a result of this trip, steps to ensure higher education with international standards, skill training suitable for modern times and job opportunities emerging thereby to the youth of Kerala, have been taken.
Some Japanese companies have already made investments in Kerala and are managing industries. They have a great impression of Kerala. Japanese Ambassador in India had made it clear that Kerala is suitable for Japanese investments and industries. Through Japan’s visits and meetings, the effort was to utilize this positive situation more effectively. Japan is a country at the forefront in the case of small scale and medium scale industries. In the matter of technology and modern industries based on technology, it also the frontline country in the world. These two are industries most suitable for Kerala. Therefore, attempts were made to draw more of them to Kerala.
With the first meeting in Japan itself, investment of 200 crore rupees was confirmed to Kerala. So, Japan’s visit was a positive start. The investment of hundreds of crores was ensured from Japan alone.
The decision of Nitta Gelatin, which has 40 years of working experience in Kerala, to additionally invest 200 crore rupees as a part of expanding their activities is a recognition for the changed investment-friendly situation in the state. Terumo Corporation has decided to invest Rs 105 crore in Thiruvananthapuram Terumo Penpol. This will help Kerala manufacture 10 percent of the blood bags required in the world.
A letter of intent for the exchange of Lithium Titanium Oxide (LTO) battery technology was signed with Toshiba. It is being attempted to begin these modern battery units in collaboration with any of the public sector establishments in Kerala. Currently, there is no factory in India making this type of battery.
We have an electric vehicle policy intending to launch 10 lakh electric vehicles on the roads of Kerala by 2022. Extensive efforts are being made to bring it into execution. The electric bus is being manufactured in association with the Swiss company, Hess. LTO electric battery will be used in them as well as water transport systems including the Kochi water metro. Studies are being conducted to arrange a conducive situation for electric vehicles. Further steps on the contract with Toshiba will be taken as this gets completed.
Discussions were also carried out with Toyota to install a hydrogen fuel cell factory, considered as the fuel of the future. A letter of intent will be signed for this purpose. GS Caltechs Corporation has expressed interest in installing a lubricant blending unit in the Petrochemical complex at Ernakulam. A group comprised of 5 mayors are coming to Kerala from Sanin province in Japan to understand the investment possibilities in IT, Ayurveda and small scale – medium scale industries.
Nearly 150 investors participated in the investor’s meet held at Tokyo. They were invited to make investments in Kerala in the fields of construction, industrial infrastructure development, marketing hub, health, tourism, IT, bio technology and agricultural industries.
It was ascertained there that the companies which have already made investments in Kerala, including Nissan and Frasco, are satisfied with the existing situation in the state. This has been a helpful experience to bring further investments to Kerala. Japan External Trade Organization was invited to open their office at Trivandrum.
Education & Skills sector
Osaka University, one of the best in the world, has expressed interest in offering sandwich courses to postgraduate students from Kerala. It has also been decided that Shimane University in collaboration with CUSAT will start a 4+2 year course designed in such a way that the candidates will receive degree from both the universities. It has been decided to begin the process of offering a one year postgraduate certificate course in collaboration with CUSAT which will consist of 6 months each in Japan and Kerala. Shimane University will also discuss with other universities in Kerala about initiating similar courses. With the help of Professor Fawu Wang, Chair of UNESCO’S Geoscience and Natural Disaster Reduction, programme for skill development will be conducted in Kerala to face environmental changes. Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship has expressed interest in starting a Japanese language course in 2 community skill parks of Kerala
In the matter of technology and technology-based modern industries, Korea is also a frontline country in the world like Japan. The mission to introduce Kerala to Korea was undertaken in the Korean trip. The possibilities of direct export of marine products and food was discussed. Korea Importers Association also decided to visit marine products processing zone to analyze this field in Kerala and to begin exporting thereafter. They have also expressed a wish to start a test centre at KSIDC’s Cherthala Food Park. Currently, the products exporting to Korea are taken through Vietnam. With the initation of test centre, direct export will be possible.
LK- Hightech, the supplier of Hyundai vehicle parts has requested land (15000 sq. ft) at Palakkad to start a new manufacturing unit. Investors from Korea have expressed interest in areas like IT, Led production, automobile components, food processing, small scale –middle scale industries, logistics, and supply chain.
In the field of Education and Skill development, it has been decided that the Fisheries University in Kerala will work in cooperation with the World Fisheries University that is to be established as part of the World Food and Agricultural Organization. As part of this, a training program will be designed for the fishermen and the officials in collaboration with the Pukyong University. Pukyong University has also expressed an interest to collaborate in the field of Ayurveda.
Busan Port Authority has expressed its willingness to train our port officers. It was also decided to sign an MoU to collaborate in order to raise our ports and harbors to an international standard.
Waste Management- The visit to waste management plants in Busan and Seoul deserves special mention. It enabled an understanding as to how waste management, as well as electricity production from waste, were done in these places with the help of modern technologies. These were models that could be emulated in Kerala. The discussion was held on semi high-speed rail with JIKA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and Hyundai. Both have expressed their willingness to collaborate.
In our federal system, the responsibility to ensure the development of the state is on state governments. Therefore, the Left Democratic Front government is taking this responsibility with utmost seriousness. So, we should collaborate with those countries which are willing to do so, while protecting the interests of the state.
Visiting Hiroshima memorial during the Japan visit and paying respect on behalf of Kerala need to be specially mentioned. It was not just a ceremonious event. Rather, it was indeed a reaffirmation of our pledge towards disarmament and world peace. The preservation of culture and history in both Korea and Japan and the imparting of the same to the younger generation using modern technologies is a model worth emulating.
Better law and order, high standards of living, a people who increasingly use modern technologies, a corruption-less stable government, etc. are some of the reasons which encourage countries like Japan and Korea to come to Kerala. It is certain that the collaboration with these countries will help the development of Kerala and the progress of our future generations.