Kerala diaspora can partner in development: Minister

February 14th, 2012 - 11:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 14 (IANS) Kerala Finance Minister K.M. Mani Tuesday said successive state governments have failed to put to productive use the massive remittances sent in by over two million diaspora but this time it could well be different.

He said several innovative ideas have been put forward in the pre-budget discussions held during the day with leading experts from various sectors like trade, industry and academics.

“All the remittances made by our diaspora continue to remain as dead money and this has to change and it will change also,” Mani told reporters after the discussions.

“This money locked up in banks could be channelised for productive purposes to involve them in various infrastructure development projects and it will be done,” he added.

According to the latest study at the Centre for Development Studies here, the total remittances in Kerala in 2011 were estimated to be approximately Rs.50,000 crore compared to Rs.43,288 crore in 2008.

The number of Kerala emigrants living abroad in 2011 is estimated to be 2.28 million, up from 2.19 million in 2008, 1.84 million in 2003 and 1.36 million in 1998.

Mani said he would take into confidence the diaspora as the state is getting ready for major infrastructure development projects like the Rs.118,000 crore high speed rail corridor that was given in principle clearance Monday at an all-party meet.

The other projects include the over Rs.5,000 crore first phase development of the proposed Vizhinjam Port, the Rs.5,000 crore Kochi Metro Rail and the Rs.1,130 crore Kannur airport.

“We have announced that these projects will be in the public-private participation model and the diaspora could well chip in,” the minister said.

In Kannur airport which has already been cleared the diaspora could well contribute to the equity of the project by applying for a minimum of Rs.50,000.

Mani will present his 10th state budget — an all-time record for any state finance minister in the country.

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