Kerala to float NRK bonds for development projects

June 20th, 2012 - 1:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, June 20 (IANS) Kerala’s Minister for Non-Resident Keralite Affairs K.C. Joseph Wednesday informed the Kerala assembly that the state government is working out a plan to float a ‘Pravasi Development Bond’ for the benefit of the non-resident Keralites (NRKs).

Later speaking to IANS, Joseph said that discussions have started with financial experts on how to go about this unique scheme.

“We propose that through this bond, NRKs can take shares and the money would be utilised to fund flagship development projects of the state. Whatever profits that arise through the investment projects, would be shared with the NRK share holders,” said Joseph.

Citing the latest study on the Kerala diaspora by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Joseph told the assembly that the total money that arrived in the last fiscal in Kerala banks, mostly from Middle-East employed Keralites, was a staggering Rs.50,000 crore.

He was replying to a motion moved by treasury bench legislator P.Ubaidullah who sought the immediate attention of the state government to channelise the NRK deposits in Kerala banks for productive purposes.

“We also have decided to open an exclusive bank for NRKs and we have now got in touch with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the necessary clearance,” added Joseph.

The state government, he said, would use the forthcoming investment meet “Emerging Kerala”, to be held in Kochi in September, to showcase mega projects like the Kochi Metro Rail, Mono Rail in a few cities in the state and other major projects in the Middle East countries by Kerala officials.

“These projects would be the ones where even the ordinary Keralite can take shares. Among the other mega projects that we are going to revive is the ‘Kerala Airways’ project, where the state government will go ahead with our earlier plan to start our own airlines,” said Joseph.

“Another project that we have decided to go ahead with is the commencement of ship services from the Middle-East to counter the exorbitant air fares now being charged by airline companies,” he added.

He also added that all investment projects where the NRKs invest would be eligible for insurance benefits.

The CDS study found that the Kerala emigrants living abroad in 2011 was an estimated 2.28 million, up from 2.19 million in 2008, 1.84 million in 2003 and 1.36 million in 1998.

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