Modern Industrial Possibilities
Industrial production will henceforth play a crucial role in Kerala’s economic development. At the beginning of its tenure, the present Government of Kerala determined that it would utilise the historical advantages of the State with respect to school education, health, social provisioning, and the democratisation of government to enhance production and the productive forces in Kerala.
Recent policy has shown striking results. The average rate of growth of industrial production in Kerala between 2016-17 to 2018-19 has been 11 per cent, with 11.2 per cent growth in 2018-19. The share of manufacturing in total GSVA of Kerala rose from 9.8 per cent in 2014-15 to 13.2 per cent by 2018-19. Kerala is at the forefront in implementing information and communication technology projects, e-Governance initiatives, and in creation of basic IT infrastructure. In the case of the power sector, installed capacity in Kerala saw an increase from 2835.68 MW in 2015- 16 to 2995.87 MW in 2018-19.
Perhaps the most important gain of the last four years with respect to industry, however, has been the transformation of vision and mindset. The Government of Kerala has sent a clearmessage to India and the world that Kerala invites investment in modern industry. The Stateapproved a new Industrial and Commercial Policy in 2018 with a vision to transform Kerala into a vibrant investment destination, and the Department of Industries has initiated several specific schemes and programmes to implement the 2018 policy.
The session on industry will seek to learn from the best possible advice and best practices in a range of industrial possibilities and themes that are relevant to the State. These include:
- Manufacturing in technologically advanced sectors: These include medical equipment, life sciences, and pharmaceuticals. Kerala has also established leadership in certain high-technology sectors, including modern garment production, foundries, construction, value addition in spices
and condiments (see  below), petrochemicals (see  below), synthetic footwear, information and communication technology (on which there will be a separate session) and other sectors.
Kerala derives advantages in these sectors because of the availability of skilled professionals in the State and strong foundations in the areas of health and education. The session will also consider possibilities for cooperation between industry and academia in this regard.
- Agro-based and food-processing industries: The potential for the growth of agro-based industries is high in Kerala on account of both supply and demand factors. There are important possibilities for value addition in the case of agricultural products such as rice, coconut, rubber, pineapple, pepper, cardamom, and other spices and condiments.
- Petrochemical complex: It is important to build on the existing investments and competitive advantages of Kerala to develop a cluster of industries. BPCL’s recent investment of Rs 16500 crore on the state-of-the-art modern Integrated Refinery Expansion Project provides an important opportunity to develop the petrochemical industry complex in Kochi.
- Industrial location: industrial parks and industrial corridors. The Government of Kerala’s present strategy recognises the importance of industrial infrastructure to the future of industrial development. Under the current policy, industrial parks are to be established either by the Government or with private equity on a PPP mode. Developing a comprehensive road map for the Kochi-Coimbatore industrial corridor will also be of immense value. Kerala can learn from global best practices on a range of issues regarding industrial location, including industrial growth in adjacent areas, managing environmental externalities, and complying with labour and environmental laws.
- Modernise traditional industry: The persistence of low technologies is a salient feature of traditional industries, which continue to be important sources of livelihood for a substantial
section of Kerala’s workforce. The consultation will consider the pathways to modernisation and technological transformation in these sectors.
- Public sector units (PSUs): The session will consider ways in which PSUs in Kerala can utilize their resources (including land and buildings and technological expertise) more effectively
and emerge as enablers and mentors of industrial growth in the private sector. Speakers and other participants will be drawn from industry, government and research and academic institutions. While entrepreneurs based in Kerala will constitute a substantial number of all participants, we shall also invite people (including, importantly, non-resident Keralites) who
can speak about experiences of industrial growth and entrepreneurship in other parts of the world.
Kerala State Planning Board.
Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram KERALA 695 004