TRIVANDRUM: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has asked the people to desist from unnecessary controversies and rise above petty politics to ensure sustainable growth of the state’s economy.
Speaking after taking the salute at an impressive parade at the Central Stadium on Thursday marking India’s 67th Independence Day, he reminded the people that the state survives on remittances from its overseas workers which is not sustainable for long.
“The diaspora has for long come to our succour. But the time has come for us to march ahead to achieve progress in all spheres of development.
“For that, we should not waste time discussing, and instead, on this historic occasion, take a pledge that we will all be united for the progress of our state,” he said.
Growing at an annual rate of 9.5 per cent as against the national average of 4.8 per cent, Kerala is one of the fastest growing states in India, thanks to remittances from the workers in the Gulf who contribute nearly one-fourth of the GDP.
But its infrastructure development remains slow.
The chief minister said besides a slew of welfare schemes, his government was concentrating on big-ticket infrastructure projects to accelerate growth while taking care of the welfare of the people.
“The metro rail and SmartCity projects in Kochi, the Vizhinham international seaport, international airport in Kannur, national waterway and monorail projects in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram are in progress within the schedule,” he said.
“There are some 100 projects at different stages of implementation. I’m sure that there’ll be a new Kerala when these projects are completed.”
Stressing the need for utilising the energy of the youth to take Kerala forward, he also announced an extension of the “student entrepreneurship programme” to schools offering grace marks and free “attendances” to those who are engaged in enterprises and innovations.
An online test will be conducted to select 10,000 entrepreneurs in schools from Class 8 to 12 and provide them with computers and other learning tools.
Chandy announced the scheme for college students at the Emerging Kerala investors summit on Sept.12 last year.
The annual day of the summit will now be observed as “entrepreneurship day.”