State takes Make in Kerala route to fix trade deficit

Products worth Rs 1,28,000 crore were imported by Kerala during 2021-22. Photo: File/AFP

The Kerala government has announced an ambitious ‘Make in Kerala’ project which aims to encourage domestic production, with an initial investment of Rs 100 crore this fiscal .

Finance Minister K N Balagopal announced the project as he presented the State Budget for 2023-24 in the Assembly on Friday.

The vibrant business atmosphere in the state has given the Left Democratic Front government the confidence to go ahead with the Make in Kerala project.

Rs 1,000 crore will be allocated additionally during the project period and Rs 100 crore will be allocated for the project during the current fiscal, he said.

A grand ‘Make In Kerala’ project has been envisaged to boost domestic production as well as employment, enterprises and investment opportunities.

“The Centre for Development Studies (CDS) had conducted a study on this. As per their report, products worth Rs 1,28,000 crore were imported by Kerala during 2021-22. As much as 92 per cent of this was from other states. The same period, Kerala exported products worth Rs 74,000 crore. As much as 70 per cent of this was to other states. It is evident from this that Kerala's trade deficit is very high. In this background, one of goals of the study was to identify the imported products which could be produced domestically. Steps are being taken to identify products which could be manufactured in Kerala and offer support for their production by analysing productivity, wage expenses and profit,” he said.

He said the involvement of enterprises and science and technology and research groups will be ensured in the project. A detailed and practical project will be brought out by the Industries Department and other departments.

The minister said support will be provided for agri startups producing value added products in the sector. Assistance including interest waiver will be offered to help ventures find capital, he said.

He said a renewed vigour in the production sector in the state was the most important factor that has given the government the confidence to go ahead with the project. He cited the success of the Industries Department’s ‘Year of Enterprises’ scheme and the national and international recognition received by the Kerala Startup Mission to highlight the people’s aggressive interest in entrepreneurship.

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