BENGALURU: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan plans to visit Japan and South Korea in his continuing search for offshore investors and funds to the only state ruled by the communists in India. Vijayan is currently on a European tour in search of investments and attend some key events.
Vijayan flied to Europe on 8 May, to visit Netherlands, Paris, United Nations headquarters in Geneva—where he is one of the main speakers for 'World Reconstruction Conference' which features last year's Kerala floods as a top issue.
On Friday, at the tail end of the tour, Vijayan will visit London to list the state's funding arm Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board's ₹2,150 crore ($305 million) masala bonds on the London Stock Exchange. Kerala is the first among Indian states to tap into the masala bonds market to raise funds for development.
On his return, his office is preparing to receive a delegation from Japan and South Korea, that includes investors who have evinced interest to invest in sectors such as information technology, electronics hardware, tourism, among other sectors in Kerala, a person familiar with the matter told Mint. Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation is tasked to handle the delegation, in coordination with a special cell formed in the CM's office. The news was first reported by the website of regional newspaper Malayala Manorama.
The moves are in continuation of the communist government's focus to get multinational corporations, especially in the tech business, to set up shops in Kerala, a state where businesses are known to be harmed by unfriendly policies, administration, and strikes. Last year, the state persuaded Japan-headquartered Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, one of the world’s largest carmakers, set up a global research hub on driverless cars and electric vehicles in the capital Thiruvananthapuram. It involved Shashi Tharoor, writer and top leader from the opposition Congress, talking to Nissan's location hunting team in French about why to chose Kerala, and Vijayan serving home-made fish curry to the top leadership team at the company, while the government fast-tracked the entire process.
After the visit of the delegation from two countries, Vijayan would announce a date to visit there and seek support from investors. The communist leader's itinerary is telling upon the state's focus on raising funds for development, and also his embrace of all aspects of capitalism. Burdened with debts and borrowing capacity reaching saturation, Kerala has been stripped of funds for capital expenditure. It was further pushed to the brink with last year's floods, the worst one since the state was formed and caused at least ₹30,000 crore worth damages by official estimates.