As Kerala gets ready to host the biggest ever Global Investor Meet beginning on Saturday, a number of top infotech companies have pledged to announce major investment plans in hardware, software and IT-enabled services in the state.
Kerala government officials, overseeing the last-minute preparations for the mega business event, said that some 12 top companies that include Microsoft, Reliance Infocomm, Sutherland, General Electric, McKinsey, 24/7 Customer.com, Wipro Infotech and Global Info Logistics are ready with their plans for Kerala.
High-level delegations from these companies are attending the Global Investor Meet, to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Kochi on Saturday morning.
Vajpayee will arrive in Kochi on Friday evening.
Officials disclosed that Vajpayee himself is expected to announce a slew of major projects for Kerala.
They would include final clearance of the mega international trans-shipment terminal at Kochi and development plans for the Kayamkulam thermal power station and an LGN terminal at Kochi.
The meet will showcase an array of projects worth at least Rs 11,000 crore (Rs 110 billion) in the state's core competency areas.
Billed as the biggest investment summit, the meet aims to project Kerala as an investor-friendly state to lure entrepreneurs from across the globe.
The meet had received a shot in the arm with Bangalore-based software major Infosys expressing interest in the state and deciding to invest after Kerala Chief Minister A K Antony met Infosys chairman N R Narayana Murthy and convinced him of the changed scenario in the state.
The major IT companies' decision to invest in Kerala has considerably enthused the Congress-led government headed by Chief Minister A K Antony. Already, Antony's deft negotiation skills last week led Infosys Technologies to announce a software development center in Kerala at the earliest.
Kerala's Industry Minister P K Kunjalikutty said that each IT company will be initially setting up facilities with employment potential of a minimum 500 persons.
"To begin with, we expect the total investment from these IT companies to be over Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion) in the immediate future," Kunjalikutty told rediff.com.
Besides, the state government will invite major investment proposals from various IT companies for the second-stage development of the Thiruvananthapuram-based Technopark and setting up an IT corridor and IT Park at Kochi.
The minister pointed out that already a single-window clearance cell, headed by the chief secretary, would start providing clearances to projects in a time-bound manner.
It is not in IT alone that the Kerala government is making a big bet on during the Global Investor Meet. As many as 100 projects in various sectors ranging from infrastructure, ports, power, health, education to tourism sectors are ready to be submitted before to the nearly 1,500 business delegates who will attending the meet.
Two mega projects that the state government is banking on are a Rs 7,000 crore (Rs 70 bilion) express highway across the 600-kilometer length of Kerala and a Rs 3,500 crore (Rs 35 billion) super port along the southern part of the coast.
A clutch of companies from Malaysia and Bahrain has expressed keen interest in taking up the express highway project. Sky-Cell Inc of South Africa, which built Sun City, is scouting for setting up the super port.The Global Investor Meet 2003