Kerala CM flays UDF's call to boycott entrepreneurs' meet organised by govt

Kochi: Kerala's Left government and opposition Congress-led UDF on Saturday locked horns over an entrepreneurs' meet organised here by the Industries and Commerce Department to promote businesses by giving practical help and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs in the state.

As the opposition boycotted the much publicised event 'Vyavasaya Sangamam-2023' charging that the government was presenting "fake figures", Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who inaugurated the day-long conclave, criticised them saying that it was an event for the development of the state and everyone should have stood united for that cutting across politics.

During his speech, the Chief Minister said there was no attempt on the part of the organisers to sideline anyone from the meet.

"This is an issue which our state is facing now...this is an issue which is affecting the development of our land. Everyone might have their own party politics. But, we should stand united for the development of the state," Vijayan said.

He said the government and the opposition should stand together in the matter of development but that is not happening in Kerala. "This is an unfortunate situation being faced by our state," he said.

The Chief Minister also pointed out that in many other states, ruling and opposition fronts come together for the development of the state, setting aside their differences.

Alleging that a section of people are unleashing campaigns against Kerala to establish that the state is not business friendly and it is in a huge debt trap, Vijayan lamented that some media houses in the state are also supporting such propaganda.

He also said Kerala has achieved remarkable progress in the industries and commerce sectors through the government's 'Year of Enterprises' initiative.

"Our objective was to start one lakh enterprises in a year. However, we surpassed the target within eight months itself. Now, it is poised to achieve 1.5 lakh enterprises in this current fiscal," Vijayan explained.

However, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan rejected the claims of Vijayan and alleged that the LDF government is doing nothing for the industrial and economic progress of the state.

The government's claim on industrial progress was a mere eyewash and it was trying to mislead people by giving fake figures, he said.

"The opposition decided to abstain from the conclave in protest against the government action of presenting baseless figures to cheat people. The state government's claim that one lakh industrial enterprises have been launched in the last one year and more than two lakh jobs have been created is a blatant lie," he said in a statement.

Quoting the latest report of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Satheesan, a senior Congress leader, also said Kerala is the state with least number of industrial units in south India.

The state is also lagging behind in terms of micro industrial units but what the Industries Department is doing is to take the credit of enterprises started on their own by individuals after taking loans from banks, he further alleged.

‘Vyavasaya Sangamam-2023' brought together a large number of entrepreneurs, industry leaders, administrators and other stakeholders to chart out a future course of action aimed at consolidating the state's position as an investor-friendly destination.

It was organised in the wake of the Kerala government's 'Year of Enterprises' project surpassing its target within eight months by creating 1,18,509 enterprises with an investment of Rs 7,261.54 crore while generating 2,56,140 jobs, organisers said. PTI

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