‘It will help give a focused approach to development’
The Cochin Chamber of Commerce has demanded expansion of the Kochi Corporation limits to give a focused approach for development.
The chamber in its pre-budget memorandum submitted to Finance Minister Thomas Isaac contended that while other major towns grew in area, Kochi has more or less stood still since its formation.
The Kochi Corporation covers an area of only 94.88 sq. km. But the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, which had an area of only 30.66 sq. km. during its formation has grown to 214.86 sq. km. This will give a focused approach for development, Cochin Chamber president K. Harikumar said.
The chamber proposed reduction of VAT from 14.5% to enhance the utilisation of natural gas in Kerala itself from the recently inaugurated Kochi-Mangaluru gas pipeline. Tamil Nadu charges only 4%, and it will give an impetus for development and growth, he said.
The chamber also sought the formation of a maritime cluster based on Willingdon Island at par with leading international maritime centres, to be included in the budget. This was proposed by State government in Ascend 2020. The project will develop core, financial, regulatory and other services (tourism, maritime museum etc.). The chamber also sought finalisation of maritime rules to facilitate the implementation of the Maritime Board Act 2017.
It commended the government for taking proactive steps for the formulation of a plantation policy. Kerala produces around 48% of the total plantation crops in the country. Around 3.3 lakh labourers are directly dependent on plantations.
On ease of doing business, the chamber sought to make Kerala Industry 4.0 ready. Industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, and Cloud Computing. Industry 4.0 creates what has been called a ‘Smart Factory’.
The chamber also demanded governance reforms, representation of more industry organisations in committees of the government, and a comprehensive and unified Kerala Public Health Act.
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