Governor of Kerala Shri Arif Mohammad Khan, Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, My Cabinet colleague Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State Shri Mansukh Mandaviya ji, Minister of State Shri Murlidharan Ji are attended.
The Queen of the Arabian Sea is wonderful as always. Being among you all makes me very happy. Today we have gathered here to celebrate development. Development of Kerala and India. The works being inaugurated today cover a wide range of sectors. They will energise the growth trajectory of India.
Two years ago I went to the Kochi Refinery. This is one of India’s most modern refineries. Today, once again from Kochi, we dedicate to the nation: The Propylene Derivatives Petrochemicals Complex of the Kochi Refinery . This one project will help strengthen our journey towards being Aatmanirbhar. Thanks to this complex, foreign exchange would be saved. A wide range of industries would gain and employment opportunities would be generated.
Kochi is a city of trade and commerce. The people of this city understand that time is of the essence. They also appreciate the importance of proper connectivity. That is why, dedication of Ro-Ro Vessels to the nation is special. A distance of almost thirty kilometres on road becomes three point five kilometres through waterways. This means: Convenience up. Commerce up. Capacity building up. Congestion down. Pollution down. Transport costs down.
Tourists come to Kochi not only as a transit point to go to other parts of Kerala. The culture, food, beaches, market places, historical places and spiritual places here are widely known. The Government of India is undertaking many efforts to improve tourism related infrastructure here. The inauguration of Sagarika, the International Cruise Terminal in Kochi is one example of this. Sagarika Cruise Terminal brings both comfort and convenience for tourists. It will cater to over a lakh cruise guests.
I have been seeing something in the last few months. A lot of people are writing to me and even sharing pictures on social media about their travels locally. Since the global pandemic has affected international travel, people are going to nearby places. This is a great opportunity for us. On one hand, this means added livelihood to those in the local tourism industry. On the other hand, it makes the connect between our youth and our culture stronger. There is so much to see, learn and discover. I urge our young start-up friends to think about innovative tourism related products. I also urge you all to use this time and travel to as many nearby areas as possible. You would be happy to know that the tourism sector in India has been growing well in the last five years. In the World Tourism Index ranking, India moved from sixty fifth to thirty fourth position. But, there is a lot more to be done and I am confident we will improve even more.
Two important factors that shape economic development are: Capacity Building and Making infrastructure modern for future needs. The next two development works are related to these themes. ‘Vigyan Sagar’, is the new knowledge campus of Cochin Shipyard. Through this, we are expanding our human resource development capital. This campus is a reflection of the importance of skill development. It would particularly help those wanting to study marine engineering. In the times to come, I see a prime place for this sector. Youngsters who have knowledge in this domain will have many opportunities at their doorstep. As I said before, economic growth requires augmenting existing capacities. Here, we are laying the foundation stone of reconstruction of the South Coal Berth. This would bring down logistics costs and improve cargo capacities. Both are vital for the business to prosper.
The definition and scope of infrastructure has changed. It is beyond only good roads, development works and connectivity between a few urban centres. We are looking at high quantity and top quality infrastructure for the coming generations. Through the National Infrastructure Pipeline, Rupees hundred and ten lakh crore is being invested for infra creation. In that, special attention is being given to coastal parts, the Northeast and the mountain areas. Today India is embarking on an ambitious programme of broad-band connectivity to every village. Likewise, India is devoting topmost importance to developing our Blue Economy. Our vision and work in this sector includes: More ports. Improving infrastructure in current ports. Off-shore energy, Sustainable Coastal development, Coastal connectivity. The Pradhan Mantri Matsaya Sampada Yojana is a one of its kind scheme. This scheme caters to diverse requirements of fishermen communities. It has provisions for ensuring more credit. Fishermen have been linked with Kisan Credit Cards. Similarly, work is underway to make India a hub for sea-food exports. I am happy that seaweed farming is gaining popularity. I would call upon researchers and innovators to share their ideas on making the fisheries sector more vibrant. This would be a great tribute to our hardworking fishermen.
This year’s Budget has devoted significant resources and schemes that will benefit Kerala. This includes the next phase of the Kochi Metro. This metro network has come up successfully and has set a good example of progressive work practices and professionalism.
The year gone by made humanity face a never seen before challenge. Powered by 130 crore Indians, our nation’s fight against COVID-19 has been spirited. The Government was always sensitive to the needs of the Indian diaspora especially in the Gulf. India is proud of our diaspora in the Gulf. It has been my honour to spend time with them during my previous visits to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Bahrain. I shared meals with them, interacted with them. As a part of the Vande Bharat Mission, over fifty lakh Indians came back home. Many of them were from Kerala. It was our Government’s honour to serve them in such a sensitive time. In the last few years, the Governments of various Gulf nations have also kindly released many Indians who were sadly in prisons there. The Government will always speak up for such people. I would like to thank the Governments of the various Gulf nations for their sensitive approach to this subject. Gulf kingdoms responded to my personal appeals and took special care of our community. They are giving priority to the return of Indians to the region. We have set up air bubbles to facilitate that process. Indians working in the Gulf should know that the full support of my Government is there to ensure their welfare.
He said we are at a historic point today. Our actions today will shape our growth trajectory in the years to come. India has the ability to rise to the occasion and contribute to global good. Our people have shown that with the right opportunity they can do wonders. Let us keep working to create those opportunities. Together, we will build an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Once again, I congratulate the people of Kerala for the development works that have been inaugurated yesterday.