Industries Minister A C Moideen Hints at Exit Policy for Kerala Business Units

Industries Minister A C Moideen

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government will consider introducing an exit policy for business units in its various industrial parks in the Kerala Industrial and Commercial Policy 2017, State Industries Minister A C Moideen has said. He was speaking at an interactive session with stakeholders organised by the Department to collect feedback on Kerala Government’s Draft Industrial and Commercial Policy 2017 here the other day.

In the various discussions that the Industries Department had conducted in connection with framing of industrial policy, fixing an exit policy for business units was a popular demand. “We will actively consider this request from the entrepreneurs,” Minister A C Moideen said.

Stakeholders were unanimous in their opinion that business units in various industrial parks under the Department of Industries had little scope for graduation. The suggestions were as diverse as including a liability clause for government officials in the policy to setting up of facilities for video calls in offices to save valuable time of entrepreneurs.

Dr. M Beena IAS, MD, KSIDC; K N Satheesh IAS, Director of Industries and Commerce; Wg.Cdr. Santhosh Kumar, MD, KINFRA and Rajagopal, CEO, K-BIP were also present in the discussion which was attended by representatives of various industries.

Feedback on Kerala Industrial and Commercial Policy 2017

The suggestions were as diverse as including a liability clause for government officials in the policy to setting up of facilities for video calls in offices to save valuable time of entrepreneurs.Referring to various instances of local bodies slapping stop memos on industrial units on ‘flimsy grounds’, stakeholders requested the Minister to set up a mechanism wherein action against industrial units be taken only with the concurrence of general managers of respective District Industries Centres (DICs).

Stakeholders were unanimous in their opinion that business units in various industrial parks under the Department of Industries had little scope for graduation. “Lack of exit policy, procedural delays in executing expansion plans and official apathy were also cited as major reasons. The Government should realise that merger, acquisition and exit are key factors as far as a business entity is concerned,” said K G Madhu, Chairman, CII Thiruvananthapuram Zonal Council and MD, Ammini Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd.

“Entrepreneur should be given 100 per cent authority to transfer or sell his business. The Government can take steps to ensure that the land or the infrastructure being provided is being used only for industrial purposes. The matter assumes utmost significance as around 70 per cent units in Kerala’s industrial parks are lying defunct. A proper exit policy will not only help promoters of sick or defunct units to come out of their debt but also create opportunities to new investors,” he added.

Stakeholders also demanded total revamp in the functioning of the Department, including complete restructuring of agencies like SIDCO, KSIDC and KINFRA. “At least every three months, Industries Minister should meet select industrialist of the State to get a pulse of what’s actually happening in each sector. Also, the Government’s urgent intervention is required to ensure that Central Government’s scheme are utilised effectively,” Madhu said.

S N Raghuchandran Nair of S I Property, who is also the former National Vice President, CREDAI and President, Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stressed the need for a master plan-based industrial policy. “The Government should mention which industry would be suitable for a particular region. Such a zone-wise industry master plan would help investors in a big way. Also, the policy itself should distinguish between green and white industries and publish a list,” he said.

Raghuchandran Nair also requested the Government to consider a price regulatory authority to monitor the prices of construction materials, including cement, so as to take appropriate measures whenever the rates exceed the actual market rates. “The Government should consider setting up labour camps in all districts. It should also have a relook at the regulations with regard to the maximum ceiling limit of land area in urban areas,” he added.

Though the Government’s decision to promote private industrial parks was widely appreciated, stakeholders have expressed strong reservations about the minimum requirement of 50 acres of land fixed for the same. “Considering the acute shortage of industrial-friendly land in Kerala, ideal area would be 5 to 10 acres,” they said. Government’s urgent intervention was also sought to tackle issues pertaining to the cashew sector, uncertainties prevailing in plastic manufacturing units and to ensure uninterrupted power supply.