June 23, 2024

From red flags to the red carpet – the changing business landscape in Kerala – RAJESH NAIR


Kerala is a fine strip of land ensconced in the lower South-West part of India. Area wise, this 38000 sq km is equal to that of Bhutan. The flora and fauna present some fine greenery all year long, with a long coastline and a rich vein interior arterial water bodies. Culturally, a lot of comparisons are drawn between Kerala and Japan,because of the similarities of the art forms – similar architecture, Kathakali and Kabuki , Kalaripayattu and Aikido , the sacred groves – kaavu and Shinto temples in Kyoto , non-linear cinema – Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Kurosawa  etc.  Of course , in similarities also lies the glaring dichotomies and differences. But, I digress …

An early induction of inclusive culture into the socialist mindset reaped rich rewards. Empowered women, libraries in every Panchayat (local self-government body) , the widespread popularity of basic education, cultural and religious fusion –Kerala presents itself in the highest echelons of the Human Development Index rivalling and beating fair and square, may developed economies. The same advantages also brought multiple dynamics to every stratus of society, where unions and associations have bred and at times,  festered oddities in the labour culture of the state. One of the remnant memories of an active trade unionism past,is the RED FLAG, which marked the striking workers who brought entrepreneurship to a grinding halt!

But today, in 2016, things have changed and are changing at an encouraging pace. There is a sudden spurt of start-up entrepreneurship in the last three-four years.Discussions are on for investments in the state in several sectors.There is an active interest by the bureaucracy and the state government to roll out the red carpet to various sectors. Events like the TiEcon, Rising Kerala, and Investment meet by the Greater Malabar Initiative are a classic testimony of the celebration and the fostering of entrepreneurship in the state.

A classic example to this phenomenon is the medical equipment cluster in Kerala …



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