Startup, tourism sectors in Kerala handed added scope to flourish

State budget earmarks more money for startup, tourism sectors to grow more

Two prominent sectors that drive Kerala’s economic horizon can hope for much boost in the coming days, with the Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal listing down a slew of proposals to make them glow to full effect.

The startup sector and the tourism arena in Kerala have always stood the state in good stead, making waves even during the raging pandemic. The Budget proposals by the Finance Minister have provided these two sectors to carry on with their success, with both the industrial segments getting more than what they had hoped for.

The proposals in the state budget have sought to support and promote startups, which could well translate as strengthening innovation, skill updation, development of technology parks and incubation system in the state.  The budget has proposed a slew of measures that will further strengthen the vibrant startup ecosystem in Kerala, which Niti Ayog has rated the best in the country.

Strengthening the state’s startup ecosystem

According to Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) Chief Executive Officer John M. Thomas, the proposals have all in them to further strengthen the state’s startup ecosystem. Of the Rs 90.52 crore earmarked for KSUM, Rs 20 crore is for Kochi Technology Innovation Zone and Rs 70.52 crore is for Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme.

The government’s move to raise a Venture Capital Fund in Green Shoe for startups with a limit of Rs 250 crore could also be seen as a step in the right direction. The proposal to give startups preference for procurements in government departments will greatly help the fledgling companies that have developed innovative products and services. Also, the proposal to formulate a new scheme to meet the working capital requirement of startups is welcome, Thomas said.

The government has made the right move by proposing to set up nascent companies and incubation centres along with Translational Research Centres on the university campuses of the state, he added.

The plan for a new scheme that promotes agricultural startups, among others, by mobilising resources through Kerala Finance Corporation has also come in for much praise. As per the plan, loans up to Rs 10 crore will be provided at 5 per cent interest. Besides, modernization of the tax sector also has got a tech boost, with the government authorizing the SGST Department to take measures to take advantage of Information Technology possibilities. This is being seen as a boost for the state’s IT and ITeS startups.

Post-pandemic travel arena gets more to hope for

On the tourism front, a substantial allocation of Rs. 362.15 crore has been made for planning and implementation of a slew of projects in the tourism sector during 2022-23. This, according to Tourism Minister PA Mohamed Riyas, will provide a great momentum to the post-pandemic travel and hospitality activities in the state.

Pointing out that the budget has made substantial allocations to the development of the tourism sector to take up a slew of initiatives like Tourism Hubs and Destination Challenge, he said the Rs. 42 crore earmarked for tourism is more than what was set apart last year.

The increased allocation will support the revival of the pandemic-battered tourism in the state. The entire spectrum of tourism enterprises, which provide jobs for thousands, are also expected to benefit.

The new projects on the anvil include the launch of cruise tourism connecting Kovalam, Kollam, Kochi, Beypore, Mangalore and Goa, for which an initial allocation of Rs. 5 crore has been made. A sum of Rs. 15 crore has been set apart for transforming the Champions Boat League (CBL) into an Indian Premier League model. The budget has also earmarked Rs. 20 crore for interest subvention for an ambitious project to avail Rs. 1000 crore loan for the rejuvenation and development of tourism sector.

Apart from putting the Caravan Tourism initiative firmly on track, the new projects to be implemented include development of 25 eco-friendly tourist hubs in five years, strengthening of the pilgrim circuit and inclusion of marine travels in tourism plans.

The allocations come in as a major boost to these sectors, and it is expected that the slight lull the pandemic had brought in would be swept away with fresh measures being rolled out by the government.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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