Source: The Hindu, May 29, 2012
The government on Monday formed a coordination committee for implementation of the ten developmental programmes proposed by Sam Pitroda, Advisor to Prime Minister and mentor for Kerala’s development.
The committee will include Vice Chairman of the State Planning Board K. M. Chandrasekhar, Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar, Economic Advisor to the Chief Minister Shaffi Mather, Finance Secretary V. P. Joy, Secretary (Planning) Subrata Biswas and members of Mr. Pitroda’s team.
The committee was constituted during the second round of discussions Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had with Mr. Pitroda after he was appointed mentor three months ago.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media after the meeting that Mr. Pitroda and his team would submit ten business plans within sixty days. These plans would be from the five business sectors--- coastal navigation, knowledge city, Ayurveda, waste management and e-governance; covered by Mr. Pitroda’s programmes.
The State government would prepare plans for the rest of the areas—vocational education, skill enhancement, medical insurance, use of services of retired government officials, modernisation of traditional industries and high-speed rail corridor.
During the discussions, Mr. Pitroda pointed out that it would not be possible for Kerala to implement big long-term developmental projects with State government’s own funds. However, it would not be a difficult task to raise money for quality projects. If ten percent returns could be ensured, funding can be managed at the international level. The same could also be accomplished through assistance from the Union government. Private-public partnership could also be encouraged for realising the projects. What was expected from State government was strong administrative backing and political will.
He said the first phase of the development projects was expected to be completed in the next two years. Coastal navigation will be the first among the projects. Thiruvananthapuram could be the choice for establishing the Knowledge City. Synthesis of modern and traditional healthcare systems, traditional mathematical knowledge and architecture would find a place in the activities of the proposed Knowledge city.
To transform Kerala into the capital of Ayurveda, six sectors have been identified. Mr. Pitroda emphasised that Kerala, which has made significant progress in the field of health insurance, should continue with it. In the case of waste management, models shall be considered by which investors are willing to buy the waste. Kerala shall make use of the national information network and rural broadband to reap maximum benefit, Mr. Pitroda said.
Besides Mr. Chandy, Ministers, members of the State Planning Board and senior officials of the government and members of Mr. Pitroda’s team participated in the deliberations.