Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 12 (IANS) Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs and Civil Aviation Vayalar Ravi Saturday said non-resident Keralites (NRKs) must be involved in speeding up development activities in the state.
The minister was delivering the keynote address in the session on diaspora at the Kerala Development Congress organised by the state unit of the Congress party.
“Every year the NRKs remit close to Rs.50,000 crore in the state and this money should be channelised in productive sectors. Sadly at the moment there is no avenue to do that,” said Ravi.
He chided the state government for not involving the diaspora to take part in the equity of the Kannur international airport, the work for which was launched recently.
“The state government should have allowed the diaspora to invest in small amounts in the airport. Other possible sectors to channel NRK money are services and tourism industries,” the minister said.
There are more than two million non-resident Keralites out of which close to 90 percent are working in Middle East countries.
“Kerala’s progress is reflected in the presence of large number of workers from Bengal and Bihar in the state. For them this is a ‘mini Dubai’,” added Ravi.
He said the overseas Indian affairs ministry is in the process of appointing special officers at the various Indian embassies to address the problems of the diaspora in those countries.
The development congress, inaugurated Friday by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is seen as the unofficial launch of the campaign of the Congress-led United Democratic Front for the forthcoming assembly polls.