Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 14 said the country is prioritising the 'blue economy' and the vision of the government is to improve infrastructure, sustainable coastal development, and coastal connectivity.
Modi, during his visit to Kerala, launched multiple infrastructure and tourism projects, including a Rs 6,000 crore petrochemical complex of oil major Bharat Petroleum and Ro-Ro Vessels of Inland Waterways at Willingdon Island.
After spending the first half of his day in Chennai, the Prime Minister flew to Kochi. Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, along with Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, was also present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister said all the projects being launched would not "only energise the growth trajectory of the state, but also strengthen the journey of India towards an AatmaNirbhar Bharat".
Bharat Petroleum's Propylene Derivatives Petrochemical Complex at Kochi Refinery will produce Acrylates, Acrylic Acid and Oxo-Alcohol, saving about Rs 3,700 to 4,000 crore per annum in foreign exchange.
The Prime Minister said the project will generate employment opportunities and a range of industries would be benefited.
With this, Kochi Refinery became the first Indian refinery to produce niche petrochemicals.
He also dedicated the Inland Waterways Authority's Roll-on/Roll-off vessels at Willingdon Island to the nation. With this project, the trade will be largely benefited as transportation cost and transit time will reduce. It will also lead to reduced congestion on the roads of Kochi.
The Prime Minister also inaugurated Cochin Port Trust's International Cruise Terminal, 'Sagarika'. Constructed at a cost of Rs 25 crore, the terminal would have state-of-the-art facilities, which will promote tourism.
"The government is dedicated to developing infrastructure to boost tourism. The International Cruise Terminal is an example of good tourism infrastructure", said Modi at the ceremony. It will cater to over one lakh cruise guests giving them both comfort and convenience.
Along with the cruise terminal, Cochin Shipyard's campus for marine engineering and training, named 'Vigyana Sagar', was also inaugurated.
Talking about Vigyana Sagar, Modi said, "Vigyana Sagar is the new knowledge campus of the Cochin Shipyard. Through this, we are expanding our human resources development capital."
Constructed at a capital cost of Rs 27.5 crore, the institute has an intake capacity of 114 fresh graduates.
PM Modi laid the foundation stone of Cochin Port Trust's South Coal Berth. According to him, this will bring down logistic costs and improve cargo capacities, both being vital for businesses to prosper.
Modi highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged people to travel to nearby places hence giving a push to local tourism.
"The tourism sector has grown substantially in the last 5 years. India now ranks 34th on the World Tourism Index," he said.
He urged young startups to look into innovative products that will boost local tourism. He also said the government is undertaking several steps to boost the tourism sector, the international cruise terminal being an example.
Coming to infrastructure and the economy, the Prime Minister noted that the country is prioritising the 'blue economy' and the vision of the government is to improve infrastructure, sustainable coastal development, and coastal connectivity.
He said for India, the definition and scope of infrastructure have changed, as the country now looks for not only good quantity but quality as well.
"Rs 110 lakh crore for infrastructure creation has been allocated with special interest to the northeast, coastal, and mountain areas," he said.
India is embarking on a rather ambitious journey of broadband connectivity to every village, he added.
Modi reassured the Indian diaspora in the Gulf of the full support of the Indian government.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian government was sensitive to the needs of the Indian diaspora especially in the Gulf," he said.
He said the Vande Bharath Mission was successful in getting more than 50 lakh stranded Indians back home, many of whom belonged to Kerala.
"The governments of various Gulf nations have also released many Indians who were sadly in prisons there. The government will always speak up for such people," added the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister also touched upon the significant resources and schemes that the Union Budget 2021-22 has allocated to Kerala, which will benefit the state multifold. In the same context, he praised the Kochi metro network and said it had set a "good example of progressive work practices and professionalism".