In order to support and create job opportunities for the influx of NRIs returning to Kerala due to job loss, the Kerala government has launched a new project.
‘Dream Kerala’ was launched by the state cabinet to support these returning NRIs and to determine how to use their skill sets for the state’s growth.
“NRI remittances are a huge part of the state’s economy. In 2018, NRIs investments in Kerala amounted to Rs 85,000 crore. It could have moved up to 1 lakh crore in the subsequent years. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a financial crisis and 52 percent of NRIs returning to Kerala have lost their jobs,” CM Pinarayi stated in his press conference on Wednesday.
The government will hold a Dream Kerala Ideathon between July 15 and 30 in order to receive suggestions and ideas from the public on ways to develop the state and create opportunities.
The submissions will be reviewed by an expert committee of industry heads and young civil servants, who will pick the best ideas and advise concerned departments on the same.
The expert committee formed for this purpose by the state government will be chaired by former Chief Secretary Dr KM Abraham and include Dr Saji Gopinath, head of Kerala Startup Mission, SD Shibulal, former CEO and MD of Infosys, C Balagopal, founder of Terumo Penpol, Sajan Pillai, Founder and Managing partner of Season Two ventures, Byju Raveendran, founder of Byju’s and Abdul Razak, MD of VKC group.
On the ideas that have been chosen, the concerned state departments should take a decision on implementing them within a week. The idea can then be implemented over 100 days, the CM added.
Bus fare hike
The Kerala cabinet has also to raise bus fares, following demands from bus operators and crew as the sector is facing a severe financial crisis due to the pandemic.
Although the minimum rate of Rs 8 will remain, the minimum travel distance has been reduced from 5 kms to 2.5 kms.
The rate for one kilometre will also range from 70-90 paise.
These revised rates will continue until the number of coronavirus cases in the state start dipping.
Over 5000 booked for not wearing mask
The CM added that 5373 cases were registered on Wednesday on people who were caught not wearing masks. Fifteen cases were registered for violating quarantine.
From May 7 to now, 870 flights and 3 ships have brought in stranded Malayalees back home.
Six hundred chartered flights carrying NRI Keralites have landed in the state, with the most number of flights - 446 - coming from UAE and carrying over 73,000 passengers.
In total, 1,43, 147 NRI Keralites have landed in the state out of which 52 percent had lost their jobs. Over 46,000 people among this group had returned due to expired visas.
151 persons test positive for virus
On July 1, Wednesday, Kerala reported 151 positive cases of coronavirus. 132 patients had recovered from the diseases, taking the total number of active cases to 2131.
Out of those tested positive, 86 patients had returned from abroad, 81 patients from other states and Today - 86 - foreign return and 13 had got the disease through contacts.
“Among those tested positive, Malappuram had 34 cases, Kannur 27, Palakkad 17, Thrissur 18, Ernakulam 1, Kasargod 10, Alleppey 8, Pathanamthitta 6, Kozhikode 6, Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam 4 each, Kollam and Wayanad 3 each and Idukki 1,” the CM confirmed.
Around 1,57,219 persons are under observation for COVID-19 in the state, out of which 2831 persons have been admitted to hospitals. On Wednesday, 290 persons were admitted to hospitals for observation.
Samples of 50, 00,448 persons belonging to groups with higher exposure have been tested as part of the sentinel surveillance tests. Out of these, 48,00,448 samples returned negative.
Currently, there are 124 hotspots in the state.