Kerala considers floating NRI investment bonds

Friday, 06 September 2002, 07:00 Hrs
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala has opened talks with financial institutions for the launch of investment bonds that its cash-rich expatriates in Europe and the U.S. could put their money into.
Minister for Non-resident Keralites (NRK) M.M. Hassan, who is just back from a visit to Germany, said expatriates settled there had echoed the demands of their counterparts living in the U.S. and other European nations for investment bonds that would allow them to contribute to their native state's development.

"The general feeling that the NRKs gave me was that they are prepared to invest in bonds where they could earn attractive interest rates. So we have commenced talks with ICICI Prudential. We have talked with the State Bank of India also," Hassan told reporters here Friday.

"They say they would be prepared to invest in bonds which, when matured, could be used for developmental activities in the state."

According to Hassan, several NRKs in Germany said they would like to contribute something to their native places and suggested developmental activities in their alma maters, hospitals and other institutions with the help of the department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA).
"Our newly formed ROOTS-NORKA company has been given the job of preparing a detailed report with the help of local bodies as to what would be their requirements for local development of 'panchayats' (village council areas)," the minister said.
ROOTS was floated as separate company last month after dissolving the NRK welfare agency, a government-run body.

Hassan also said there was tremendous interest among the children of Keralite expatriates in Germany to learn Malayalam.

"We have asked the education department to prepare CDs and cassettes and also launch a Web site for interaction with experts in the field," the minister said.
"We have worked out a scheme where lessons would be imparted online and at the end of the year a test would be conducted and one girl and one boy who secure the highest marks would be given a free month's stay in Kerala."

Hassan said Joy Valuvathara, a Keralite based in Germany, has expressed his desire to donate about 10 second-hand dialysis machines to ROOTS, which would supply them to hospitals with the help of THE Indian Medical Association.

The only condition Valuvathara has laid down is that poor patients should be treated free of cost.
"He had supplied dialysis machines some time ago, but there was some confusion over the distribution. This time we have assured that such a thing would not happen," said Hassan

Source: IANS
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