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Kerala Coir Workers’ Welfare Fund (Amendment) Bill, Kerala Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Facilitation (Amendment) Bill and the Kerala Minerals (Vesting of Rights) Bill introduced in Kerala Assembly

The functioning of the Mining and Geology Department will shift online completely within four months as part of measures to ensure transparency and reduction of corruption, Industries Minister P. Rajeeve told the Assembly on Wednesday.

He said that with the implementation of the complete e-governance system, the public will not have to visit the offices for any purpose and the officials can assess the amount of material mined from their offices.

Mr. Rajeeve was replying to the discussions after the introduction of the Kerala Coir Workers’ Welfare Fund (Amendment) Bill, Kerala Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Facilitation (Amendment) Bill and the Kerala Minerals (Vesting of Rights) Bill. The three Bills were referred to the select committee.

Master plan

He said that a master plan is being prepared to explore the production of value-added products from mineral sand. As part of measures to promote entrepreneurship, the Government will take up a major campaign, ‘Ningalude Samrambham, Naadinte Abhimanam’ (Your venture, State’s pride).

More than 4,000 MSMEs have registered in the State in the past three months. A system has been put in place to ensure that they can start functioning after an initial undertaking and acknowledgement for three years, after which the licence has to be obtained within six months. A fine of up to ₹5 lakh will be imposed if any of the claims made in the undertaking are found to be false. This system of licensing is not applicable in red category areas and wetlands.

Two technology clinics will be opened on a pilot basis for MSMEs as part of measures to aid the technology upgrade of such enterprises. A major technology centre is coming up soon at Angamaly. Four more MSME clusters have also been started.

Major growth

The Minister said that the coir sector has witnessed major growth in the past five years. The dependency on other States for coconut husk has reduced with the production from within the State increasing to 42% from 5% a few years ago.

Regarding questions over appointments to Coirfed, Mr. Rajeeve said that all appointments are being made through the PSC. Advice memos have been issued to 20 persons from the rank list, out of which only 8 turned up.