God''s own e-state

Aruna Sundararajan, Kerala's energetic IT secretary, is spearheading an initiative to make the investment-short state a haven for the IT and ITES industry

Aruna SundararajanChennai: Leveraging the equity of its well-known slogan — 'God's Own Country' — Kerala, the /people/profiles/imagesque southern state of India, is now wooing IT and IT-enabled services (ITES) companies with a new slogan: 'God's Own e-State'. Says Aruna Sundararajan, Kerala's savvy IT secretary: "It is a major branding initiative started four months back. And it has started yielding results, thank you."

The negative investor perception ("a state with devil's own people — educated and vocal populace") has been hindering industrial investments coming to the state. Since there was little industry in the state the state's environment did not get affected, though the tourism industry flourished.

But one cannot expect just the tourism industry to feed the entire populace and also lift the Keralites' standard of living. Moreover, with neighbouring states (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh) marching ahead in the IT sector, Kerala — though a tad late — is now determined to attract IT and ITES units stressing on its unique selling proposition: the scenic and salubrious locale.

The god's own e-state is not afflicted with problems that Chennai (water scarcity, with residents including software geeks fighting it out in the streets for drinking water) and Hyderabad and Bangalore (power shortage) face.