India visit - Hon Governor Jeevan Thiagarajah Governor Northern Province Sri Lanka
Updated: May 18, 2022
Hon. Jeevan Thiagarajah Governor Northern Province Sri Lanka visited India to urgently forge new partnerships for the Northern Province. The Governor has been working on a Future North initiative to attract industries and manufacturing, and a Destination North initiative for tourism in the Northern Province.
He visited Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahmedabad to discuss inward investments and technology in Education, Energy, Tourism, Manufacturing, Textiles, Aqua Culture, Fisheries, Agriculture, Seeds, Logistics, Packaging and Information Technology.
India has produced over 100 unicorns in the past 2 years. With this achievement, India now boasts of giving birth to 1 out of every 10 unicorns globally today. The term ‘unicorn’ refers to the rarest of the rare start-ups who attain a valuation of more than $1 billion. Last year, India got 44 unicorns with a total valuation of $93 billion. Meanwhile, in the first four months of 2022, India got 14 unicorns with a total valuation of $18.9 billion. The India government launched the Skill India initiative in 2015 to train over 40 crore Indians in different industry-related jobs. The vision has created an empowered workforce with the help of various schemes and training courses. This combined effort has propelled India to become a super power in research, technology, innovation, manufacturing supported by a skilled efficient workforce.
The underlying theme of Hon. Governors visit, and meetings was to discuss an Extended Common Market with India and find like-minded investors from India who would participate and help in the growth of Sri Lanka. All discussions focussed on win-win partnership’s so the Sri Lankan people can upskill, learn global best practices, be introduced to new technology and business methods, and spur entrepreneurship among the youth of Sri Lanka.
Hon'ble Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies Department, Andhra Pradesh Sri. Karumuri Venkata Nageswara Rao, hosted Governor and discussed the food distribution system and organisation in his state, how to improve efficiency, reduce wastage and reach the most vulnerable sections of society effectively. Hon. Minister is also happy to help Sri Lanka source grains and supplies from various producers in the state.
A meeting was organised in Hyderabad with leading producers involved in fisheries and aqua culture to discuss their requirements to setup production and manufacturing units in Sri Lanka. Over 20 companies participated in this assembly sharing their needs and insights to start their units in Sri Lanka. The companies have requested for a follow up meeting with the Hon. Governor in the coming weeks to firm their plans.
From Hyderabad he visited Bangalore, where he was hosted by Hon Minister of Information Technology - Biotechnology, Higher Education, Science and Technology of Karnataka Dr CN Ashwath Narayan. They discussed bringing in Indian IT expertise to Sri Lanka, strengthening and aligning the existing education systems in the Northern Province, and exploring Indian education institutes setting up campuses in the Northern Province for overseas students.
This was followed by a meeting with the CFO FORUM in Bangalore. The CFO FORUM, is a "by-invite" only India CFO group, synergizes thought leadership, subject matter expertise, intellectual acuity to build greater understanding and credibility, amongst the members in their enterprise leadership roles.
Opportunities and investments in the Northern Province Sri Lanka were discussed in areas such as tourism, healthcare and diagnostics, education and training including teachers and nurses, seeds and agriculture, renewable energy, electronic servicing and digitisation, wind turbine manufacturing. The companies in Bangalore have also requested for a second visit by the Hon. Governor to formulate strategies to invest in Sri Lanka.
The next destination was the National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar. NFSU is the world's first Forensic Science University, with state-of-the-art technology, courses, and teaching facilities. Possible partnerships were discussed with the Vice Chancellor Dr. J.M.Vyas including joint courses with existing universities in the Northern Province and the possibility of a NFSU campus in the North. Courses such as Cyber and Digital Forensics and Forensic Psychology can create high end global job opportunities in Sri Lanka and introduce a new era in education.
He then met with the Adani Group, and the Gujarat Chamber Commerce and CEO club. The Adani group expressed interest in setting up sustainable green renewable energy production including green Hydrogen and Ammonia production. The Gujarat Chamber Commerce represented by Dr Jaimin Vasa, president of the Chamber, CEO's of companies from Textiles, Agriculture, Pharmaceuticals, Industrial Manufacturing, Logistics, and Packing from Gujarat, had a fruitful and detailed discussion with the Governor, and have expressed keen interest investing in Sri Lanka in the immediate future. Further discussions are needed on inward investments, regulatory matters, incentives, and policies.
In Chennai he met with the Hon. Minister handling the IT portfolio with a view scoping ICT courses for adults and younger youth including those school going. A parallel discussion following up on an initial meeting in Colombo with former senior government officials and businesses followed up in Chennai looking at cooperation in the field of agriculture, dairy development, and production. A quick follow-on consultation is due with a further cluster of investors. Several investors owning medical campuses have requested policy clearances and agreements to channel energies in the direction of the province.
A meeting at the Sri Lanka mission Chennai resulted in agreement to allocate land for returner refugee families, processing and validation of documentation and investment promotion support to the work of the mission.
During the trip Hon. Governor also discussed donations of medicines required by the entire medical service in Sri Lanka and specifically Food, Grains to support poor families from global donors.
The idea of an Extended Common Market with India was discussed, and the possibility of an India - Sri Lanka conclave involving the top leadership from the Sri Lanka and Indian government, to be held in Gujarat as soon as possible. A Future North conclave was also proposed to spur growth and create a win-win proposition between the Northern Province and India.