Unveiling a platform for non-resident Keralites, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today pitched for making use of their expertise and investments for the progress of the state. He was delivering the inaugural speech at the first two-day session of "Loka Kerala Sabha" (LKS), a new concept of the state government envisaging cooperation toward progress of the state. Outlining the concept and purpose of the LKS, which would have an advisory role without the powers of a legislature, he said it would play a vital role in engineering meaningful cooperation and work toward Kerala's progressive development. The LKS would also provide a venue for the NRKs to expound on their worries and problems and find a solution. The sabha will have 351 members including MLAs and MPs representing the state with 178 nominated members representing Kerala expatriates. The Chief Minister is the leader and the Leader of the Opposition in the assembly the deputy leader of the sabha which will meet at least once in two years. Noted NRK businessman Yusuff Ali and well-known actress Revathi are among the five personalities selected as presidium members of the sabha. Vijayan said the sabha would play an important role in making sure that the Keralities who live outside the state would also have a meaningful participating in taking decisions on Kerala's social-cultural and economic matters. Stating that though Kerala was one of the states that gets large amount of workers remittance from abroad, Vijayan said there were no projects for utilising the investments of NRKs for the development of the state. The LKS would be able to offer a perfect platform to seek solutions to these problematic issues after drawing attention of the Centre and the state government and general public. The Chief Minister said remittances from abroad played a vital role in the economy of the state, but major portion had remained in non-reproductive sectors. "The effort now is to change that scenario," he said. Vijayan said NRKs shold channel their investments in infrastructure development in Kerala through the Kerala Infrastructure Development Fund Board. Another area the LKS would focus was to stop the 'brain drain' and make it 'brain gain' for the state, he said. Vijayan asked the Centre to come out with a migration policyand said lack of such a policy had resulted in "gross injustice" to the Malayalee expatriate community, estimated to be 24 lakhs mainly concentrated in the Gulf countries. He also wanted the Centre to set up a consortium for the rehabilitation of diaspora returning to the country. "It is pertinent to make an earnest effort to exploit huge possibilities and fulfil responsibilities toward the NRKs', he said. Leader of the Opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala, Rajya Sabha deputy Chairman P J Kurien and state assembly speaker P Sreeramakrishnan were among those present.
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