Kerala’s trade unions have become far less combative in recent times, but a lingering perception about their militancy continues to leave a section of investors concerned about starting business in the state, the US Country Session at Emerging Kerala noted.
The situation on the labour front has changed for the good, but not the mindset of some entrepreneurs outside Kerala, according to speakers at the session ‘Doing Business with USA.’
As for hartals — as general strikes are called in Kerala — the management of companies can ensure normal attendance by escorting employees to office early, pointed out Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, senior vice president of US-based Cognizant Technology Solutions.
“It was in 1996 that we set up an office in Kolkata. It now has 10,000-odd people on the payroll. Our business in Kochi, too, has flourished over the years,” he said. The two cities came as examples from states known for their strong and long Communist politics.
Earlier, US principal commercial officer (South India) James Golsen and Michael Cathey of the US Consulate in Chennai addressed the session giving briefs about the various kinds of visas issued by their office and the procedures involved in their processing.
Ramamoorthy said New Jersey-based Cognizant, which has 2,000 professionals in Kochi, had grown over the years owing to the encouraging support from the Kerala government and also because the state has abundant talent. “No wonder the rate of attrition in Kochi is among the least in our centres world-wide.” he added.
Golsen said his office had succeeded in cutting down considerably the wait for visa. “We interview as many as 1,000 applicants a day,” he added. Cathey said the US had yet to implement its plans to issue Startup Visas, conceived to help smoother establishment of nascent firms in America.
As for financial aid from Export-Import Bank of India, the delegates were told that the US was trying to ease the process for getting the financial aid.