Kicking off Kerala's golden jubilee celebrations on Wednesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone for two new projects in Thiruvananthapuram—a new terminal for the international airport and a maintenance/hangar unit of Air India.
"Our UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government will give all help for the development of infrastructure of Kerala and we will do everything to improve connectivity, which has been a long standing demand from Thiruvananthapuram," the prime minister said on the occasion.
Manmohan Singh, who landed in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday night and leaves for New Delhi later in the day, complimented the efforts of Keralites all over the world in keeping India's economy on an "even keel".
"The remittances of you Keralites have helped the balance of payments and India's economy is on an even keel."
The areas where the state was lagging behind were industrial development and knowledge-based industries, he said. "With the excellent human development index, progress in healthcare and education, you can catch up."
He gave an assurance that his government would not do anything that would harm the agricultural sector.
"We are aware of the problems in the plantation sector in Thiruvananthapuram and you should be prepared to deal with competition in this sector from friendly neighbouring countries. The need of the hour is to use modern technology to improve agricultural productivity," the prime minister said.
"You have the potential to make a great leap forward and for that the people, political fronts, business and the social structure should come together... And you should never fall prey to sectarian tendencies," he added.