God’s own country is gearing up for elections & the political reality show is heating up day by day. The opposition party has chosen to expose the shades of scam & corruption by the current ruling party to win the hearts of voters.
Now,before we get to that topic, what intrigues me is the complete silence any of the political fronts have taken on serious issues, which really grips and holds the key to the growth of the state. Let’s have a quick look at these topics :
Smart City Kochi : Is it really Smart ?
There has been reports of how some major IT companies stayed away from Smart City and most of the companies who leased out space in the IT SEZ (Special Economic Zone) don’t really require to be in an IT SEZ area. The ruling party has been in the forefront in terms of announcing how smart city was made a reality under their leadership and in a rush to inaugurate the project before poll dates were announced. One might debate that had the project taken off as planned during 2004-05, things would have been very different.
More than 60% of youth prefers to work outside Kerala post their UG/PG.
Though I don’t have an official record to make this claim. Having done a dipstick myself with a sample size from professional and arts colleges with 1000 students, a staggering 60% students does not want to stay back and work in the state and prefer to migrate to to other cities. One might argue, when the state has the most pathetic unemployment rate in the country, what choice does the young generation have ? I fear that the trend has more to do with the uncertainty in policies/direction and also lifestyle restrictions the younger generations have within the state.
Has the first & biggest IT park in the country & yet IT exports fall short behind Karnata
Now 7 SEZ in Kerala Vs 17 in Karnataka is not my point of discussion here. Even after pioneering into IT when other states were taking baby steps, Kerala and its infrastructure didn’t grow to match the industry growth and naturally the opportunity was lost to cities like bangalore,Gurgaon & so on. Different governments and public policies ensured that the concept of technopark has not grown at the pace it deserved. Now, we have the ruling party advertising about Smart City in its election communication but the point irrespective of who comes into power, our leaders lack the eye for detail and going far with whatever they start.
First state to unveil Entrepreneurial policy in the state but the ease of doing business score is 18
What good is Rs.2500 crores kept for promoting the startup eco-system when the state’s machinery puts itself in exactly the opposite direction. The ease of doing business score of the state, is at a level which really needs to be relooked at if the government is serious about these policies. I have a had detailed look at why startups fail in Kerala, though this certainly is only, one of the problems there’s more to be looked upon beyond setting up a policy. The fact is successful companies from Kerala, eventually moves out taking the IP and everything else away from the state.
Highest deficit in India yet fiddles with major revenue sources
When Taxes from liquor sales ( 120% ) & tourism being major revenue source for the government machinery, one would think that they might be areas where some level of stability might be observed. Yet, in a surprising spin the ruling government has done the unthinkable, to certain voter segments. The nightmare is just beginning, from what it looks.
The biggest remittances might be soon cut short: the NRI syndrome
The recent report of remittances from middle east touching 1 lakh crore followed by oil price crisis which resulted in a recession like stage in the middle east is a time bomb ticking fast. The ‘ Money order economy’ as it is called relies too much on these foreign remittances and with instances of crisis hitting hard on the NRI community, this is a sign that it’s time to rethink about the ease at which economic policies are shaped.
Model governance, UN award , Live video for Transparency yet a government trapped by scams at the highest level
The UDF government has had the goodwill of the people, that’s the only explanation on how it managed to be in power for two consecutive terms. We have seen populist programmes like CM’s outreach program getting the UN Award and the recent one where Kerala & Karnataka tops in the good governance index. However, towards the end of its term it seems that the machinery or people within have got a bit sloppy and have found itself between scams & corruption charges.
For now, I shall stop with this.
P.S : I have always been a pro congress voter but irrespective of who forms the next government what is important for me is that we march forward as a state and not get blinded by power greedy politicians.
Let’s not make this about politics, this state requires good people to lead the show.
[pullquote cite=”author and environmentalist Bill McKibben” type=”left, right”]Its infant mortality rate is very low, its literacy rate among the highest on Earth, and its birthrate below America’s and falling faster. Kerala’s residents live nearly as long as Americans or Europeans. Though mostly a land of paddy-covered plains, statistically Kerala stands out in social development; there’s truly no place like it.[/pullquote]
It’s good to see LDF side swinging in from their deep sleep with what looks like an eye for detail, their campaign communication though mostly dig on UDF have some well thought ideas of welfare for the elderly population. ( 11.2% of Keralites are age 60 )
If you are reading this, I have only one request. For once, forget your pedigree for left or right politics and ask the right questions. Ensure that the people who are going to run this state, know what it means to have such a responsibility. To start with, let me give some points to start these questions :
- How are we solving the highest unemployment
- and suicide rates.
- Lowest Ease of doing business score. Read more here.
- Freedom or Civil rights to choose one’s own lifestyle : Uncertain laws on Alcohol consumption
- More PPP driven infrastructure projects
- Better Road ( Wider ) infrastructure
The way things have been functioning, i think we have taken our tagline a bit too literally – God’s own country.
Image credits : Manish