Chief Minister of Kerala
The Kerala government can be considered the government of alternative policy in the country. Kerala has its unique features. In an exclusive interview with BE’s Kishore Kumar Biswas, Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala touched on some economic and political issues of the state and India as a whole. He also expresses his concern over the ill effects of Modi government̕ s policies and believes that left politics only is the alternative.
Q. In what way is your government different from your predecessor LDF governments of the state?
A. It is an undisputed fact that all the Communist-led state governments contributed in shaping modern Kerala or the present Kerala. It is a historical fact that the first Communist government led by EMS Namboodiripad paved the way for development of Kerala. The EMS government took revolutionary measures for the emancipation of downtrodden people of the state. It initiated land reforms. Other Left Front governments followed suit. Of course, we have to adopt different strategies to address different problems time to time. Kerala is number one in major human development Indices. It is first in literacy including the education of women. We have the least maternal mortality rate in the country. It is a state with the least number of communal riots or clashes. Kerala is the most peaceful state and we have lowest crime rates. It is one of the least corrupt states in the nation as per various surveys.
Our focus now is to build better infrastructure because it is impe-rative for developing industry and promoting tourism. We are deter-mined to complete the ongoing infrastructure projects within the stipulated time.
Q. What are the new challenges before you? How are you dealing
A. The government is fully aware of the new challenges confronting the state and the inevitability of addressing these to move forward. “Nava Keralam” action plan has been designed aptly to meet the emerging challenges in core sectors and ensure inclusive development. The four missions launched under the Nava Keralam action plan seek to transform education, health, housing and environment sectors. LIFE Mission is aimed at turning the dreams of homeless families of having a roof over their heads into a reality. Under the project over five lakhs families will be provided residential facilities and the government will take care of the livelihoods of the deserved families. Aardram Mission aims at making family-doctor concept a reality by converting the primary health centres into family health centres. Public Education Mission is intended to achieve global standards for our government and government-aided schools. Haritha Keralam Mission will address the immediate challenges in waste management, protection of environment, conservation of water bodies and popularizing organic farming. Various tasks set by the four Missions will be implemented through local bodies with people’s participation. I have no doubt that the four Missions would bring qualitative changes in the lives of our people.
Q. India has been passing through a critical political situation. A section thinks that in this situation, a strong Left movement is the need of the hour. But the Left political parties are not in the forefront at present. What is your take on this?
A. Only the Left forces are consistent in their fight against Hindutva communal forces. Only the Left forces are serious in their fight against neo-liberal economic policies being aggressively pursued by the Narendra Modi government. As you know, the RSS-BJP combine has aggressively intensified its communal Hindutva campaign since it assumed power in Delhi. People of the largest democratic country are living in a climate of hate and intolerance. These forces are trying to eliminate or crush any voice of dissent.
Q. What is your view on the present economic scenario
A. As I told you the present government at the centre is aggressively pursuing the neo-liberal policies initiated by the Congress government in 1991. These policies are not only detrimental to the interests of the common man but also to the interests of the nation. Hence, the CPIM has been consistently fighting against these policies.
As you rightly mentioned, the overall picture of the economy is gloomy. The Union Government is groping in the dark. The demonetisation move was an utter failure. It caused devastating impacts on our economy. The GST has worsened the situation. Farmers in many states including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Chattisgarh are on the path of agitation. The government is following the diktat of international finance capital, pursuing the neo-liberal economic reforms favouring foreign and Indian corporates has embarked on a such a course which will impose even greater burdens on the vast majority of our people. During the course of last three years, the BJP government has written off corporate loans to the tune of Rs 2 lakh crore. This mega concession for the corporates is now being met through public funding of this recapitalisation. This is tantamount to the Indian people bailing out the banks that are being looted by the corporates.