A new beginning in Kerala

The Indian state of Kerala needs to work towards fiscal equality among the population

Gulf News

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) won a convincing victory in Kerala, India, this past spring. As the victory celebrations die down, it is pertinent to pause for a moment and to take stock of what is really required to move forward. It is easy to adopt stereotypes of a leftist dogmatic view on the economy and the political situation, but society is losing its egalitarianism and inequality is growing. This is where the communist principle of equitable distribution of wealth is increasingly becoming relevant. It is not so much about taking money from the rich and giving to the poor, but making sure that all citizens have an equal opportunity to come up in life.

Kerala is a state where people are strongly rooted in orthodox traditions and beliefs. All social interactions are strictly based on one’s religion and caste. Parents and teachers should teach children human values and how they should respect and enjoy diversity.

The interaction between the government and the public should be minimal. The example of Georgia, a country in the former Soviet Union, comes to mind. From being one of the most corrupt countries in the world, it has come a long way to becoming one of the least corrupt countries. This was mainly on account of proactive action in eliminating departments that were corrupt and did not impact the public good.

Economic development will happen automatically if the Indian government facilitates the creation of sufficient infrastructure. Ideally, a high power infrastructure committee needs to be set up with the Chief Minister and leading technocrats from the state and beyond. This committee should review and approve all significant infrastructure projects with a view to ensure that they deliver the maximum payback to the state.

A good government can be the catalyst for positive change. We can hope and wish that a new dawn of opportunities will come to Kerala.

- The reader is a consultant based in Dubai.