The 22nd Congress of the CPI(M) salutes the people of Kerala, and commends the commitment of the Left Democratic Front Government led by the CPI(M) to defending the historical gains of the toiling people, and building a secular, democratic, Left alternative for social and economic development.
The engine of economic change for which Kerala is justly famous in India and the world is the investment that it makes in its people. This effort was spearheaded by the first Communist Ministry of 1957 and continued by the Left Democratic Front Government today. With respect to education, Kerala has the highest levels in India of literacy, school enrolment, and retention for all children and separately for boy and girl pupils, pupils from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and rural and urban pupils. In respect of the main indicators of health outcomes – for example, life expectancy at birth, infant mortality, and maternal mortality – Kerala’s achievements are the best in India and draw international attention. Kerala leads the States with respect to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are to be achieved by 2030.
The Congress notes that, even as the Government of India has abandoned Five-Year Plans and has disbanded the Planning Commission, the Government of Kerala has reiterated its commitment to the planning process. In each of the development sectors, while working within the overall federal framework, a conscious effort is being made to design alternative development policies.
The Congress is proud to note that, today, under the Left Democratic Front Government, Kerala is the only State in India to implement a policy of gender budgeting in its Annual and Five-Year Plans, to set aside almost 25 per cent of its State Plan as untied funds to local bodies, and to allocate a larger proportion of its Plan funds to people of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes than the proportion of these groups in the population. Persons of the Scheduled Castes have been trained and appointed as priests in temples in the State. No State has such a wide network of measures for total social security and pensions for its working people and poor. Kerala is the first State in India to create a Plan scheme dedicated to transgender people. The percentage increase in budgetary allocations to schemes for persons with disabilities has been in the double digits. This year, District Plans have been drafted for all districts in the State – Kerala is the first State to achieve this. In 2017-18, the rate of increase in enrolment in public schools exceeded that of private schools, and, for the first time, there was a movement of school pupils away from the private sector to the public sector in school education. Following an infusion of funds into public sector production units in 2017-18, State public sector undertakings in the chemical and electronic sectors changed from loss-making to profit-making enterprises.
The Congress notes that the Left Democratic Front Government has initiated four campaign-based Missions for socio-economic development: the Haritha Keralam Mission in the spheres of environment, biodiversity, and water resources), the Aardram Mission (for people-friendly health facilities), the School Education Mission for public education, and the LIFE Mission (for housing and livelihoods).
Given the high commitment to expenditure on social infrastructure, Kerala faces a high revenue deficit and finds it difficult to mobilise budgetary resources for infrastructure development. The stringent norms dictated by the Fiscal Responsibility Budget Management (FRBM) Act and discrimination by the Central Government are major obstacles to resource mobilisation and efforts at pro-people development. The Congress notes that the Government of Kerala has had to start a number of innovative means to mobilise financial resources for capital investment.
Given the Kerala Government’s determination to pursue policies of pro-people, secular, and democratic policies, it is no wonder that it has become the particular target of the RSS-BJP combine, who have publicly declared that Kerala is its next target for destabilisation.
The 22nd Congress of the CPI(M) calls upon all Party units to stand in solidarity with the people and the Left Democratic Front Government of Kerala. It is confident that the people of Kerala will defeat the challenges posed by neo-liberal and Hindutva forces.