Hailing Kerala's development model, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday claimed that despite a low level of per capita income in the past, the southern state was able to create certain socio-economic conditions that enabled the majority of its citizens to attain a superior standard of living and ensure human dignity.
This was not the case in most parts of India or even some third-world countries, he said, adding that the southern state was able to make these achievements by fighting a host of issues including caste and gender discrimination.
The Chief Minister, while inaugurating an interactive programme between Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee and senior government officials here, said a key feature of public action in the state has been that policies have been guided by an inclusive planning process.
Detailing the gradual growth of the state in the development front, Vijayan said Kerala became famous in the field of development from 1970 onwards because of its success in advancing a number of social welfare indicators.
The advances were made despite comparatively low levels of per capita income in the state, he said.
"Yet, Kerala was able to create certain socio-economic conditions which enabled the vast majority of its citizens to enjoy a superior standard of living and human dignity," the Chief Minister said.
Even though the Union government has disbanded the Planning Commission, the state government continues with the five year planning and the annual plan, he said.
Kerala is now planning to use all its achievements in human development as a springboard for furthering its growth in the productive sectors of our economy, he added.
"We are focussing on knowledge-based industries in an effort to create a people-centric knowledge economy. We are utilising science and technology and imparting modern skills to ensure overall economic growth," Vijayan said.
The Chief Minister also said the state government is modernising and enhancing the higher education sector and equipping the youth with the best forms of skilled employment in such a way that it would usher in a modern economy.
The state government's objective is to raise living standards to that of an advanced middle income country over the next 25 years, he said, adding that its guiding principle is inclusiveness that leaves no person behind and protects social and economic rights.
He said the end of global poverty would remain unthinkable if the basic liberties and freedom of people do not expand.
Quoting the Niti Aayog's Multidimensional Poverty Index, he said Kerala has the lowest percentage of poor population at 0.71 per cent.
Over 67,000 families have been identified in the southern state which would require focussed assistance, Vijayan said adding that the LDF government is committed to eradicate extreme poverty in the state by 2026.
Kerala's development experiences indicate that multi-pronged approaches are required to end poverty, he said, adding that scholars must focus on addressing exploitations and discriminations rooted in class, caste and gender.
Stating that the welfare indicators of the government must play a pivotal role in the designing of development policies, he said Kerala established a new social security network that includes public health centres, schools, ration shops and welfare pensions through affirmative legislative measures.
"Kerala takes pride in bringing as many people as possible out of poverty and discrimination," he said.
The Chief Minister also requested Banerjee to collaborate with universities in the state and to highlight these concerns in his future studies and writings.
-With PTI Input