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Local bodies in Kerala will be made pivots of job creation: Govindan

Local Self-Governments Minister says government’s focus is on ensuring better quality life to all sections

Minister for Local Self-Governments and Excise M.V. Govindan has said that the new Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala will give top priority to rejigging local self-government bodies to equip them to become pivots of job creation through linkages with productive and service sectors.

Spelling out his priorities, Mr. Govindan told The Hindu over phone that the government would review the merits as well as shortcomings, if any, of the decentralised planning being implemented in the State as part of the acclaimed People’s Plan Campaign over the past 25 years. The decentralised planning had been able to guarantee basic amenities, including housing, educational and health care facilities and means of livelihood, for people in the lower strata of the society.

“Kerala is the only State in the country where basic amenities have been available for the people to lead a quality life, especially people from Scheduled and backward communities as well as financially weaker people from upper castes,” Mr. Govindan said, adding that the government now wanted to further carry forward those achievements. The government’s mission now was to turn the local bodies into major centres that could provide jobs.

Poverty audit

Among the priorities of the government was to launch a people’s audit to identify the small segment of people who might still be living in abject poverty in the State, Mr. Govindan stressed. The local bodies would be able to intervene in efforts to provide job training and jobs to educated unemployed, including home makers. The government would take the initiative to involve information technology companies across the world to ensure jobs to this section, he said.

Noting that the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government had already taken steps to strengthen the agricultural sector by fixing floor price for agricultural produce in its first term, the Minister said that the government’s focus was to guarantee better quality of life to all sections of the people in the State. The Left Democratic Front’s promise to implement a pension scheme for homemakers was part of this plan, he said.

₹2,500-cr. waste treatment project

The government would also implement, with the cooperation of the people, a proposed ₹2,500-crore World Bank-aided project for centralised garbage treatment and treatment of waste at source, Mr. Govindan said. He also said that a Statewide ward-level sanitation drive would be launched on June 5 and 6 under the aegis of the local self-government institutions in association with the Health Department as part of the government’s effort to combat COVID-19.

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