‘The success of Kerala model was that the investment made by the State in human resources had paid off.’

What the State needs is a bold financial policy which can raise the quality of life of the people, the former Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has said.

He was speaking on ‘Development’ as part of a lecture series organised by the Kerala University College Union here on Thursday.

If there should be job opportunities for the people in the State, there should be a complete reorientation in the views about development. For this, the State should attract investments in areas of core competency. There should be development in the productive sectors and there should be availability of quality jobs that could guarantee social security to the people, he said.

In the 1950s, even when there was a vicious circle of underdevelopment in the State, what made Kerala different from other States was its knowledge-craving society. Education was the trigger that brought social change, as history showed us. The demand for literacy by people in all strata of society proved to be a cornerstone in the successful development of the State. Even when there was low per capita income, there was significant improvement in the living conditions of the people. Kerala invested in human resource and was less concerned about the slow economic growth. The success of the Kerala model was that the investment made by the State in human resource had paid off. People who went to work abroad contributed to the economic growth. But today, this literate society lacked better educational opportunities.

Everyone talked about the treasures at the Sreepadmanabha Swamy Temple. Why could not one utilise these treasures and invest in world-class educational and research programmes? If that became a reality, no one would depend on private educational institutes for education anymore, Dr. Isaac said.

It was better to have a bullet train than investing in high-speed highways. Kerala was becoming a mono-mode transport economy. The State had completely neglected waterways, and the rail system did not suffice the demand. In order to achieve all this, the State needed a bold financial policy, he said.