Special Correspondent

Suicide rate a cause of worry: VS

‘Planning can be successful only if there is happiness’

Human development reports of four districts released

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said here on Monday that Kerala could not remain complacent about its high human development indices, as it also witnessed an increasing number of suicides.

“One of the most worrying issues of our society now is the increasing number of suicides. Thirty-one persons in one lakh population commit suicide in our State every year. This is double the average suicide rate in the country,” Mr. Achuthanandan said while inaugurating a workshop on human development here on Monday.

The workshop was organised by the State Planning Board under a UNDP-Planning Commission project for strengthening State plans to achieve high levels of human development.

The Chief Minister released at the workshop the Human Development Reports of Kottayam, Wayanad, Ernakulam and Kannur districts and Kottathara and Madappally panchayats.

‘Notes of disquiet’

“What is happening at the very basic level in society needs to be examined minutely. We have to study the impact of the social and economic development we have achieved… on the family life and individual psyche of our people. Amidst the claims of our stupendous achievements, we should not miss the subtle notes of disquiet at the micro level,” he said, asking the experts assembled at the workshop to discuss how the State could address the issue of unhappiness.

“Planning can be called successful only when there is happiness also in society, along with the measurable human development indicators,” Mr. Achuthanandan said.

He noted that Kerala’s development experience, with its high human development achievements unaccompanied by commensurate economic development, had attracted the attention of the entire world.

The high stress on human development was an approach initiated by the Communist government of 1957 in the State. Although different political combinations had come to power in the State since then, the path set by the first EMS government could not be changed.

He said the credit for this should go to the politically sensitive and highly literate Kerala society.

State Planning Board vice-chairman Prabhat Patnaik presided over the inaugural session of the workshop.