Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony has identified a lack of propriety on the part of the State’s ruling class as an obstacle in its progress.

He was speaking after receiving the award for the ‘Malayali of the Year 2007,’ instituted by Asianet, in the city on Friday.

“We do not know when to start a debate, how to conduct a debate and when to end the debate. This is what ails the leadership of Malayalis in the State,” he said.

Attributing the country’s emergence as an economic powerhouse to globalisation, Mr. Antony, however, added that the fruits of globalisation were not evenly distributed across the population of the country, especially in rural areas and in the agricultural sector. “We should introduce parallel projects to help these sectors. For this we need to work with social commitment,” he said.

Presenting the award, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan recalled his long-time association with Mr. Antony. Mr. Achuthanandan also urged the media to act as a corrective force in exposing the ill-effects of globalisation. The function was attended by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, chairman, Asianet.

Paradigm shift needed

Participating in a debate on ‘Kerala: challenges and possibilities’ organised in connection with the presentation of the ‘Malayali-2007’ award, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac called for a paradigm shift in the developmental strategies of the State to tap its newly acquired competitive advantages.

Dr. Isaac said a consensus needed to be developed on the future development strategy of the State after taking into account the changes that had taken place during the past 50 years.

Kerala Congress (M) leader K.M. Mani, Mahatma Gandhi University Vice-Chancellor Jancy James, journalist T.J.S. George, former Chief Secretary Babu Paul and K.P. Mohanan of Asianet spoke.