Centre told to emulate State’s moral economy package

The Centre and other States should emulate the ‘moral economy package’ implemented by Kerala to mitigate the woes of migrant workers and other deprived sections battling the rigours of lockdown, says Planning Board member Ravi Raman.

Mr. Raman told The Hindu that when the world was facing a moral economy crisis, Kerala stood tall by expeditiously providing cash, food, cereals and also emotional support to migrant workers, labourers and other vulnerable sections.

“The moral economy package is a wholesome component that would address the problems of marginalised sections during a crisis. Be it a flood, drought or the wanton spread of a virus like SARS-CoV-2, the package is a panacea to the liquidity shortage, starvation and also the emotional trauma on being isolated. The Kerala government while disbursing the welfare pensions in advance, provided food through community kitchens and kits of foodgrain and essentials free of cost. Counselling centres were operationalised to mitigate the emotional turbulence of the quarantined and isolated. This is the right definition for moral economy package,” says Dr. Raman.

Skewed priorities

The Centre and other States that could not proffer a solution to ease the woes of the legions of migrant workers who were constrained to traverse long distances jeopardising their health and even existence in the face of the COVID-19 threat should take a cue from Kerala and implement it in full. “While the Centre waived the loans of corporate giants that turned NPAs smothering the banking system and the entire economy, enhancing the wages of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme never figured on the priorities of the government. The Centre should implement a moral package that would equip such sections to tide over the crisis and the post COVID-19 situation,” he says.

Fiscal leeway

The Centre should also recognise that the need of the hour is to strengthen States and their institutional capacities. It should allow more flexibility in Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act and permit States to issue fresh bonds so that they would get more fiscal leeway.

The pioneering efforts of the State in COVID-19 containment have earned Kerala a place of pride in the international domain and hence this package too would win accolades, he says.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 10:03:36 PM |

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