Kerala

An appraisal of government’s tenure

The Kerala Shadow Cabinet, an independent civil society initiative of activists, NGOs and individuals, on Saturday released a performance appraisal of the Left Democratic Government’s five year tenure.

While lauding the government for its achievements in the health, education, and other sectors, the report also comes down heavily on it for various missteps, including the Sprinklr deal and the amendments to the Police Act.

According to John Joseph, the core committee head of the initiative, the shadow cabinet was formed in 2018 by four NGOs to track the performance of each of the departments. Nineteen shadow ministers were also sworn in for the purpose.

The appraisal report is being released now at a time when all the three fronts are preparing their election manifestos to send a message to them that the public is seriously tracking the promises they are making.

The report, released at the Press Club here, praises the government for its novel step of releasing an annual progress report. It says that the Opposition, which is in a better position with its access to information, ought to have taken the progress report more seriously and tried to challenge the claims made by the government.

According to the group’s appraisal, the government school infrastructure has improved tremendously, the quality of teachers is raised considerably by continuous training and quality improvement measures. The supply of textbooks is done promptly.

It also notes a turnaround in the general impression about government hospitals, as a place that the people approach with faith and enthusiasm and not with reluctance and reservation. The infrastructure and services of many hospitals have improved. The availability of medicine is ensured. However, there is non-availability of medicines in some places, especially at the Regional Cancer Centre.

Other positives that the report highlights include the establishment of the Kerala Administrative Service, the way the government handled multiple crises, including the two floods and COVID-19, the law introduced by the government which allowed lakhs of women to sit and work at many workplaces like textiles, and leave with salary to pregnant teachers of unaided schools for delivery.

Listing out the government’s failures, the report says that some were of such a nature that even the coalition partners had to stand apart either with criticism or by observing silence.

The reports lists out several instances of the government being compelled to withdraw wrong decisions taken, including the Sprinklr deal, sand-mining from the Pampa river, resignation of the Industries Minister soon after the Ministry came in to power on the allegation of appointment of a relative to a government post, illegal licensing of beer breweries and a distillery, the awarding of marks by the Higher Education Minister, award of consultancy to PricewaterhouseCoopers, amendment to the Police Act, and the latest deep sea trawler issue.

The report also criticises the Chief Minister for appointment of a big team of advisers and also his attitude to the media. It also points out instances of custodial deaths and killing of naxals.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 1:21:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/an-appraisal-of-governments-tenure/article33950060.ece

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