I do not have to spend time on explaining Kerala Model of Development to you. Those who studied on the model have stated 'Second Generation Problems' that Kerala face today. I will go one step ahead and call it as 'After the Welfare State' Paradigm for the problems that we face today. Kerala has notorious balance sheet for the money spent on pensions, salaries and perks. Though I welcome your recent steps for reforming Pension sector, I must confess that many in Kerala hardly have the details of the proposed reforms. I wish you would explain the pension scheme in detail in your budget speech.
Water or electricity, they were given at the cheaper rate to everyone irrespective of their income background.
I wish the upcoming budget will propose a road map how separate strategies for poor and rich will be incorporated in the coming years. Kerala's fiscal imbalance is largely due to this 'One size fits for all' approach. Another important step would be the announcement of Disinvestment in Public Sector Undertakings of Kerala. Not getting into the debate of CAG reports, I am sure most of these companies are either irrelevant or lack expertise in the modern times. Rather than allowing them to suck tax payers, the Government shall set the process to dis-invest in those companies. The image of Kerala State Government being the largest entrepreneur in this part of the world do not auger well for the future of the State.
What Kerala requires is the vision for Kerala 2030 - God's own Kerala metro state. Same is the case with the opening up of the sectors like Education and Health creating opportunities for the investors from India and abroad. In both the cases, Kerala has achieved the minimum quality many years ago. But we failed to take them to the next level where the competency and skills are taught. In Higher Education, the present Government should invite reputed foreign universities to set up their campus in Kerala. The budget provisions can facilitate the role of micro health insurers in the market.
The Urban Local Bodies shall be strengthened not by pumping more money but by building the capacities required for an effective Local Self Government. Mayor can be the CEO of the urban Kerala.
Not many have forgotten that the present State opposed the opening up of retail shop (aka FDI in retail) in Kerala. The guidelines at the national level ensures that Kerala cannot have more than 2 or 3 shops. Then why does Government oppose the move? I am sure retail entry in Kerala will expose the general public to the realities of the modern times that would lead to the destruction of psychological barrier in everyone's life here. The question of who is superior among King and Pope will no longer be there. One will have the courage to say that King is Naked and that would be the historic moment for you as the finance minister.