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Youth say New Kerala is ours too, hear us

Youth say New Kerala is ours too, hear us

Published:07 December 2021

# Ajayan

While the debate on New Kerala focused on experts in their respective fields, it is the youth who matter much as they are the ones who will have to bear the brunt of misdeeds more in the State’s development march over the years

Kochi | While the debate on New Kerala focused on experts in their respective fields, it is the youth who matter much as they are the ones who will have to bear the brunt of misdeeds more in the State’s development march over the years.
Since their voices are to be heard, since they are the ones to take this State forward to higher and better and sustainable levels, Metro Vaartha speaks to a set of young boys and girls who are very much concerned about the way their State is going. Their concerns need to be addressed as they have a vision of their homeland and earnestly want to be part of readying a fresh roadmap to fresh development.

(Parvathy Sunaina))

Kerala has done an incredible job in sustaining its health status at levels comparable with much developed nations. It has long attained health-related SDG targets, set for 2030, but is now grappling with second generation problems, similar to those of developed regions, says Parvathy Sunaina, an Associate Fellow with the Centre for Socio-economic and Environmental Studies in Kochi, having research interests in Kerala's development issues, marginalisation and health. Instead of resting on its laurels, Kerala must focus on sections of the population such as the elderly, those with disabilities and other recognised outliers of the Kerala model like the tribal community. Often in discussions on vulnerable sections, comparison is only made with other States lagging behind, not more developed countries. The State must consider emulating models from developed countries with adaptations to suit its social and cultural context.


Let the absolute powers in the title administrative roles that have been in the hands of men for so long be transferred to women for new Kerala. It gives new hope, says Jishnu M, programme coordinator on agroecology.
Women always care about safe food and family health. They make small kitchen gardens and fulfil the healthy diet needs of the family. They do not need to be taught how to use or reuse things at home. From buying essentials to waste management, they always have a plan and successfully execute it. They are capable of expanding and reducing a family's economic policy based on resource availability. Women have a predominant contribution to environment conservation movements.
In spite of inequalities in our society, they have now come to the frontline and proved they can fit into any roles in any field. They are the ones who make sustainable ideas and policies practical in daily life. Their arrival in the main centres of power in Kerala will give great hope. Let us now fight for proper male empowerment. Let a new Kerala be born, he says.

Incidentally, Kerala was one State that came out against the Centre’s farm laws. Yet, the State’s development is limited to the Rs 64,000-crore K-Rail project, says Savitri, a college student. While there have been a number of social changes, it was the 2018 floods which kicked off debates on environmental issues. But nothing fruitful has happened three years down the line. Unfortunately, while globally discussions on environmental issues are happening, Kerala does not seem to have taken the matter seriously. The very existence of the State hinges on having a right perception of the environmental challenges to the State.


For Pavitra, an assistant director on sustainable development at Salim Ali Foundation and paddy farmer, priority should be to save all our paddy fields and waterbodies. Youth should be allowed to get on lease uncultivated land for farming. Agriculture should be treated like any other job and farmers should be paid salary, she argues. Farmers should be remunerated well for their produce. Taking the State forward, the focus should be proper waste management. Focus should be on skill-oriented education and gender equality should be promoted. On projects, she wants the Government to abandon the Silverline K-Rail project and instead focus on improving the existing rail system. As part of a green initiative, Pavithra wants bicycle paths on roads.
(Aswathy Rebecca Asok)

Growing indebtedness among economically poor households of rural Kerala should receive immediate attention from the policy makers, which would have been aggravated in the context of the Covid pandemic, says Aswathy Rebecca Asok, pursuing here PhD in Portsmouth University in the UK. Besides the presence of moneylenders, the deep penetration of private microfinance institutions, charging very high interests from women groups, is a matter of serious concern. To rescue households from potential debt traps, focus should be to improve their income by revitalising local economies. While Kudumbashree makes commendable efforts in resolving the credit inaccessibility of women in the State, more attention should be given to attract its members to income-generating activities. The capacity building of rural poor, considering the local peculiarities and the market needs should be undertaken with the coordinated efforts of civic bodies, Kudumbashree and cooperative institutions.
(Ajith Tomy)

Let the youth lead, is what Ajith Tomy, programe officer of climate action programme of NGO Thanal, has to say. The series of disasters has proved that our State is highly vulnerable to climate change. The young are really worried and concerned. They repeatedly talk about climate change and SDGs and their voice deserves more attention, says Ajith, working on the Meenangadi carbon neutral project. Climate action and environmentalism must become a profession. The time, energy and knowledge of more young people should be utilised on our path to sustainability. We need more climate/environment activists and they should be heard.



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