THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: On Thursday, the cavernous members’ lounge of the Kerala Assembly resembled a theatre hall, its plush sofas replaced with hundreds of push-back chairs set atop a raised platform. A makeshift scaffolding framed the dais, holding up the stage lights.
The Kerala Assembly - the venue for the first-of-its-kind Loka Kerala Sabha, a general assembly of sorts for the ‘desi’ and the global Malayalees- is all set to welcome the diginitaries on Friday.
The state government is pumping in `5 crore for the two-day summit which begins on Friday, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said. “All arrangements are in place. Perhaps this will be Kerala’s notable contribution to democracy,’’ he said.
With 351 members that include all 141 MLAs and the MPs from the state plus eminent Malayalis, the Loka Kerala Sabha is designed as a permanent body, a la the Rajya Sabha, which will meet every two years. The fundamental idea is to tap into the investment potential and expertise of the Malayali diaspora for the state’s development. In return, the diaspora will get an opportunity to have a say in their home state’s affairs.
Prominent Malayalees who will be attending include Justice K G Balakrishnan, K J Yesudas, K M Cherian, M S Swaminathan, M S Valiathan, T J S George, K Satchidanandan, K S Chitra, Yusffali M A, Ravi Pillai, Resul Pookutty, Geetha Gopinath and Bose Krishnamachari.
The summit will begin at 9.30 am on Friday with a declaration by Chief Secretary Paul Antony, who is the Secretary General of the body, about its formation. This will be followed by a mass oath-taking by the members.
Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan will explain the procedures of the Loka Kerala Sabha which will be followed by the inaugural address by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the head of the Loka Kerala Sabha.
In the afternoon, five zonal conferences will focus on West Asia, other countries in Asia, Europe and America, other countries of the world and other Indian states. The outcome of the debates in the zonal conferences will be presented in the general assembly at 4.30 pm.
On Saturday, subject-specific meetings will be held on finance, industry/IT/new technologies, problems faced by NRKs, farm and allied sectors, women and diaspora, tourism, education, health and culture.
After the closing ceremony at the Assembly, a public meeting is planned at the Nishagandhi auditorium which will be inaugurated by Governor P Sathasivam.
Who all are members of the Loka Kerala Sabha?
It has 351 members. That includes 141 MLAs, the MPs and the Union Minister from the state which total 174. Whereas, 177 others will represent NRKs who are Indian citizens. They are nominated by the state government. Of this, 42 are Keralites residing in other Indian states, 99 in other countries and six, who have returned home after life abroad. Thirty others will be special invitees. The Chief Minister is the leader of the house and the Opposition Leader, the deputy leader. The Chief Secretary is the Secretary General. A seven-member presidium headed by the Assembly Speaker will regulate the business of the body