KOCHI: A Shadow Cabinet for closely monitoring the functioning of the state government and raising voice against the wrong policies adopted by it was formed here on Saturday.
Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of B R Ambedkar, administered the oath to advocate Asha who was elected Shadow Chief Minister of Kerala at a function here.
Formed by the people associated with various NGOs and social workers to closely watch the government policies and decisions, it will be the public's voice when the government divert from the welfare path.
Along with the Chief Minister, 16 ministers were also sworn in during the function held at Changampuzha Park here. Jayshree Chantharath was sworn in Revenue Minister. Anil E P (Finance), Merlin Philomina (Fisheries), Babu Paul (Tourism, Corporation and Dewasom), Mini K (SC-ST and Law), John P T (Agriculture), Silvi Sunil (Transport), Prem Kumar T R (Water Resource), Lekha Kavalam (Forest), Surendra P N (Health and Social Justice), Adina Sunder (PWD), Major Anish (Industries), Faisal Faizu (Civil Supplies), S Joseph (LSG), Vincent Maliackal (Excise) and Anil Jose (Education) are the other ministers.
According to Prakash Ambedkar, all political parties have been adopting the same policies over the years. "The governments go overboard about development, but hardly address the real issues concerning the public. They boast about the growing GDP, but speaks nothing about equal distribution of the wealth created by GDP. Ever since 1990s when the country's economy underwent a sea change, hardly 2 per cent of the population can be called wealthy in India. Now, wealth is confined to a few persons in the country. The purchasing power of the masses, in general, have declined over the years. All these issues will hit us hard in the long run," he said
Ambedkar said even as the people believe India is a united nation, a question emerges whether our society is an integerated one. "Within the democracy, there is a trend wherein people speak of alternative governance. We have no indigenous idea of development and try to ape the West," he said.
He alleged corruption is eating into the funds set apart for the tribal welfare programmes. "While corruption thrives, children suffer from malnutrition. There is a belief that sins can be washed away by bathing in the Ganga, which gives people the licence to commit the sins," he said.
He said governance does not mean economic development alone. Appreciating the development policy adopted by the Sikkim government, he said: "It believes everyone in the state should be happy, for which the citizens should have a house and decent livelihood. They focus on overall development of each individual," he said.
Sworn in Chief Minister Advocate Asha said the Shadow Cabinet is a novel initiative and it's not against the government. "The intention of the Shadow Cabinet is to strengthen the government. We want a responsible government. Through social auditing and studies, we can help the government," she said.