THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: “Politics is quite important for any society to move forward. It determines the dynamics of governance and human development anywhere,” stressed Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Global Director of Democratic Governance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and former Cabinet Minister of South Africa.
In a free-wheeling conversation with ‘Express’ while on a two-day official visit to the state, Geraldine Fraser, who had participated in the freedom movement of South Africa and also served as a cabinet minister twice, said that it was amazing to get a closer look at Kerala.
Why the world is looking at Kerala as a case study in various spheres?
It is the strong fundamentals existing in the democratic governance and human development which is remarkable. The ability of the people to adapt to changes and respond while maintaining a keen assessment of human development indices and quality of life are phenomenal in Kerala. And accountability of a system is very important, wherein, politics has played a crucial role. The Kerala model has drawn strength from such factors. Eminent economist Amartya Sen and many others have taken note of these features.
If you compare it with SA or other nations you are now acquainted with as a key functionary of the UNDP ?
In the past two years, there has been a number of popular protests across the world. Be it in the Arab and Middle East nations or even in Tunisia, which has a strong economic base, mass protests were spontaneous. And in all countries, the core of the rebellion was the demand for proper delivery of social service.
How would you judge the role of women in shaping the Kerala society and its marked achievements?
It is visible and promising. But I’ve to do more research on it.
The UNDP director said that it was an experience to view the functioning of Chief Minister’s office in the Secretariat and the way people accessed him without any hindrance. “I was looking whether the web casting of the Chief Minister’s office was a fool-proof mechanism,” she said in a lighter vein.
The UNDP has evinced keen interest to partner in the e-governance programme of Kerala, which has been reciprocated on a same note by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
“There are immense scope for betterment of governance even further by making use of the technological progress,” she said. Geraldine Fraser left for Kochi on Saturday morning, after her first visit to the state. “It is my first visit to Kerala, though I had been longing for it for quite sometime. I would like to come back again,” she said.