THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Despite having excellent human development indicators which are on par with even that of the developed countries, Kerala’s growth on the socio-economic front does not match its potential, says Dr Abraham Joseph, former chief Socio-Economic Adviser to the United Nations.
In an exclusive interview granted to ‘The New Indian Express’, Dr Joseph cites bureaucratic hegemony, insensitivity and lack of professionalism as the major reasons for state’s downward spiral in the growth trajectory. While he gives credit to the honest efforts made by the governments in the past and the present, the serious problem yet to be addressed is bureaucratic hegemony and corruption.
“Kerala has a lot of potential and can reach the level of advanced countries as our past performances in the education and health sectors show. Universal access to education and health helped our people to go for smart jobs across the globe. But now it is time for us to focus on three core areas in order to develop the state and create new jobs for our youth,” he says.
“By promoting knowledge-based industries, organic agriculture and responsible tourism we can make a huge difference. We can also generate large number of jobs. Kerala has no prospects for labour intensive industries compared to the neighbouring states,” he points out.According to him, more emphasis should be given to quality inclusive education. Effort should be taken to train the trainers first. “It is a global market. You need to improve communication, writing and soft skills. At the same time we should not allow anyone to be left out,” he reminds.
About the fever epidemic, he said the situation got out of hand due to poor waste management.
“It is unthinkable to let people dump waste in drains and on the streets. Burning of wastes including plastic should not be allowed. Why are we not encouraging waste management? Proper guidelines should be drawn up regarding processing of wastes. Those who litter should be fined like China does,” he says.
About the all India scenario, Dr Joseph is confident the country will maintain its status as the fastest growing economies in the days to come. However, he says there is a need to maintain communal harmony to ensure the ideal condition for economic growth is not disturbed.
An expert in economic
Dr Abraham Joseph is an expert on International Economic Development Policy. Upon completion of his 30-year tenure with the UN, Dr Joseph represented Public Service Institute, University of Oklahoma(PSI/OU) in the UN meetings and contributed to ‘2030 Development Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030)’. He also has represented PSI/OU in the USAID meetings held in New York and Washington DC.
In July 2016, Dr Joseph represented the PSI/OU in the ‘White House Summit on Global Development’ in Washington DC hosted by President Barack Obama and also in the President’s Global Development Council Meetings. As senior socio-economic advisor of the United Nations (UN), he actively contributed to the the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015). Served as senior advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste in 2011 and as chief socio-economic affairs advisor of the UNIM in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).