OF Kerala are to a large extent different from those of
other States; and naturally they have to be tackled in
a different way”. With this sentence Shri Sankaran
Namboodiripad, Chief Minister of Kerala opened and concluded
his conversation with NN Pillai.
Q: Does this
mean that your Government will alter or qualify the Second
Five Year Plan as it applies to Kerala?
A: Yes, we will have
to make some alterations.
Q: Could you
tell me the general nature of such changes?
A: The priorities
in the Plan have to be altered keeping in view the urgent
needs of the State. Also more emphasis will be given cottage
and small-scale industries. We will explore the possibilities
of starting more industries in the State and press the
Central Government to locate some of the big industries
like Ship-building, Rubber Factory, etc. in his State.
Our problem is finance; that is the main hurdle.
Q: And how
do you propose to solve that problem?
A: We will ask the
Centre for an increase in the allocation of funds in the
Second Five Year Plan. We will approach the Finance Commission
also. Kerala has more than 3 per cent of the population
of whole of India. If that had been one of the considerations
determining the size of allocation, the State should have
got much more than what we have been given. Other factors
like the crucial problems of educated un-employment, pressure
on land, absence of scope for further extension of cultivation
to any great extent, industrial backwardness of the State,
development potentialities etc. also shall have to be
considered. I am sure that the Central Government will
favourably consider our case if it is properly presented.
Q: What is
your impression of the working of the Community Development
Projects in the State?
A: The latest evaluation
report, I am told, does not give a very encouraging picture
of the progress of development projects in Kerala. I have
not studied it in detail. It is too early for me to say
anything about the working of the project. But I feel
that the contents of the development programme as it applies
to Kerala should have been different from the pattern
of other States. Our problems are entirely different.
Our village have very little in common with the north
Indian Villages. Probably a common pattern may not suit
even all the areas of the State alike because problems
vary from place to place. Fixing up of targets and chalking
out programmes without intimate knowledge of the immediate
needs of the project area not yield impressive results.
Therefore the general pattern and the contents of the
programme have to be altered in such a way as to suit
the needs of the people and the area chosen for development.
Q: What will
be the effect of nationalization of foreign-owned estates
on the economy of Kerala?
A: That is a big question.
Putting the answer in a nutshell, the huge profit now
flowing out of the country every year will then be available
for the development of the State. We require more funds
to invest in various programmes. Nationalization of foreign-onwed
estates will be a very natural step to strengthen the
economy of the State. Of course, we have to pay compensation
to the estate-owners.
Q: Do you
think that this step, may scare away the foreign investors?
A: I don’t think
this will in any way discourage foreign investors who
are really interested in reasonable returns and also in
the progress of this country. We are paying back the capital
and the investors will not have to lose anything. In fact,
we will welcome people who can invest money on new industries
in the State. They will be entitled to reasonable profits.