INTERVIEW WITH KR. GOURI AMMA
About the development agenda of the first E.M.S. Government?
At that time there was no decentralisation. The gravest concern in Kerala was related to the agricultural sector. The then ruling leadership realized that and took agricultural sector as the most important issue. The Agrarian Relation Bill laid the foundation for the development of Kerala. The two outstanding achievements of the E.M.S.Government were the Agrarian Relation Bill and the Education Bill.
As the Revenue Minister of the E.M.S. Government, could you explain more about the Agrarian relation bill?
The Bill was framed with the help of the then Advocate General Surya Narayana Iyer, at the Munnar Guest House in 1957. The Bill was published on 18th December 1957. When the Bill was left to the consideration of the public, nearly 2000 amendments were suggested by them. As the law was enforced, the farmer got tenure ship of land. The farmer got three cents in the corporation area, five cents in the Municipal area and ten cents in the Panchayat area. The farmer toiled hard. Agricultural production increased. Food security was achieved. Prosperity became a reality.
Is a Second Land Reforms Act necessary in the present state of affairs?
My humble opinion is that a new Act is necessary. Today most of the farmers leave their lands barren. Farming ceased to be a source of income to the farmer. In the agricultural field there were no major steps taken to increase productivity. The law was implemented to make the farmer earn income through hard work. The farmers need water, fertilizers, technology, mechanisation etc. But they did not get those things. The banned tenure system has returned. This is illegal. This points out that the scope and aim of the Bill has not been realised. Hence a new Act is inevitable.
Could you relate the changes took place in administrative setup?
In 1957 there was only one corrupt person in the secretariat. What is the situation today? The Government servants believe as if the departments belonged to them only. The servants and their unions should change their attitude. The common people should get access to the various Government departments. There should be security to the life of the ordinary man. His living standard should be increased. The officials who fail to solve the problems of the public should quit.
What about the condition of women in Kerala in the last 50 years?
In the field of education and career, women in Kerala have come out with flying colours. Nevertheless exploitation and violence against women increased considerably. Marriage expenses increase day-by-day