Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Assembly,
I have great pleasure
in once again greeting you personally and wishing you
well in fulfilling the great tasks that lie ahead of you.
You have had a busy time since I addressed you last. Sitting
more often than at any time previously, you have in one
way or other dealt with 46 Bills; 33 out of these have
already become law, while the rest are going through the
various stages of legislation.
Such large scale legislative activity had to be undertaken
by you partly because of the need for unification of laws
to which reference had been made by me in April last.
The task of unifying the laws has not yet been completed,
and therefore you are bound to be as busy in the next
few months as you have been during the last nine months.
You have, however, not been confining yourselves to the
unification of laws already in force; you have also been
busy with new legislations framed in pursuance of the
policies outlined by my Government. Important among these
are the Kerala University Bill, the Kerala Education Bill,
the Kerala Forest Bill, and the Agrarian Relations Bill.
The Bills that are under preparation and are likely to
be placed before you before I would have another opportunity
to meet you are the following:-
1. The General Sales Tax (Amendment) Bill, 1958
2. The Madras Essential Articles Control and Requisitioning
(Temporary Powers) Amendment Bill, 1958.
3. The Kerala Re-enacting Bill, 1958.
4. The Kerala Cinemas (Regulation) Bill, 1958.
5. The Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Bill,
6. The Kerala Dowry Prohibition Bill, 1958.
7. The Christian Succession Acts (Repeal) Bill, 1958.
8. The Panchayats (Validation of Imposition and Collection
of Rates, Taxes, Cesses and Fees) Bill, 1958.
9. The Kerala Nambudiri Bill, 1957.
10. The Madras Marumakkathayam (Amendment) Bill, 1957.
11. The Kerala Compensation for Tenants Improvements Bill,
12. The Sthanam Properties (Assumption of Temporary Management
and Control) and the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Bill,
13. The Kerala High Court Bill, 1957.
14. The Kerala Agricultural Pests and Diseases Bill, 1957.
15. The Kerala Money Lenders Bill, 1957.
16. The Jenmikaram Payment (Abolition) Bill, 1957.
17. The Kerala Indebted Agriculturists Relief Bill, 1957.
18. The Kerala Lime-Shells (Control) Bill, 1957.
19. The Travancore-Cochin Medical Practitioners (Amendment)
20. The Co-operative Societies (Laws) Amendment Bill,
21. The Madras Probation of offenders (Amendment) Bill,
22. The Kerala Irrigation Bill, 1958.
23. The Profession Tax (Validation and reassessment) Bill,
24. The Judicial Proceedings (Validation) Bill, 1958.
25. The payment of wages (Kerala Amendment) Bill, 1958.
26. The Kerala Village Courts Bill, 1958.
27. The Kerala Court Fees and Suits Valuation Bill.
28. The Kerala Stamp Bill.
29. The Kerala Cattle Trespass Bill.
30. The Kerala Agrarian Relations Bill.
You will agree with me that this is a formidable list
which will keep you fully occupied.
Just as in the case of you, Members of the Legislature,
so too in the case of my Ministers and Officers the last
nine months have been a period of intensive activity.
Quite apart from the work connected with the preparation
of legislative measures, they have had to deal with such
complicated problems as integration of services, unification
of the rules and procedures connected with Governmental
work at various levels, the preparation of the Second
Five Year Plan for Kerala out of the Plans already prepared
for the former Travancore Cochin State and for the Malabar
part of Kerala etc. On these and other complicated problems
which have had to be dealt with by the Government, much
has been done, but much still remains to be done.
On the integration of services, for example, the Government
has almost completed their consideration of the various
proposals which emerged out of the work of the Committee
of Service Associations presided over by Shri Chatterjee
of the Central Home Ministry; it is hoped that the decision
of the Government on these questions can be announced
within a month.
I may take this opportunity to draw your attention, to
the fact that the Second Five Year Plan has been and is
even now, facing certain difficulties, as has been pointed
out by the Planning Commission and Government of India.
Though great advances have been made in the matter of
industrial and agricultural production, these advances
have not kept pace, either with the requirements of the
nation or with what could have been expected in view of
the large investments that have been made. There is, therefore,
shortage of food which has been causing concern to us
all. Difficulties are also there in the matter of raising
enough financial resources-both internal, as well as foreign
exchange-for the implementation of the Plan.
While these difficulties connected with the Plan are of
an All-India character, they are far truer of our State
than of any other State in the country.
I had made reference, in April last, to the concern felt
by my Government at the deteriorating food situation.
Subsequent developments have shown that this problem is
seriously affecting the entire country. The Government
of India have had to take several steps to meet it, such
as the adoption of the Essential Commodities Control Order
by the Parliament, the formation; of the Southern and
Other Food Zone and the appointment of the Asoka Mehta
Committee. The problem is, however, far more serious in
our State than in any other State, firstly because no
other State has such a huge deficit in food as our second
because the present food shortage is primarily a shortage
of rice, the staple food of the people of our State. The
position, therefore, is bound to continue to be serious
during the next few years.
The only real and final solution for this problem is,
in the opinion of my Government, additional production
of rice in our own State. Our entire people have to be
made so conscious of the need for increasing food production
that they should refuse to be guided by the outmoded theory
that there is something inherent in our soil and climate
which makes it impossible for ;us to become self-sufficient
in the matter of food. It has been acknowledged by experts
in the line that the full utilization of all available
irrigational resource and techniques can raise the level
of production to the extent of three or even four times
the present level. It should, in any case, be possible
for us to fix a more modest goal of doubling our food
production, thus completely eliminating the food deficit
of our State.
My Government have taken some steps in this direction;
it has been possible to have three major irrigation schemes-those
of Pothundi, Thanneermukkom, and Kattampally – included
in the 1958-59 Plan; work is progressing on several medium
and small-scale irrigation projects, as well as on the
full utilisation of the irrigation potentialities generated
either by the projects already implemented, or buy those
which are in the process of implementation. Other measures
like opening of more seed farms, popularisation of green
manures, proper and timely distribution of chemical fertilisers
etc., are also sought to be vigorously worked out.
These technical measures of increasing production are
being taken simultaneously with such Legislative measures
as the Agricultural Indebtedness Bill and the Agrarian
Relations Bill which are expected to create the incentive
for the peasants to produce more. It is, therefore, hoped
that a new upsurge of productive activity be generated,
which in the course of a few years, will help our State
to solve the problem of food shortage.
It would, however, be wrong to content ourselves merely
with setting such a goal before us. It will obviously
take a few years, even with the best and most organized
effects in this direction to realise this goal. In the
meanwhile, our people are facing difficulties which cannot
be overcome by the relatively long-term solution outlined
above. Particularly is this true of the next few months,
when, due to the draughts which affected the crops in
several States, there is such a pressure on the available
stocks of rice that the usual lean months of this year
bid fair to become more difficult than even those of last
year. The cutting of supply by the Central Government
following the formation of the Southern Food Zone and
the difficulty which my Government is facing in securing
stocks even within the Southern Zone add to these difficulties.
I, therefore, hope that this will be dealt with as a problem
which transcends all differences, political or other.
In this connection it will not be inappropriate, if I
draw your attention to the necessity of changing our food
habits. There can be no justification, either economic
or nutritional, in insisting on a full rice diet, when
it results in huge imports at a stupendous cost. I would
plead for the launching of a campaign for large measure
of substitution of wheat and other kinds of more nutritive
and easily available food-stuffs for rice. That is one
way of facing current difficulties which should be popularised.
It is a matter for satisfaction that the Fair Price Shops
which were opened last year have served their purpose
of putting a check on the prices in the open market. Had
it not been for the opening of these, Fair Price Shops,
the prices in the open market would have been far higher
than they actually were. I am therefore, confident that
all sections of the people will give their support and
co-operation to my Government in continuing these Fair
Price Shops and securing enough stocks for supply through
The Fair Price Shops, however, cannot obviously meet the
entire rice requirements of our people. The rice that
becomes available through the Fair Price Shops will necessarily
have to be supplemented with the rice that is available
in the open market, as well as by other substitute foods.
The Supply of rice at subsidised rate through the Fair
Price Shops plus supply at higher rates in the open market,
plus the supply of wheat, plus the popularisation of other
substitute foods-such is the pattern of food supply that
has to be organised in the present circumstances.
The next problem which I would like to dwell upon is that
of unemployment which is as important as, if not more
important than, the problem of food.
Here, again, it is necessary to bear in mind that, while
the problem is of all-India importance, it is far more
acute in our state than in the rest of the country. While
the number of employment seekers-educated as well as uneducated-
who come into the employment market is on the increase
every year, there is no corresponding increase in the
number of employment opportunities-such is the situation
in the entire country. In our State; however, not only
are employment opportunities not increasing; they are
actually decreasing. You must have all been concerned
at the difficulties which the biggest single employment-giving
industry of our State- the Coir Industry-is today facing.
The situation was so serious that, in certain areas, famine
relief work had to be undertaken in order to enable the
people dependent on this industry to tide over their difficulties.
It is obvious that, through the establishment of modern,
large scale industrial units is of tremendous national
importance as something which paves the way for the rapid
industrialisation of the country and thus finding the
real and final solution to the problem of unemployment,
the short term solution for the problem can only be found
in the direction of encouraging small scale and cottage
industries on a big scale. This involves a large amount
of effort and organisation on the part of the people.
For, it is easier to organise a small number of big units
than a large number of small units. There is, however,
no doubt that this can be done as has been proved by the
experience of the working of the Handloom Board and the
Handloom Co-operatives. My Government, therefore, propose
to take steps for the organisation of Industrial Co-operatives,
particularly for such industries as Coir, Fishing, the
processing of bamboo and other forest produce, etc., and
in fact such other small scale industries as will be able
to employ a large number of workers.
As important as the organisation of Industrial Co-operatives
is the effort to draw as many people with savings to their
credit as possible, to invest their savings in Small Scale
Industries. It was with a view to encouraging such potential
investors that the Planning Commission and the Union Industries
and Commerce Ministry sanctioned the formation of more
Industrial Estates in this State than anywhere else. I
Hope that these will be properly and fully utilised.
It is obvious that, in an industrially backward country
like ours, everything will have to be done to create employment
opportunities as much in the agricultural as in the industrial
sector. The proper utilisation of available cultivable
land should have an important place in the scheme of creating
greater employment opportunities. While the distribution
of surplus land among the landless people is of undoubted
importance in this connection, my Government also propose
to utilise a part of the available land for planting rubber
which itself will create more employment opportunities
as well as cashew which is calculated to meet the deficit
in raw materials, felt by one of the important industries
in our State.
The seriousness of the two problems mentioned above raises
the question of the correct approach to the developmental
activities of our State.
Most of the developmental work that has so far been done
in this State was connected with such lines of activity
as the further extension of education and further development
of communications. We take pride in the fact that our
State is on the forefront in these fields of developmental
activity. Unfortunately, however, attention is not paid
to other lines of developmental work, particularly those
which help us in the solution of the two major economic
problems facing us-those of food shortage and unemployment.
My Government is anxious that our State’s developmental
work should be completely re-orientated; priority should
be given first to the increase of agricultural production,
then to the formation of industrial co-operatives and
other organisation is for resuscitating and strengthening
cottage and small scale industries, and then to provision
of financial and technical assistance to medium and large
scale industries Welfare measures like education and communication
lines should no more be given priority over these productive
lines of activity.
Keeping in mind this need for re-orientation in the developmental
activities of our
State, my Government has taken several steps to give a
new technical orientation to education. More attention
is now being paid to Engineering Colleges, Multi-purpose
Schools, Polytechnics, Junior Technical Schools, etc.
all of them calculated to train the younger generation
in the technical fields as well as to give a new technical
outlook to the people at large.
My Government, are, of course, conscious that there are
certain parts of our State which are relatively backward
to the rest of the State even in the matter of non-technical
education and communications. Steps will therefore, be
taken to extend these facilities to such areas. But, the
general direction along which the State’s developmental
activities should be guided is the further extension and
development of productive activities, particularly in
the fields of agriculture and industries. I hope that
you will have opportunities of further discussing this
aspect of the problem of development, and take suitable
steps in the direction of bringing about such a re-orientation.
Finance for the Plan
The problem of finding the resources for implementing
the Second Five Year Plan is causing some anxiety to this
State as to all other States in the country.
You are aware that, out of the Rs. 87 crores scheduled
to be expended during the period of the Second Five Year
Plan, the Central share comes to less than Rs. 40 crores,
the balance of about Rs.48 Crores has to be found from
the resources of this State. This is proving a rather
difficult job because firstly we were expected to provide
a total revenue surplus of Rs.13.4 crores during the five-year
period, which is rendered difficult because of the increasing
demands for non-plan expenditure which threaten to reduce
the revenue surplus, if not to make for revenue deficits;
secondly we were expected to raise Rs.19 crores by way
of public loan to be raised in the money market. However,
as the position of the money market in the whole country
is getting more and more difficult, we are being advised
by the Reserve Bank not, to go to the money market for
loans. My Government was obliged in the current financial
year, to refrain from calling for any loan, though it
had been provided in the annual plan for the raising of
Rs.2.25 crores as loan for the year. It is not yet clear
how long this situation will continue and what its consequences
will be. There is, in any case, room for apprehension
that the expected amount may not be realised during the
five-year period. As against this, I am glad to inform
you that there will be an addition to our resources to
the extent of about Rs. 1.5 crores as a result of the
acceptance of the Finance Commission’s recommendations
by the Government of India.
There are also possibilities of raising more money by
way of small savings. I am happy, in the connection to
note that, while net collections on this account for the
year 1956-57 were only Rs.44.90 lakhs, the current year’s
net collections up to the end of December 1957 have been
Rs. 66.79 lakhs. This makes my Government hope that the
Government of India’s directive of securing more
money through this means can be carried out. Even this,
however, will not fully compensate for the likely shortfall
flowing out of the two causes mentioned above.
It, therefore, becomes of the utmost importance that a
serious effort is made in the direction of economy in
relation to all non-plan items if expenditure. It is of
equal importance that Small Saving Drive should be organised
on a big scale, so that every naya paisa that can be saved
by any citizen of this State is collected and properly
utilised for the implementation of the Plan.
Plan Progress and Administrative Reforms
Another aspect of our Developmental work which should
cause concern to us all is the deplorable lag between
targets and fulfillment.
During the period of the First Five Year Plan, the allocations
made were Rs. 30.03 crores while actual expenditure was
only Rs. 25 crores. This shows that the percentage of
fulfillment to target was only Rs.83.33.
Coming to the first year of the Second Five Year Plan,
the target of expenditure was Rs.18.60 crores while actual
fulfillment was only Rs. 10.20 cores. The percentage of
fulfillment to target is thus 55.
From the data available for the first ten months of the
current year, it would appear that the lag between target
and fulfillment this year also will be considerable.
There are several reasons for this lag. One of the important
reasons is that considerable time is taken in working
out the details of the schemes and their scrutiny both
at the State level and at the level of the Planning Commission
and the Government of India. Measures are under contemplation
by the Planning Commission which will ensure speedier
sanction of Plan schemes, as well as a certain amount
of flexibility by allowing the State Governments to make
suitable changes within the allotted amounts. This change
of procedure which is envisaged is likely to help the
expeditious implementation of development works.
The above difficulty, however, is further accentuated,
by the fact that the administrative machinery in the State
itself is extremely slow-moving. Even after the sanction
is received, more time is taken of going through the several
processes of carrying out the schemes sanctioned than
can be justified.
This deplorable state of affairs with regard to planning
and development, plus other defects in the administrative
system, has convinced my Government that the administrative
reform referred to by me in April last is of crucial importance.
That problem, as you know, is now being examined by a
Committee whose report is expected to be submitted in
the next two or three months.
I cannot close this without making reference to the policy
of my Government in relation to the workers and the middle
class employees. The Government has taken several steps
calculated to improve their standards of living; the salary
scales of certain sections of Government employees have
been raised, minimum wages have been fixed in several
industries as well as in agriculture; labour’s demands
in connection with bonus and other forms of emoluments
for them have in several cases been satisfactorily deal
with. The Government will undoubtedly continue to pursue
this policy and do all that is possible to raise the emoluments
and standards of living of all working people.
I, however, hope that all sections of the working class
and middle-class employees will realise that the raising
on the standards of living of the people is inseparably
connected with the increase in the national income as
a whole and that therefore it is incumbent on them to
see that not only is production maintained uninterrupted,
but that it goes on increasing.
Equally necessary is it for the employers to realise that
advance in the industrial and agricultural sector is impossible
without a contended working class and that therefore it
is necessary for them to meet more than half way to satisfy
the legitimate demands of the labouring people.
It is with a view to being about such an understanding
between the employers and employees that the Government
have set up a tripartite Committee which, I am happy to
announce, is making progress in the direction of evolving
an acceptable basis for an industrial truce.
My Government is also convinced of the necessity to pay
particular attention to linguistic minorities. The problem
of providing education in their own languages to Tamils
and Kannadigas will receive the urgent attention of the
Government. We have also initiated steps to develop the
Munnar town area, which I hope will satisfy the long felt
need of the people of the locality. Other steps are also
being contemplated for the cultural and material advancement
of the linguistic minorities in Kerala.
I have left untouched many important problems which are
engaging the attention of my Government, and which I am
sure, will be matters for your deliberations. I have not
touched upon them, not because they are unimportant, but
because I thought it necessary to draw your attention
to the above problems which, according to my Government,
are of key importance. My Government feels that the solution
of every other problem should be made subservient to the
problems mentioned above. I welcome you to the arduous
task that awaits you and wish you God-speed in your deliberations.