From policy ideas to tackle climate change to the digital divide, an interaction chaired by Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor, to garner ideas for the United Democratic Front (UDF)’s people’s manifesto, generated a whole host of suggestions from the predominantly young crowd here on Saturday.
Kicking off the interaction titled ‘World-class Kerala,’ Mr.Tharoor said that Kerala was slow to catch up to the 21st century due to backward looking policies. He said that only the UDF is capable of thinking and acting for a forward-looking Kerala.
The first question of the interaction from journalism student Anjana was about why the Congress is still banking on Sabarimala issue even now, in the context of the party bringing out a draft law proposing two years imprisonment for women of menstruating age entering the temple. Tharoor said that the party wanted to resolve the issue and move forward. “It is a question of respecting the concern of the majority of believers,” he said.
Kaikasi V.S, Assistant Professor, University College, who put forward ideas for revamping the higher education sector said that the board of studies in universities, which takes all decisions, is not a very inclusive or student-friendly, and the system needs a relook.
Abhilash, a research scholar, said that strict follow-up and implementation of the academic calendar should be there in the higher education sector so that students don’t miss out on opportunities due to delays.
Anurag, an architect, said that constructions in the government sector itself should be done in an eco-friendly, sustainable manner, in light of recent natural disasters. Mr.Tharoor said that he had taken up the idea of floodplain mapping. However, the State government did not take forward the idea.
Jithin Panikker, a representative of the construction sector, questioned Mr.Tharoor on the divergent views between him and his party on some issues, especially that of the Thiruvananthapuram airport privatisation, and asked him to convince his party about such issues. In response Mr. Tharoor said that he has been making a lot of effort to bring in more international companies to Thiruvananthapuram, and connectivity is of paramount importance to them.
Priya Rajesh, another participant, suggested a gender balanced cabinet with 50% representation for women, as well as a campaign centred on climate change issues which affect the livelihood of people from all walks of life. Mr.Tharoor said that people should elect more women too, to ensure representation.
Hari, a theatre owner, suggested that the Chithranjali studio should be turned into a film hub of South India, with better editing facilities. Prakash C.P of the National Health Mission, came up with the idea for mobile chemotherapy units to reduce the crowd in cancer centres as well as to make it accessible for even those without bystanders.
Ajay Krishna, an advocate, said that the legal education sector with an outdated curriculum, needs a thorough revamp. Harrison, a tourism entrepreneur, said that Kerala needs a comprehensive tourism policy, projecting it as a destination of wellness tourism, educational tourism and convention tourism.