The first cabinet meeting of the second Pinarayi Vijayan government held after the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday has set a first-mile roadmap for the implementation of five major promises given in the LDF Manifesto. But a sixth promise, all government services online, has been given a specific date of inauguration: October 2.
The projects, for which instructions have been given for initiation of preliminary measures, are: eradication of "extreme poverty", legislation to prevent attachment of houses by banks, 'smart kitchen' to ease the burden of housewives, grant of all government services online, jobs for 20 lakh educated unemployed and a grievance redressal committee for investors.
This was announced by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after the first Cabinet meeting on Thursday. In the case of five of the projects, Vijayan announced the time schedule for the completion of preliminary measures.
Government services at home from October 2
However, the chief minister gave a specific date for when all government services will go online. "The LDF government considers all government services a public right. Every decision taken is for the people," the Chief Minister said.
"The project that will take government services right to people's homes will be inaugurated on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti Day," he said. He said a committee of IT secretary and IT experts would give a final shape to the project soon.
He also said that, in the interests of transparency in governance, the e-office system already in place in government departments would be strengthened.
Ending 'extreme poverty'
This was the first policy decision the chief minister announced on the day. A comprehensive survey will be conducted to identify 'extremely poor' families and to assess their stress factors extreme poverty alleviation, he said. Ways to mitigate extreme poverty will be devised on the basis of this survey.
The chief minister said that the two secretaries of the Local Self Government Department had been asked to lead the survey. A time-frame has not been given.
The LDF Manifesto had estimated that the 'extreme poor' in Kerala would not exceed 45 lakh. More than 1.5 lakh such families are already under the Ashraya scheme for the destitute. The objective is to pull these 45 lakh people above the Below Poverty Line.
End to bank menace
The Chief Minister said that though various measures had been adopted to provide houses for all, many poor families are losing their shelters to harsh bank procedures.
"As a lasting solution to this menace, we need to think of legislation," Vijayan said. He said a three-member committee made up of the finance additional chief secretary, the Planning additional chief secretary and a legal expert had been asked to study the situation and submit a report before July 15. Further steps will be taken after this.
Smart kitchen for housewives
The project was announced in the last budget Thomas Isaac had presented last January. The LDF Manifesto, too, had spoken about it. The objective is to lessen the workload of women slogging it out in the kitchens across Kerala.
The plan is to make available a washing machine, grinder and refrigerator in each poor household. The money has to be paid in instalments. The CM said the Chief Secretary and the secretaries of Local Self Government and Women and Child departments have been asked to draw up a scheme.
Jobs for 20 lakh
The blueprint for this project, announced by Isaac in his last budget, has already been prepared by Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council (K-DISC). The chief minister said he had asked officials to study the report and submit an assessment before July 15.
The target is 20 lakh jobs in five years. Called the Action Plan for Employment Generation, it will create 'work from home' or 'work near home' facilities and invite national and global players to hire Kerala's skilled human resources. It is said that in the next five years 18 crore people would work outside a centralised close office space.
Grievance redressal for investors
The chief minister said that Kerala had effectively implemented 'ease of doing business' norms in Kerala. Yet, he said investors still had to move from one office to the other to register their complaints. "Therefore, we need a single window for complaint redressal," the chief minister said. "A grievance redressal committee, with a senior IAS official in charge, should be formed legally," he added. This also will require legislation. A committee has been appointed to draft a bill. However, a time-frame has not been prescribed.