Militant labourism harms Kerala’s investment friendly dreams

Thiruvananthapuram, April 12 : A day after IAS Officers Association wrote a letter to the Kerala Chief Minister on unethical trade on practices in KSEB, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has urged the Government to ban aggressive trade onism to create investment friendly atmosphere in the State. “All trade on activities that disrupt any business activity should be banned in Kerala. We should make Kerala ‘Future Ready’ by taming the trade on activities,” the CII said in a letter to the Chief Minister on Tuesday. It is high time that the political leadership discouraged these antiquated practices of bandh or hartal employed for strike; Instead encourage creative and concurrent methods, in line with the progressive image the State wishes to project, CII Direcor John Kuruvilla said in the letter. Recalling the just concluded nationwide two-day strike, the letter said Kerala was the only state in India, where daily life came to a standstill on March 28 and 29. Due to the forced closure of business establishments, infringing on the right to livelihood of people and conveying utter disregard to the common man’s plight, Rs 4,000 crore was estimated as loss to Kerala’s exchequer. It was estimated that Rs 400 crore loss to hospitality sector, Rs 1,500 crore to manufacturing ts, Rs 2,000 crore to retail sector and Rs 500 crore to miscellaneous due to the strike. Faced with a massive unemployment problem, Kerala cannot afford to lose industries and businesses. Trade on hooliganism and militancy have stunted the labour sector, hindered entrepreneurship and turned Kerala into an industry unfriendly state. Many of the agitation and protests staged by trade ons in Kerala have resulted in unwarranted conflicts at workplaces and led to the closure of many industrial ts. For generating new employment opport ties, it is necessary to strengthen existing industries and attract new investments. The fact that all the comparable States have recorded higher economic growth rates than Kerala over time underlines the importance of promoting investments in the State. However, the state, once infamous for strikes and violent hartals enforced by trade ons, and political parties hasn’t been able to shed the baggage even today. Recent incidents of Strike and Trade on militancy has turned the spotlight back on the Kerala state’s business-friendliness. Labour militancy constitutes a serious impediment to the state’s attempts to project it as investment friendly, it added. Laws must be enacted to restrict undue interference of trade ons in labour disputes. The government must create a congenial atmosphere for investments in the state and take measures to end conflicts between businesses and ons. Kerala has topped the Sustainable Development Index ever since it was initiated by the Niti Aayog in 2018. The coinage ‘Kerala Model’, a reflection of the state’s achievements on a variety of social indices comparable to western countries with a lower per capita income, is testament to its queness. Unfortunately, social development has not led to a higher level of economic development. Instead, the high levels of education in Kerala have only ended up in brain drain due to the lack of good employment opport ties in the state. While the Government of Kerala is taking measures to improve the EODB ranking and bring in investment and generate more employment in the state, the trade ons have been acting on the contrary driving away business. The latest in the series of disruption is the behaviour of trade on in KSEB. It is very unfortunate to note that officer’s trade on disrupt activities in KSEB and go on indefinite strike at an organisation providing essential services. This will cause lot of disruption to businesses across the state. As such all businesses are trying to bounce back to normalcy after the impact of COVID in the past two years. As the protesters have the right to strike, the willing employees also have the right to work. It is the duty of the government to provide protection to these workers. A lot of things have changed for the better and a lot more needs to be done for Kerala. Government should take proactive steps to avoid conflict between businesses and ons. DS GNK

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