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Dravidian Model shown by Tamil Nadu

PTI picture.

The inclusive development politics, which resists the forces of division, characterises south India, especially Kerala and Tamil Nadu and makes it notable. Not only keeping the BJP away but also holding the neglected sections together was counted as a feature of Kerala-Tamil politics. Adhering to the vision of sharing resources and power across the lines of religion and caste, both states have given reservation benefits to the 'lower' castes and 'underprivileged' communities who have been kept away from the public sphere for decades, and uplifted them. The recognition that this policy is a means of balanced and comprehensive progress has set these neighbouring states distinct over the years. They have been considered models for India in terms of health and social indicators for decades. They were also able to counter the objections raised by the progressive groups from time to time on issues like a backward reservation. However, while Kerala has reverted to regressive approaches from progressive policies and governance models over the past few years, Tamil Nadu is seen to be boldly sticking to the path of social justice. In particular, Tamil Nadu's decision under chief minister MK Stalin not to implement EWS reservation, is the latest example of upholding the 'inclusive approach' of Dravidian politics. Even some parties in Kerala, who have slipped into regressive views to the point of supporting economic reservation, which takes away the spirit of reservation, lend support to DMK's bold stand. Congress, CPM and CPI all took the position of rejecting reservation for the upper castes at the all-party meeting there. BJP did not participate in that all-party meeting.

Both states are having to endure the pressures and provocations of the Central government and the right-wing parties, including the BJP. Both states are also suffering the authoritarian approach of governors. However, when it comes to the matter of social justice and reservation, the steadfastness to embrace realities is of paramount importance. The basic criteria of development consist in justice and approaches in governance that are inclusive and capable of delivering fruits of development to all sections. In this matter when most quarters, including the Supreme Court, turned their back on the interests of social justice and the basic structure of the constitution, Tamil Nadu's courage to expose and restrict the upper class's justifications is a model for Kerala. They recognised that beyond the obvious encroachments of elite power, the new rules that undermine reservation were micro-level injustices that will deny a share of power to the disenfranchised; if even the groups who recognized it in Tamil Nadu are unable to do so here, it means that there is something wrong with the 'Kerala model'. The trouble comes from the ambiguity of some political parties in Kerala have about the concept of social justice. Tamil Nadu reminds Kerala that this clarity is crucial.

Kerala is said to be slightly better than Tamil Nadu in indices of literacy, poverty etc. Meanwhile, we lag behind in school enrollment. There are more such indices. Tamil Nadu's vigilance towards inclusive development will benefit them greatly in the long term. While other states avoid welfare schemes for social justice, as freebies, Tamil Nadu continues them. The school lunch scheme is a century old. The provision of resources to the poor still continues through welfare schemes and legalised channels such as reservation. Now they are ready to fight for it too. Tamil Nadu is also far ahead of Kerala in attracting industrial investment. Today Kerala is not a good example in the field of economy. Kerala's debt-ridden economy now rests on two unproductive sources of finance: liquor and lottery. What Kerala has lost is the ideal of inclusive development. A five-member Economic Advisory Committee comprising experts, including a Nobel laureate, is spearheading Tamil Nadu's 'inclusive' development. Whether Kerala can recapture that that perspective is a critical question.

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TAGS:EWSTamil NaduKeralaCentral governmentgovernorsinclusive developmentsocial justicesouth Indiaschemes
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