Thiruvananthapuram: Gita Gopinath, financial advisor to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, will advise the state on four crucial areas namely financial stability, health insurance, skill training and women empowerment.
The Kerala-born Harvard economist and professor has been entrusted with the task of familiarizing the state with globally successful models and connect the state government with leading research and development agencies in these areas.
A meeting between Gita and Chief Minister Pinarayi Viajayan last week discussed the different possibilities of utilizing Gita’s expertise in these areas.
Financial Stabilization Fund
Since the Kerala’s economy is largely controlled by NRI's money, the economic fluctuations in the Gulf nations have a direct impact on the state. Gita has put forth a suggestion before the Chief Minister if Kerala can follow the model of Chile by creating a ‘financial stabilization fund’ using a part of the NRI remittances.
Chile’s economy largely depends on foreign funds and their main source of income is copper. Since the economy plunges in crisis whenever the prices of copper falls in the international market, they created a ‘socio-economic security fund’ using a portion of revenue from copper exports when the price is high.
Gita was of the opinion that a similar type of fund of NRI remittances can serve as a reserve fund for the state in the event of a future crisis.
A comprehensive medical insurance, treatment for elderly and curbing lifestyle disease should be Kerala’s focal areas in the future, according to Gita. She said that in the US, many researches have been taking place to reduce the insurance and treatment expenses and the expertise of these researchers, who were the key people behind the ‘Obamacare’ project, will be made available for Kerala.
The key reason behind the unemployment crisis faced by Kerala youth is due to the lack of skill training. Those who passed from colleges and universities should be given skill training in government-run institutes. The skill development model of Germany can be followed in this matter.
Gita visited the headquarters of Kerala’s ‘Additional SKill Appreciation Programme (ASAP) Kerala’.
Women Empowerment Beyond Kudumbashree
Kerala’s flagship rural poverty alleviation and women empowerment programme has been successful in improving the lifestyle of women in low income families. However, the state should now look for empowering highly-educated women and make them part of production economy, according to Gita.