FY 2017-18: Hopeless Year Made Worse by a Lynching
As I pen the last editorial of the current financial year, it is but normal to feel the urge to make this all about the whole year and not just the month. But what a hopeless year it was! 2017-18 bore the brunt of the aftershocks of demonetisation and the shoddy implementation of GST. Every industry felt the pain and the lack of excitement was all pervasive.
The Union and State budgets presented in February 2018 do offer some hope. The Union budget delivered with an eye on the elections is expected to add some bounce to the economy and improve market sentiment. But it comes at a time when the GDP growth is at an all-time low. The State budget also has brought cheer especially for sectors like startups (Rs. 70 crore), tourism (Rs. 381 crore), coconut (Rs. 50 crore) and khadi (Rs. 19 crore), to name a few.
But the ‘feel good’ was short lived as God’s Own Country plunged into the hell hole of moral bankruptcy with a mob lynching a hungry and mentally unstable tribal youth in the poorest ghetto of India’s most literate State. I am not sure what to make of Kerala’s famed social development indices that can give Scandinavia a complex! This culture of mob justice has been in the making for some time now aided by the fashionably compunctious Malayali’s highly hypocritical attitude towards migrants and marginalized folk.
When Nirav Modi who allegedly defrauded Indian banks to the tune of Rs. 11,400 crore can relax in a plush villa in St. Kitts in the Caribbean, a tribal who allegedly stole food to satisfy his hunger has been given the death sentence by a kangaroo court in Kerala. The irony should not be lost on us.
The Government for decades has failed miserably in bettering the lives of the tribals living in Palakkad and Wayanad. The fact is powers that be do not wish to solve this increasing settler-tribal conflict because the settler is a vote bank and the tribal is, after all, ‘persona non-grata’. The NGOs that work in the area are the only ray of hope but grossly lack resources.
The affluent business community of our State needs to divert a portion of their CSR purse to fix stark realities like Attappady. That is the very little we can do to quell the guilt, stem this moral degradation and avoid being reduced to a totally regressive society. About 30,000 odd tribals live in Attappady. That’s all. It is not a crisis of ‘refugee’ proportions.
Nobody will come to this land to do business or see around if we cannot take care of our own people and the resources that belong to them.