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Wednesday, Mar 12, 2003

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Unemployment in Kerala

This is with reference to "Economic Survey: Draw lessons from it for Budget-making" (Business Line, March 10). The article listed the unemployment position of some States. The unemployment rate in Kerala was 20.95 per cent during 1999-00.

It is interesting to know that the State with the highest literacy rate — almost 97 per cent — has the highest unemployment rate when compared to others. Kerala is known for large-scale migration of skilled labour to other States and countries.

A few millions of people of the State have been working outside it for many years. Had they remained in Kerala, the unemployment rate would have been much higher than what was quoted in the article.

What ails the State that has such a high literacy rate and is also blessed by vast natural resources?

Does the education system make people lethargic or rights-conscious or inefficient or unenterprising to start productive activities for their own progress? Does the education system make people more destructive in nature?

No industrialist wants to set up any industry in Kerala due to labour problems. The State is bankrupt, besides being corrupt and largely politicised. Trade unionism is still alive in Kerala. West Bengal was industrially ruined by the same attitude of the workers despite a highly skilled labour force.

Instead of migrating to other States for jobs, Keralites should use their knowledge and expertise in establishing new productive activity on their own. Many of them should look at self-employment for overcoming the serious problem of unemployment.

D. G. Bokare

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