Aim is to make Kerala the Yenan of India: Isaac

‘When Centre banks on corporates for infra, the State created its own KIIFB’

It is not just a re-election that the Left front is seeking in Kerala, but a mandate to build on the meticulously crafted model of governance and development in the years to come, says T.M. Thomas Isaac, Finance Minister in the outgoing Kerala Cabinet and CPI(M) central committee member.

“We want to make Kerala the Yenan of India,” Dr Isaac told The Hindu in an interview.

“Talking of the three models in India, Kerala has been known for its distribution of resources, but it lacked industries. Gujarat only focused on industrial development. There are those States that have remained backward on all counts. But in the last few years, Kerala innovated and fashioned a model of fast-paced infrastructure growth to plug the deficit in that area, while simultaneously retaining its focus on welfare. Using the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) vehicle, works that would have taken a quarter of a century to materialise in normal course were undertaken in a very short span of time. A beginning has been made and this has to be taken forward in such a way that it becomes a model for India,” he said.

While the BJP-led Centre banked on a few corporates to create infrastructure, job opportunities and set up industries, Kerala created its own body corporate [KIIFB] by adhering to the rules, with an independent audit mechanism featuring experts with irrefutable repute, to build basic infrastructure.

“The results are for everyone to see, at our hospitals (if just about 38% of people relied on government hospitals earlier, it rose to 48% in the pre-COVID time), schools and the like. Would these experts endorse the model if it was a ponzi scheme? It carries out elaborate asset-liability plotting before approving any project. The Opposition’s reasons to flay KIIFB are all political. But the Centre has unleashed its agencies after KIIFB. But we aren’t going to buckle. Let the Enforcement Directorate (ED) call anyone of us [political leaders] for questioning; we aren’t going to go until the elections are over. They are free to arrest us, if that’s what they want,” Dr Isaac maintained.

“People have been appreciative of the work done by us. So, when someone like M.N. Karassery warns people of the dangers of us returning to power, we say we have discussed this and are well aware of the dangers. But we have a clear roadmap and that is why we are confidently moving forward.”

That’s also why the CPI(M) chose this critical moment to field a second line of leadership in the elections. “It demonstrates the depth of the party and the belief in our track-record.” Each period demanded a certain type of approach, he said, adding that the CPI(M) was in step with the times and was for taking everyone, regardless of their belief or stance, along in pursuit of the new model of sustainable development.

On the BJP trying to woo the warring factions of the Malankara church in central Kerala, he said that party was more than likely to fall between two stools.

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