People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 30

July 29, 2012




UDF Govt Puts

State PSUs in Peril


N S Sajith


THE great thrust given to the state industrial sector, particularly on reviving the Public Sector Units (PSUs) by the previous LDF government during 2004-2011 was lauded by even its political opponents. Congress leaders like union defense minister A K Antony publicly acclaimed the LDF government’s moves to revive the PSUs and to synergize the central and state PSUs strengths. The LDF government’s successful move to set up new units like BrahMos Aerospace with the help of union defense ministry was received with huge applause from the people cutting across party lines. 


The then industries minister in the LDF government, Elamaram Kareem, strived hard to turn around the sick PSUS into profitable ones. His enthusiastic moves finally resulted in these firms delivering huge profits. The LDF government was successful in making 30 units out of 42 sick PSUs profitable. It had cleared the huge losses made by these firms during the previous UDF government. They were turned around and in 2010 the profit from these 32 units was Rs 239.75 crore. 


The total turnover of these units in the year 2005 was Rs 1522.98 crore and due to the efforts of the LDF government it showed a continuous upward trend till 2011 when it reached Rs 2190.73 crore. This achievement was possible due to the help of disciplined administration and efficient company management. The worker-management relations were cordial during this period. A perfect understanding between various departments and an ideal coordination between different constituents was ensured by the LDF government. Successful state-centre joint ventures were also a highlight of that time.


But with the assumption of power by the UDF government, things took a downturn within just one year. The helmsman of industrial department and general secretary of Indian Union of Muslim League has proved a failure in administration. The losses of PSUs has now crossed Rs 100 crore according to unaudited reports of the 24 PSUs. The companies that had made profits during the LDF regime are now saddled with huge losses.


Metal Industries Limited, Artisans Development Corporation, Keltron Component Limited, Kerala Ceramics, Handicrafts Development Corporation, Autocast, Aleppey Co-operative Spinning Mill, Travancore Cements, Steel Complex Limited, Kerala Electrical and Allied Engineering Limited, Textile Corporation are some of the important companies which are facing losses now. With no political commitment towards strengthening of PSUs, this was bound to happen in a Congress-led regime.




The UDF government’s move to increase the retirement age of government employees and teachers has been opposed with widespread protests all over the state. The state finance minister K M Mani had announced on the last day of the assembly session that the government is contemplating to increase the retirement age to 60 years. Through a budgetary decision, the government increased the retirement age from 55 to 56 in March this year. Now they want to hike it to 60 years. While replying to the discussion on the Appropriation Bill, Mani also said that the government is going to implement contributory pension scheme for government employees and teachers. 


The minister justified the decision to increase the retirement age as it will be beneficial to the 34 lakhs of government employees and teachers. He also said this is essential in Kerala because of higher levels of life expectancy in the state. He asserted that the government will not succumb to the pressure of the protesters. The chief minister Oommen Chandi however said that a meeting of youth organisations will be convened soon on this issue. 


The announcement by the minister created huge uproar in the house. The opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said that the move to increase the retirement age and implement contributory pension scheme is highly condemnable. He also demanded the UDF and KPCC leadership must publicly pronounce their stand on this issue. DYFI state secretary and MLA, T V Rajesh, said that the government’s move will reduce employment opportunities for the youth in the state.




Even as the UDF shows unusual unity in its motivated attack against the CPI(M) in the name of T P Chandrashekharan’s murder case, surprisingly Gowri Amma, JSS leader and one of the oldest serving politicians in Kerala politics, has launched a scathing attack on the media and the government to their attempt to defame the CPI (M). She said that the media stuck to its past form in trying to tear down the CPI(M).


 “The CPI(M) has a wide mass base in Kerala. The number of seats it gets in the election shows its strength and influence. I do not believe that CPI(M) would have killed Chandrashekharan who was expelled from the Party. So far the police have not succeeded in finding the killers and those who perpetrated the conspiracy. A fresh investigation is needed in this case. The probe should be impartial. The current probe is not at all sincere”, she told reporters in Alappuzha recently.


The JSS leader felt that the CPI(M) has become strengthened under the leadership of state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and added that much of the media attack can be traced to the fact that it is deadly against Pinarayi Vijayan.


Gowri Amma served as a minister in the LDF governments headed by EMS in 1957 and 1967 and Nayanar in 1980 and 1987. She was expelled from the CPI(M) for anti-party activities in 1994 and formed Janadhipatya Samrakshana Samithi (JSS) to join the UDF.