Kerala economist Jose Sebastian launches political party

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on October 05, 2020

To build on ‘One India One Pension’ campaign

Jose Sebastian, a noted Kerala-based expert, columnist and commentator and former faculty of Thiruvananthapuram-based think-tank Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation, has floated a political party which he says would be an antithesis of its peers in the conventional sense.

“The Kerala Janatha Sakhyam (Kerala People’s Alliance) would be a political entity only for want of a better expression, but would stand out for its evidence-based agenda encapsulating the aspirations of all across class, creed or culture,” Sebastian told BusinessLine here.

Evidence-based agenda

An evidence-based agenda is one in which policy-makers use empirical evidence to make informed decisions about policies, practices, and programmes as explained on the party website Decisions are based on scientific evidence rather than mere opinion.

Sebastian proposes to build on the ‘One India One Pension campaign’ in Kerala that seeks a universal pension of ₹10,000 each to all those above the age of 60. The campaign has been drawing support both from common as well as influential people through the social media.

According to him, his party is being launched with a clarion call ‘to help people to take ownership of their lives.’ He claims that the programmes and policies of the new party would assure growth and engender a more fraternal society helping build a more content Kerala.

Recast of state finances

Some of these are as dramatic in their reach and intent as are unthinkable in the context of the state’s ossified economy and its awful finances. Take for instance a reformed pension system covering all senior citizens and limiting government service to 15 years with pension age of 80.

The party proposes restructuring of the revenue and expenditure system and aims to raise 50 per cent of state’s own revenues from direct taxes such as property tax, profession tax and electricity duty and non-tax sources such as user charges on government services in health education.

It also promises to phase out dependence on lottery and liquor for revenue over a 10-year-period. Ban on arrack would be lifted and a licensing system for liquor introduced wherein the license holders will get a specified quantity of low-priced foreign liquor or arrack every week.

Published on October 05, 2020

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