Robert Chambers, development practitioner with the Institute of Development Studies, United Kingdom, said Kerala had the responsibility to document and share with the rest of the world the participatory approaches adopted by it to preserve the good things from the past. He was speaking during a presentation on sanitation, poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment.
He said it was not enough to ensure availability to food for children.
The problem of faecally transmitted infections owing to open defecation should be addressed. He said the number of people defecating in the open was rising. So, infections in children would increase. Though the situation in Kerala was different, Kudumbasree’s challenge was to take the lead in this aspect and have a transformative effect on the whole of India, he said.
C.P. John, member, Kerala State Planning Board, said the State needed to top its success in sanitation with new steps. He also spoke about poverty management and environment fiscal reforms, which he said, referred to taxes which could raise revenue while furthering environmental goals. These could include taxes on natural resources, their exploitation, and pollution.
Vandana Shiva, environmentalist, said the instruments used to measure economic growth were based on extractive logic of taking away value from nature and local economies and preventing replenishment. GDP, she said, was a number that justified destruction of any ecology, any economy, any democracy. Growth was always on one side of any debate. Growth was a mismeasure of how well people were doing, she said.
P.S. Geethakutty of the Centre for Gender Concerns in Agriculture of Kerala Agricultural University said most Kudumbasree women farmed on leased land.