KL This Week: LDF Considers Resolution Seeking Timeframe for Governors to Provide Assent to Bills
Image by R Prakash
NewsClick brings a round-up of important developments in Kerala during the past week including the launch of a new political party by former leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Kerala Congress (Joseph) [KC(J)], Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s nod to his Tamil Nadu counterpart's invitation for an Assembly resolution on fixing time frame for the governors to provide assent to bills, and increasing COVID-19 cases.
BJP, KC(M) LEADERS LAUNCH NEW PARTY
Former president of BJP minority morcha's Kerala unit, V V Augustine, and KC(J)'s former deputy chairman, Johnny Nellore, launched a new political outfit named National Progressive Party (NPP) on April 23. Both the leaders hinted at seeking an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Kerala on April 24 for the launch of the first Vande Bharat Express in Kerala.
The BJP has been making attempts to garner votes from the Christian population in the state, which has traditionally supported the Congress and different factions of the KC. The United Democratic Front (UDF) has downplayed the developments and rejected any setbacks for the UDF camp.
The BJP leaders have been holding closed-door meetings with leaders of Catholic churches for political advancements while several leaders met the Bishops of different dioceses on Easter to extend wishes. However, a few prominent leaders and priests remain divided over joining BJP and starting a new political party and then aligning with BJP.
KERALA PLANS RESOLUTION FOR TIME-BOUND ASSENT FOR BILLS BY GOVERNOR
CM Pinarayi Vijayan replied to M K Stalin's invitation for a resolution in the Assembly demanding a timeframe for governors to provide assent to bills passed in the Assembly. The governors of non-BJP-ruled states have been accused of holding on to bills for a long duration leading to several legislations lapsing.
The Tamil Nadu assembly has passed a resolution seeking the intervention of the Union government on the issue.
Both the chief ministers have accused the respective governors of holding on to bills and acting against federal principles. Pinarayi Vijayan, in his response to Stalin, referred to pending bills with the Governor, some of which were still awaiting the nod for more than a year.
COVID CASES ON THE RISE
The number of COVID-19 cases has witnessed a spike in the recent week, with the active cases increasing to 19,714 on April 18. More cases are being reported from Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, and Kottayam districts.
The health department has put the medical infrastructure on alert though the number of hospitalisations and severity of the infections remain low.
TUSKER TROUBLE CONTINUES
The dispute over relocating wild tusker from Idukki to Palakkad continues, as people in Palakkad remain opposed to the relocation to the Parambikulam tiger reserve despite the order of the Kerala High Court. The Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Nemmara, K Babu, filed a review petition in the court against the order for relocation.
On April 13, the court refrained from pressing on for the translocation but has called for suggestions for places to shift the tusker called Arikomban. The court also directed the expert committee set up to suggest options to relocate the elephant, to keep the new suggestions private.
When the government of Kerala took to the Supreme Court, the court refused to interfere since the recommendation for translocation was provided by an expert committee set up by the Kerala High Court.
ANGANWADI WORKERS PROTEST
The Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Association held a four-day relay protest in front of the state secretariat demanding that the government fulfil its promises. The association affiliated with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) asked the state government to implement the increase in honorarium announced in the 2021 Budget.
The other demands include recognition of Anganwadi workers and helpers as government employees, an intervention from the Union government for higher honorarium, insurance schemes, and other social welfare measures.
C S Sujatha, vice president of the Kerala unit of the CITU, inaugurated the protest on April 17. (Image Courtesy: CITU Kerala)
COMMITTEE SET UP TO ENSURE MINIMUM WAGES
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government has set up three sub-committees led by former minister A K Balan to look into the minimum wages for 30 sectors in the state.
The prevailing wages of workers in ornament making, printing press, catering services, fish exports, tree climbing, photography and videography are included in the first sub-committee. The second subcommittee will study the workers in accounts offices, costume manufacturing, ayurveda and allopathy medicine manufacturing, and workers in industries associated with high-range areas.
The third committee will submit a report on the wages drawn by workers in security services, rubber sheet processing, agriculture and agriculture-based industries, and pharmaceuticals.
The committees have been instructed to submit the reports within six months for the government to revise the minimum daily wages. Trade union leaders including CITU state president Anathalavattom Anandan, C S Sujatha, S Rajendran, the president of the Welfare Board for Workers under the job guarantee scheme and from other trade unions.
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