AMID THE controversy over the appointment of Harvard economist Gita Gopinath as his financial adviser, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday indicated that the decision will not be rolled back and rejected criticism about her alleged liberal economic stance, saying there are some people in Kerala who “find fault in all good things”.
Vijayan’s comments came a day after his arch-rival, V S Achuthanandan, wrote to the CPM central leadership questioning appointment of Gopinath, who is seen in Left circles as an advocate of neo-liberal economic policies.
Vijayan, who is here to attend the party Politburo meeting over the weekend, said there is nothing wrong in
cautioning him or the government that they should not deviate from the Left ideology. There is nothing wrong in expressing or sharing concern either, he added.
But the Chief Minister indicated that Gopinath will continue in her new assignment; he praised her, saying she is
capable of giving sound advice. He said she will advise as and when the government approaches her. The government will have to seek opinion and advice from many quarters and it is for the government to decide which ones to accept. The government will accept suggestions which can be accepted and moved forward, he added.
Asked about the concern about Gopinath’s views on neo-liberal economic policies and market economy, Vijayan said,
“Let her advice come, then we will see.” He also rejected the criticism that she was appointed without a discussion in the party and referred to the statement made by state CPM secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
Vijayan met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed his concern over the Centre’s decision to grant in-principle clearance for a transshipment harbour project in Colachel, Tamil Nadu. Kerala was ruffled by the move as it fears the project would take away business of the upcoming Vizhinjam project in Thirvananthapuram. Located just 30 km from Colachel, work has already started at Vizhinjam.
The Kerala Chief Minister said his government plans to expedite construction activities at Vizhinjam port. “The Prime Minister assured me that the proposed Colachel port is not going to affect economic prospects of the Vizhinjam project. He also said the Centre is committed to make the Vizhinjam project a reality,” Vijayan said.
“We have expressed our concerns over the in-principle nod given to Colachel port as it would affect economic prospects of both ports. Our concern is real.”
He said, “As per directions of the Planning Commission, until a port attains 90 per cent of its capacity, or completes 15 years after its construction, no new port must be allowed within a radius of 100 km. But the PM has taken a stand that the proposed Colachel port is not going to affect the Vizhinjam project.”