Thiruvananthapuram | Senior CPI (M) leader K K Shailaja has sought to justify freebies culture, saying such "temporary assistance" should continue till authorities find permanent practical solutions to the problems of the citizens.
The governments should give social welfare pensions and scholarships to support the public and it cannot be treated as just "favours" to them, she said.
The former health minister was speaking during a discussion held at the ongoing Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL) 2024 here.
She also stressed on the need to evolve a "scientific view" cutting across politics with regard to development.
When the moderator of the session asked whether the "politics of freebies" was appropriate to be adopted in the country, Shailaja said it should be continued till the country practically resolved the problems being faced by its citizens.
"We cannot tell the people that assistance will be provided to them only after these practical solutions come into existence. So, amidst these plannings, such temporary assistance should be there," she explained.
Pointing to the situation in Kerala, she said the government has to give those eligible Rs 1600 each as social welfare pension monthly. It also has to give subsidy (for essential commodities) and scholarships for the studies of students.
She termed the argument that these all were just favours and so should be ended as 'unacceptable'.
"I am a person who is of the view that it should be continued," added Shailaja, member of the central committee member of CPI(M).
The Left leader's statement assumes significance in the wake of criticism being faced by the LDF government for the free kit of essential commodities distributed by it some years ago.
On the implementation of development projects, the former minister said if greater changes should take place in the state, the society should be prepared to accept changes happening in the existing system.
Development cannot happen without eviction and acquisition of land. Big infrastructure projects and tourism developments are essential for the future growth of Kerala, she noted during a session called 'Kerala built by women' on Friday evening at the fifth edition of MBIFL.
Over 400 speakers from around the world have been invited to participate in the literary event.
The MBIFL which began on February 8 will conclude on February 11.
The theme for this year's edition of the literary event is 'Exploring Plurality' -- a 360-degree attempt at understanding diverse perspectives, cultures, and identities.