KL This Week: Campaign Against Drug Threat, Assembly Elects New Speaker

The Kerala Assembly elected AN Shamseer of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) as the new President after former President MB Rajesh was sworn in as Cabinet Minister. Although the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has sufficient numbers, the opposition presented a candidate.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi resumed on September 16 after a one-day hiatus. The yatra entered Alappuzha district on Saturday morning and will remain in the state for another week.

The LDF government has decided to launch the Value Added Agriculture Mission (VAAM) with the aim of doubling farmers’ incomes to market the state’s unique foods in international and domestic markets. The mission will adopt modern technological advances to achieve the objectives.

With increasing reports of drug abuse in the state, the government decided to launch an anti-narcotics campaign from October 2.

In a bid to create a level playing field for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the government has decided to launch a new digital commerce network. NewsClick brings you a roundup of events across Kerala.

VAAM TO DOUBLE FARMERS’ INCOME

The LDF government launched VAAM to double farmers’ incomes and increase productivity. The Chief Minister will be the President of the Mission, with the Ministers of Agriculture and Industry being appointed Vice Presidents.

The mission will form special working groups to focus on agribusiness, technology, knowledge collection and use, and marketing and finance. It will explore opportunities to reach international and domestic markets by producing value-added products with professional marketing, branding and labeling processes.

The mission was announced in the 2022-23 budget with an initial expenditure of Rs 5 crores. The DFL has been focusing more on the development of agriculture and value-added products since taking office in 2016.

A NEW PRESIDENT ELECTED

AN Shamseer, the 46-year-old CPI(M) lawmaker from Thalassery, was elected as the 24th speaker of the chamber. He defeated United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate Anwar Sadath. A special session of the House was held to elect the president on September 12.

The UDF nominated its candidate while the LDF was in sufficient numbers. The LDF candidate Shamseer got 96 votes while the UDF candidate got 40 votes. Three lawmakers were not in the House due to official and personal business, while the vice president did not vote.

Shamseer entered politics through the All India Student Federation (SFI) and later served as the state chairman of the All India Youth Democratic Federation (DYFI).

The election was necessitated after former President MB Rajesh was inducted into the State Cabinet following the vacancy created due to the resignation of MV Govindan who was elected Secretary of State for CPI(M) .

NEW DIGI COMMERCE NETWORK

In a bid to provide a level playing field for MSMEs, the government has decided to create a digital trade network. The LDF government has decided to create its own network, although the Union government has rolled out Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).

The ONDC welcomed the LDF government’s decision to democratize the digital space for small traders across the state. The network aims to pull nationally with experts suggesting the creation of a subnet of buyer and seller apps and delivery to all possible locations.

CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE DRUG THREAT

The threat of drugs has come to the fore, with registered cases registering a huge jump. While 4,650 cases were filed in 2020 under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), up to September 15, 2022, 16,986 cases were filed.

The number of arrests also recorded a jump – from 5,674 to 18,743 during the same period. The use of synthetic drugs has made its way into educational institutions, which was pointed out by the Chief Minister during a recent press conference.

The government has decided to launch a major anti-narcotics campaign from October 2. Educational institutions will hold a massive campaign on November 2 to commemorate the end of the month-long campaign.

STATE INTERVENTION ON THE STRAY DOG THREAT

The government has launched a month-long mass vaccination camp for street dogs as several cases of dog bites have been reported. To date, 21 deaths have been recorded in the year following dog bites.

The animal welfare and local self-government departments will lead the vaccination camps which will be coordinated by the district administration and district panchayat chairpersons.

It is expected that 9 lakh stray dogs and 3 lakh pet dogs will be vaccinated under the campaign. The government has also mandated the licensing process for pet dogs.

DOCTORS PROTEST AGAINST SALARY ANOMALY

Doctors affiliated with the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) staged a protest on September 14 to seek a quick solution to eliminate salary anomalies. The demonstration took place between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. in the neighborhoods without affecting patient services.

The association has planned a “mass leave” demonstration on October 11. The association accused the government of not delivering on promises made during talks held in January 2022.

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