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Kerala youths protest bar on new government posts

Thiruvananthapuram : A day after Kerala Finance Minister K.M. Mani said no new posts will be created this fiscal due to financial crisis, pro-government youth organisations protested the move Sunday.

State Youth Congress president Dean Kuriakose said that financial crisis should not be addressed by denying opportunities to the youths.

“We will strongly resist any such attempt,” said Kuriakose, the losing Lok Sabha poll candidate of the Congress from Idukki.

Incidentally, for the first time since the Oommen Chandy-led Congress government assumed office in May 2011, the state last week availed a Rs.100-crore loan to meet the salary and pension requirements for the Onam festival season.

Ever since Kerala last month floated its new liquor policy by which it plans to achieve prohibition by Oct 2, 2023, in a phased manner by reducing liquor availability, a financial crisis is looming.

Mani has already indicated that as per the new policy, if the 710 bars are closed and 10 per cent of the 383 state-owned retail liquor outlets are shut Oct 2 this year, Kerala will lose Rs.1,811 crore in revenue by the end of the fiscal.

The minister, in a cabinet meeting, is believed to have said that he should not be blamed if there is a fund crunch.

President of the Youth League (the youth wing of the Indian Union Muslim League — the second largest ally of the Congress) P.M. Sadiq Ali said it is unfortunate that Mani’s statement came after Kerala held a summit inviting youths to turn entrepreneurs.

“The aspirations of the youths should not be doused under the guise of a fund crunch,” said Ali.

Meanwhile, to tide over the present financial crunch, Chandy shot down a proposal to increase the retirement age of state government employees from 56 to 58 as he knows it will be tough to face the wrath of about 4.5 million youths registered at the state employment exchanges.