India’s Kerala state government is counting on open-source software to boost its IT literacy rate.
“Kerala has always been a leader in literacy, and now we want to make Kerala a leader in e-literacy,” said Kerala Chief Minister V. S. Achutanandan. “We believe that free and open-source software is an essential component in our drive to democratize information technology and bring its benefits to all sections of society.”
While this effort is laudable, on the other hand, the Kerala government took a left turn on retail.
The Indian Express reports:
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala is all set to bring in a law to ban corporate retailers, both Indian and MNCs, in the state.
This would be the first attempt of its kind in the country. Divakaran said the Left in Kerala doesn’t intend to draw the line for big retailers at peddling food grains, as Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee did for Bengal a few days ago. It will be a blanket ban and, according to the minister, the new legislation will more than make up for “the lack of teeth” in the Central Essential Commodities Act.
“We don’t want to tell MNCs from Indian corporates, both are bad for the state. We don’t want to go for a conditional or limited ban because we really don’t want them here at all,” Divakaran said.
The legislation has the backing of the state’s powerful traders lobby, the Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithy, whose protest shutdown was a complete success.
With such protectionist measures, erecting insurmountable barriers to free trade, Kerala’s consumers are sure to be left behind in India’s retail revolution.