Economic and Social Development

WELFARE STATE

social_welfare.jpg (10290 bytes) When Dr Ramgoolam returned in 1935, the country was just a plantation colony marked by underdevelopment, unemployment, illiteracy, disease, malnutrition. Wealth lay in the hands of a few families living in upper Plaines Wilhems while the oppressed masses were dumped into sugar camps and backward rural areas.

As awareness of their social and economic exploitation dawned on the workers thanks to the Labour campaign, the country was torn by a series of labour strikes which forced the government to introduce remedial measures.

But it was Ramgoolam who triggered the process of economic development through a constructive approach that started with a strategy of raising the standard of health, of education, of housing, of social security of the people from below. It was a long-term approach that was built on sound foundation, marked by trial and error, experimentation until the country had tried various formulas recommended by local and foreign experts.

Ramgoolam’s policy from the start had been to redistribute wealth, to raise the level of the people from below at the rural level, to decentralise health, education and other infrastructural facilities and redistribute them evenly throughout the country in a bid to eradicate the gross disparities between urban and rural areas.

agricultural_development.jpg (1814 bytes) education.jpg (1045 bytes) health.jpg (782 bytes) housing.jpg (902 bytes)
social_services.jpg (1311 bytes) industry.jpg (921 bytes)

By Anand Mulloo 15.9.98