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Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 12:15 UK

If I were prime minister: Kerala Varma

India will be holding elections over the course of one month from 16 April.

BBC News asked people from all corners of the world's largest democracy what they would do if they were prime minister.

KERALA VARMA, 70, RETIRED, KERALA

Kerala Varma
My name is Kerala Varma. I am 70 years old and live with my 59-year-old wife in Thrissur, Kerala.

Your question is rather flippant. You are posing what would I do if I were the prime minister of the country.

There is an apocryphal story of a shepherd chancing to sit on the throne of the Chandragupta Maurya and how he was transformed into the great emperor!

Everyone is talking of the blooming of the youth of India in the next 30 to 40 years so that the country will prosper. At the same time it is said 20% of Kerala's population will be senior citizens by the year 2020.

It is estimated that at present only 11% of its senior citizens are able to live on their earnings. Further about 740,000 senior citizens are living below the poverty line.

If at all therefore, I should commiserate with anyone it should be with the old people whose life span has increased all of a sudden but find their fragmented families cannot support them.

Education suffers for want of infrastructure and few can afford to pay the price. I should therefore work for the education of children and empowerment of women if you make me the prime minister.




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