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Kerala Model of Development: Achievements and Challenges
Today, growth and development are the two most discussing matters around the world. There are different trends in each country in their path of development. No doubt, the ultimate aim of any country or the human endeavor is to achieve development. There are many discussions and debates on the various approaches to development. Here the so called Kerala model of development is one among them. The title is associated with many persons such as Professor K.N Raj, Professor Amartya Kumar Sen and institutions like Center for Development Studies, Trivandrum etc.
Kerala is one of the smallest states of India, located at the southern part of the country. The state has different peculiarities in its geographic structures, environmental resources, demography etc. The state is also popular as ‘God’s Own Country’. Anyhow, its population and density rates are higher compared to any other states in India. But the developmental experiences and achievements in both economical and social are attractive one for any other economy or countries.
General Features of Kerala Model Development
To understand the Kerala model of development, first it is better to know its features. Some of them are mentioned below.
a) High Political Consciousness
The political activism among the people of Kerala is more vibrant than the rest of the country. People are highly sensitive and actively participating in election campaigning, voting etc. Further the political history of Kerala reveals that, two opposite parties are returning in to powers at a regular 5 years’ of interval. This peculiarity of higher political activism among people helped the state to bring many changes in the economic and social developmental aspects of the state.
b) Highest Human Capital Indices
The human capital of Kerala is attractive for any other economies. Kerala ranked first in the Human Development Index (HDI) in the country. There are many other attractive indicators like higher literacy rate, low Maternal Mortality Rate and Infant Mortality Rate, Higher life expectation rate, skilled workers etc. Majority of the Keralites are going abroad for job. That is why, the major portion of foreign remittances of India is from the people of Kerala.
c) Domination of Service Sectors
The contribution of the service sector to the total Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is very interesting. The contribution of service sector dominates in every year. It may be because of the limited availability of land. Now, the supply of agricultural land is declining. Further the scope for investors is also lower in Kerala. In fact, the service sector is contributing highest level of output to the overall output of the state.
d) Social Developments
Kerala has achieved many social developments and improvements in its social, political and economical aspects. The most attractive feature of Kerala is that, it has achieved high standard of living with lower per capita income. The basic needs including infrastructural such as communication, hospitality etc are functioning efficiently in the state. It is a paradox that the people of Kerala are enjoying high standard of living with lower per capita income.
Some Challenges of Kerala Model Development
Even though Kerala holds first rank in many of the developmental indices among Indian states, there are questions which challenging the sustainability as well as its fame. Some of the major criticisms of Kerala model development are mentioned below.
a) Low Investment and Industrial Growth
Kerala’s model growth is not in support of industrial growth. Since it is highly depending on service sector, the manufacturing sector has some limitations such as lower investment, lower availability of land etc. This is why investors are not willing to invest in the industrial sector of Kerala.
b) It becomes a Consumer State
Since there is limited scope for agriculture in Kerala, it has become a consumer state. It is not producing much primary outputs such as food items. Instead, the state is depending other states for many commodities, particularly for food items. So, the consumerism of the state is an emerging issue because of the life style changes, Now, the morbidity rate has increased a lot.
c) Growth with Foreign Remittances
As mentioned above, majority of the people of Kerala are going abroad for job. So, the major parts of the foreign remittances to India are contributing by Kerala. But, critics are arguing that, the achievement of Kerala with the support of foreign earnings is questioning its sustainability and future. This is the main reason of affecting global financial crisis immediately on the economy of Kerala.
d) Increasing Inequality
Recent studies about Kerala economy is disclosing many paradoxes, various types of inequalities are increasing in the state. The discrimination among marginalized and urban areas is one of the core issues. Many sections of the society are excluded from the Kerala model growth such as tribes, backward groups and other weaker sections of the community. These people are still unable to access higher education, government jobs etc. In fact, Growing inequality is a great challenge of Kerala model development.
In short, Kerala model development is one of the most discussing models of economic development and growth. The most interesting fact about the Kerala model development is that, it has achieved higher standard of living with lower per capita income. Its developmental indicators are amazing. They are competent with the developed nations of the world. Anyhow, the Kerala model development has challenging some criticisms also.