Kerala’s Economy: Crouching Tiger, Sacred Cows
Edited by Sunil Mani, Anjini Kochar and Arun M. Kumar
Price: Rs. 195
This book contains articles which relate to the Economic development of Kerala. I have posted those facts and thoughts which I found interesting.
The state has created 12% of all new non-farm jobs in India over the 1998-2005 period, no mean achievement for a state that is home to only 3.5% of the county’s population.
The state’s poverty ratio is now 12.72 per cent, down from 60 per cent in the early seventies. Its per capita income, at Rs 22,000, exceeds the national average. If remittance income is included, per capita income is 60 per cent above the national average.
The contribution of agriculture to the state’s GDP fell to about 20%. The major portion of the state’s GDP is driven by services. While the service sector grew by 13.8% in 2005-06, industry and power grew by a mere 1.3% and agriculture by 2.5%.
An author, Arun M. Kumar calls for attention in the following five areas- nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship, making Kerala more attractive for non-Keralites, making it easy to do business in Kerala, creating a stimulating educational environment for the college going population and by involving expatriate Keralites so as to promote development.
Another author M N V Nair, talks about ‘patronage dispensation’ which he says is the philosophy of governance pursued by the elites, who consists of political functionaries, administrative bureaucracy, organized business, community and caste organizations and trade unions. He goes on to say that this ‘elite’ lives off the ‘influence peddling’.
K. Pushpangadan and M. Parameswaran talk about the ‘virtuous cycle of human development’ which facilitates rapid growth; as Kerala’s progress is in contrast to the accepted notion that ‘economic growth precedes human development’. ‘The authors suggest that the linkage is that human capital development resulted in migration that brought in remittances to the state which in turn facilitated economic growth.’ They posit that ‘dependence on remittances carries the risk of external shocks.’
Sunil Mani talks about the infocommunications sector in Kerala. He says that ‘Kerala has the highest teledensity (telephones per thousand people) among all Indian states.’ ‘Residential customers in Kerala get electricity at the cheapest rates in India’ writes V. Santhakumar.
The book portrays a growing picture of Kerala Economy. The authors suggest several measures to sustain this growth. It is a good read for those who want to get an in depth analysis of the economy of Kerala.