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KERALA - Beneath the coconut tree

To Shilpa and Yatin. Thank you for all your help and support.
No doubt is one of the most beautiful states of India. With all those coconut trees around, makes you wanna go there just to climb one in search of peace and tranquillity that you can’t find here in London.

It might be a place to heal a broken heart, spend your holiday with your loved one or just a perfect place to escape.

The name of this state means "land of coconut" that comes from Sanskrit. Coconut trees provide shade, food and drink for the Keralits and some extra excitement for a foreigner like myself.

Beneath all those coconut trees lies a model of development praised and talked about for the last couple of decades. No doubt it is an impressive achievement, although not so much for the rest of the world as it is for India. There are better examples of achieving high human development, although not as many examples where it was achieved while low levels of growth.

Impressive how a communist philosophy can serve people interest not the dictators. Highly participative democracy made possible to shape the policy into achieving good quality of life without any populist rhetoric used and abused by other hard core socialist countries.
HDI across States, 1999–2000 and 2007–8

Yet, communist have nothing to celebrate for, as I believe that KMD is just a (good) job half-done. The deficit of political imagination endangers the sustainability of this model and, as many authors would say, it needs to generate growth to sustain itself.

Drunk malayalams wonder the streets at night, many of them because they have nothing productive to do. 

Behind it’s natural beauty there is a true despair, domestic violence, alcoholism and suicides. 

Hindu man have never been good toward real women, while they praise and elevate to goddesses female fictive characters. 

In Kerala there have been some significant positive changes. Women have gained access to education, as their role in enhancing human development has been recognized and supported both by the society and the state.

Women in Kerala

But still, educated woman are voiceless within the home and society and there are not enough of them in politics. People get into huge debts to provide good dowry so to find the perfect match for their daughters. A cases of suicide and domestic violence are widespread in its chauvinist society. 

Kerala is providing with educated people the rest of India and abroad. The government proves to be incapable to provide jobs for its educated people. Many of them flew the country to find a job elsewhere and support the family from a distance. 

The harsh unionisation within the country scares away the manufactures. Not much of a business friendly country. 

Unemployment Rate of major states 2011-12 (Age: 15-59 years)

Source: Economic Review 2014

Remittances are proved to be around 21-22% of the state income that basically sustain the state, together with tourism. 

Not only education but, providing the youth with the right skills and spread entrepreneurial culture may improve the situation. 

KMD has proved to be first world country in human development but in economic development in just another third world country. This phenomenon is called Human Development lopsided growth (HD-lopsided)

Modi-nomics: Development for who?

Let’s go to Gujarat for a while. 

Gujarat is richer and basic infrastructure is provided, there is no more big electricity cuts, and water is abundant. 

The state of Gujarat that has experienced a rapid economic growth in the last 12 years. The state economy raised 10% a year between 2002 – 2012 driven by massive industrialization and much Modi-nomics.

The Economist

Much of its economic success is attributed to one man, now prime minister of India, Narendra Modi. 

In 2014 he won a tremendous victory to make India’s economy work. Good governance is at the heart of India’s failure. It is partly because of the fact that much power is given to the states, the fact that one must deal with a regional and caste based parties, and the colonial and socialist past has given India a bureaucratic system hard to change. 

Born as OBC (other backward casts) Modi married a child while a child himself later abandoned his wife to pursue a career in politics. True Hindu toward his woman but it gives hope to know that an OBC in India can go high as Prime Minister.

He’s been state minister since 2001. Built a reputation as a fierce technocrat, operating always in a focused way making his state business friendly. A true corporate man having into account that India is ranked 142nd for Doing Business according to the World Bank last report. 

Where Kerala succeeded Gujarat has failed. It failed in poverty reduction, in closing the gender gap in access to education, where there it’s 17% while in Kerala is only 4%. Fells above in almost all human development indicators compared with those of Kerala. This phenomenon in known as economic growth lopsided ( EG-lopsided).

Kerala or Gujarat? Nothing much to choose from really, unless the two models merge. Not something to expect to happen, unless the new government is prove to be more imaginative and pro-poor oriented. 

What is true development?

Human life has several dimension: social, political, economic, psychological, and cultural and they should be all part of the development process.

More people access to basic education and health care, more likely is for the poorest that they would have better chance of overcoming penury. 

The KMD proves that high human development doesn’t transfer into an economic growth. Human development is necessary but not sufficient condition for economic growth. Economic growth is an instrument, not a final objective in development.

The first country should be looking upon KMD is India. Then it should be followed by other poor countries as it clearly proves the argument presented by Amartya Sen that we don’t need to wait to achieve certain level of economic growth to provide basic social services to all people in our selected country. That’s what I call a good news with an example. 

Overcoming the restriction created artificially by a caste system imposed by a predominantly Hindu society is another way to go. Outcasts, like dalits form more than 40% of the society and are the poorest in the country. The Hindu culture is still restrictive toward others and prejudices based on caste are still well alive.

Breaking India's Unjust Caste System

Development priorities should be set according to the country or region of interest and it’s unique characteristic. Could not accept the argument that development is all about human development. 

Human development and economic growth make a two way relationship. Both must be promoted to sustain any countries progress. 

Lower growth, as noted in Kerala, may negatively affect the economy by shrinking the governance revenue and the availability of resources necessary to improve human development. 

The History of Hindu India

The song that most of the time was in my background while learning about India.


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