Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Aug 26, 2005
Industry & Economy
Kerala shows growth in all sectors, says report
Thiruvananthapuram , Aug. 25
THERE has been a revival of Kerala economy post-1990s with all the three primary, secondary and tertiary sectors showing impressive growth momentum, according to a report by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS).
The Kerala Human Development Report, prepared by CDS for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Planning Commission, says that at one point of time, the human development in the State was seen to face an uncertain future, what with a fragile economic base in terms of an insignificant industrial sector.
But these fears are now receding as human development and economic growth have started reinforcing one another. This "virtuous" growth, however, would not have been possible but for certain enabling conditions such as demographic dividends, emigration and economic reforms, says the report.
A highlight of Kerala's development experience is the rapid reduction in intra-State disparities and gender differential in many indicators of human development. However, even though the State has been able to reduce gender inequality in access to health and educational services, it has continued in other sectors and this has come in the way of elimination of female disadvantage in social and economic sectors.
In the matter of non-income indicators of human well being, the report notes that the State's achievements in mortality, fertility, longevity, education and nutritional areas have been improving and they are now at levels comparable to many advanced countries.
The challenge now is to maintain the achievements at the current high levels and also be prepared to tackle the enhanced levels of dependency ratios arising of the increasing life expectancy in the State.
The resources must be found to maintain the achievements and meet the emerging needs, the report says and adds that the importance of raising incomes and alleviating income-related poverty in this context cannot be exaggerated.
The report notes that Kerala's achievement on the income front has been at least a mixed one. Until the mid-to-late 1980s, the State's performance in various non-income indicators was not matched by its performance in either per capita income growth or consumption and expenditure-related poverty. This was also reflected in the State's relatively poor showing in income-related indicators.
In the matter of poverty, its group-wise distribution is still a matter of concern for the State. Absolute deprivation continues to be largely a monopoly of marginalised communities such as the Adivasis and fishermen. And the hiatus between the Scheduled Castes and non-Scheduled castes is a distressing symptom of horizontal inequality in the State, says the report.
The growth and poverty aspects of the Kerala economy showed a substantial improvement from the late 1980s, fuelled by remittances from overseas earnings, the growth of the services sector and the synergistic relationship between human development and income growth. These were complemented by the State initiatives in poverty reduction through widening of social security net.
"That the State has maintained a better record in providing a range of welfare programmes aiming at enhancing the socio-economic security assumes significance here," says the report.
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