Kerala’s Development Experience: a Search for a Micro Response to a Macro Process

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Kerala’s development experience:
a search for a micro response to a macro process
abstract
The concept of development, in the sense of achieving ‘human good’ has always been there since the advent of human society, only with varying understanding, emphasis, and implications. It is seen as a process, requiring constant response and continuous solutions and also as a result of human action, only through which, reorientation of any development process becomes possible (Varma, 1989:34). The past decades have seen a series of development paradigms, involving progressive modifications, towards achieving the ‘human good’, but the results have been highly disappointing and distressing, with naked manifestation and a stark reality of the extreme riches and the extreme poverty existing side by side. In fact, most of the development approaches in the post-colonial era have contributed not only to the creation and perpetuation of such a divide but also in widening it endlessly. India’s macro development experience is an apt illustration of such a scenario. Kerala’s development experience has to be understood only in the context of the development experience of the country as a whole. Kerala’s development experience: search for a micro response to a macro process The concept of development, in the sense of achieving ‘human good’ has always been there since the advent of human society, only with varying understanding, emphasis, and implications. It is seen as a process, requiring constant response and continuous solutions and also as a result of human action, only through which, reorientation of any development process becomes possible (Varma, 1989:34). The past decades have seen a series of development paradigms, involving progressive modifications, towards achieving the ‘human good’, but the results have been highly disappointing and distressing, with naked manifestation and a stark reality of the extreme riches and the extreme poverty existing side by side. In fact, most of the development approaches in the post-colonial era have contributed not only to the creation and perpetuation of such a divide but also in widening it endlessly. India’s macro development experience is an apt illustration of such a scenario. Kerala’s development experience has to be understood only in the context of the development experience of the country as a whole. india’s development impact

In the post-colonial Independent India, which envisaged an advanced, prosperous, democratic, egalitarian and just society as implied in its constitutional proclamation of a ‘socialist pattern of development’, eradication of poverty became one of the prime targets of most of the early development initiatives. However, even after five decades of India’s independence, in spite of intensive development efforts, the result has not been much different. True, India has got an impeccable record of achievements to its credit. India has achieved a literacy rate of above fifty percent from a just 16 percent at the time of Independence. From a state of dependency for food, it has not only achieved a self-sufficiency but also has developed an export capacity in food production. The economic reforms in recent years and the process of globalisation have accelerated India’s economic capability in every direction including Industrial growth. With its large technological and professional man-power, with regard to nuclear, space and computer capabilities, India is fast emerging as a global power. Though these are commendable achievements, the overall picture is nowhere near the targets and far from satisfaction. In spite of India being one of the highest food producing countries in the world, one out of every two children in India is said to be malnourished. In the land of many rivers, safe drinking water seems to be still a pipe-dream for many. The health record is even more frightening as India is still the highest in the world, in the number of TB patients, malarial deaths,...
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