1.What is development?
We live in a world where concepts like human rights and political liberty are part of the day-to-day language yet we also live in a world were deprivation, destitution, and oppression taunt human existence every day. Existence of problems such as hunger, persistent poverty, and violation of basic human rights are undeniably a shame to human life and civilization. The main function of economic development is to overcome these problems. However, different economists approach development in different ways. Some express that economic growth and increasing real per capita income are constitutive function for economic development of a nation. In this paper, I recognize and substantiate that development means expanding the real choices and opportunities of each and every individual. The development potential of a state or a nation is determined by the economic, social, and political opportunities that are provided to its people.
It has been agreed and empirically proven that rising GNP and individual income are intermediate variables that play a prominent part in the process of achieving development but such increasing per capita income levels will be meaningless if determinants such as economic, social, and political arrangements are not given due consideration for expansion in the course of development. Quoting Amartya Sen, “Growth of GNP, and individual income are means for expanding the freedom enjoyed by the members of the society rather than ends in themselves”. Thus, what a nation can accomplish depends on its historical background, political outlook, and social fabric. Real economic development involves introducing key reforms that provide basic facilities of health, education, encouragement and cultivation of innovations.
The main objective of this paper is to understand the development experience of the state of Kerala in India. I examine the different factors that have contributed to Kerala’s development; primarily I look at the distinctive aspects of Kerala’s history; the politics of Kerala and finally the religious diversity and the social fabric within Kerala. Each of these contributing factors is examined in detail to understand the Kerala experience. The state of Kerala is represented as a model for development. In the light of understanding Kerala’s development, a more foundational, broad based, and inclusive view on economic development is constituted in this paper.
2. Kerala Model of Development
Kerala is a state in the south west region of India on the Malabar Coast. Spread over 38,863 km2, Kerala is the twelfth largest state by population and is divided into 14 districts. Kerala is not very different in terms of its geographical features, climatic conditions from the rest of the Indian states but it has shown such exemplary achievements of economic development that one pauses to reflect upon what the underlying reason are for Kerala being called as a model for development. The...