Human Development Report 2005 (Kerala)

Kerala stands unique among the Indian States with a consistently higher level of human development comparable with that of many advanced countries but with a much lower per capita income. This was highlighted by a pioneering study undertaken by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), in the mid-seventies and sponsored by the Committee for Development Planning of the United Nations (UN). The UN study was in a sense a Human Development Report of Kerala, the forerunner of the UNDP-HDR. The present Report continues from that base, but primarily deals with the second-generation problems of human development, such as quality. The challenge of the present report lies in the following:

(i) unraveling the lopsided development (high social development with low economic growth) that had characterised the Kerala economy till the late eighties;
(ii) understanding the new phase of growth during the last 15 years, and its possible linkages with human development;
(iii) charting a human development-based growth strategy for the future; and
(iv) building up an intellectual case for quality as an essential attribute of capability, for instance, in education.
The State Human Development Reports, are expected to convey important messages for planners and policy makers, through their diagnostic analyses and identification of factors contributing to successes and failures in human development.
The Kerala Human Development Report has been organised into ten chapters: An introductory chapter attempts an overview of Keralas development experience, explores the varied explanations, and suggests an approach towards addressing some of the development issues that the economy continues to face.

Chapter 2 summarises the many achievements of Kerala in human development, assessed in the space of non-income indicators of human well being.

Chapter 3 assesses Keralas development experience in income space, by reviewing its profile of per capita income-growth and its performance on the income-poverty front. The role-played by various programmes for socio-economic security initiated by the Government is highlighted, by way of a brief assessment.

Chapter 4 has been devoted to examining the problem of spatial inequality in human development. This has been analysed by examining the inter-district variations in human and gender development indices, as well as through an index of generalised deprivation.

Chapter 5 attempts to put the income and non-income dimensions of development together by examining the sometimes mutually reinforcing, and the sometimes mutually conflictual, relationship between human development and growth.

Chapter 6 emphasised the need to make the most of the immensely important asset of educational capital which the State has so assiduously built up over the preceding decades. This chapter also stressed the importance of paying attention to issues of quality, access, and the functional orientation of education, with particular reference to technical education, so that this vital component of human development may serve as an impetus to economic growth in a mutually reinforcing relationship.

Chapter 7 guards against complacence by pointing to the possibility that success can carry the seeds of its own failure, two compelling instances of which are the problems of educated unemployment and growing gender unfreedom.

Chapter 8 looks ahead, and attempts to sketch a strategy for realising a sustainable pattern of human development and income-growth which are mutually reinforcing. More specifically, the chapter discusses the prospects for growth based on the high levels of human development, the scarcity of certain factors of production such as land, peoples sensibilities on environment and quality of life, and the availability of an educated labour force.

Chapter 9 is devoted to a discussion of decentralised governance and human development.

Chapter 10 concludes the Report in the form of recapitulating the main findings and presenting a series of suggestions and recommendations not only for the further enhancement of human development in Kerala but also for strengthening the phase of the emerging virtuous growth cycle that links human development with economic growth.

For copies of the report please contact: State Planning Board, Pattom, Trivandrum