Kerala: The Development Experience: Reflections on Sustainability and Replicability

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At a time when disillusion with neo-liberal development nostrums is mounting, alternative models of development are being revisited. Kerala`s 30 million people may not have experienced rapid growth in GDP per capita, but they have for the past several decades achieved a remarkable social record in terms of adult literacy, infant mortality, life expectancy, stabilising population growth, and narrowing gender and spatial gaps. What are the implications of the disjuncture between human development and economic growth? What are the political, social and cultural factors responsible for Kerala`s success? Does its human development record necessarily relate to sustainability in environmental terms? How inclusive has the Kerala model been, particularly for the fishing community and other socially marginalised groups? Can the new people`s campaign for decentralised development from below make Kerala`s development experience more enduring? What realistic view can be taken of its replicability elsewhere in India or further afield in the South? These are among the most important questions explored in this timely reassessment.