ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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‘Towards a More Prosperous and Plentiful Kerala’

A Green Model of Development for the 21st Century

The central proposition of this paper is that the Kerala economy must grow on a path that leverages the strengths of its ecosystem, both natural and social, in a way that engenders growth that is widely inclusive and inherently sustainable. The central concern must be whether and how far the various economic activities find a harmonious alignment with the differentia specifica of Kerala’s unique ecological wealth and social circumstances.

This is a revised version of the K N Raj Memorial Lecture delivered at the Achutha Menon Study and Research Centre on 6 August 2022. The author would like to thank Vinay Dabral, Jinendra Jain, Rahul Jain, Shobhit Jain, Himanshu Kulkarni, Michael Tharakan, S M Vijayanand, P S Vijayshankar and several members of the audience for their inputs.

The debate around the “Kerala model of development” has unfortunately remained stuck within the binary of growth, on the one hand, and human development-cum-distribution, on the other. Coming out of the either-or binary that imprisons the current debate could enable us to articulate a very different development trajectory, which learns the right lessons from history and leverages the unique social and ecological characteristics of Kerala.

I draw the title of my piece from a pamphlet Achutha Menon wrote in 1956, which also became the fulcrum of the manifesto of the Communist Party of India in the 1957 elections. The pamphlet was titled “Towards a More Prosperous and Plentiful Kerala.” In light of the general accusation against the left of “povertarianism,” I find it remarkable that, as early as the 1950s, Achutha Menon was already speaking in terms of prosperity and plentifulness. Both K N Raj and Achutha Menon were key contributors to the formulation of what has come to be known the world-over as the “Kerala model of development.”

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Updated On : 2nd Jan, 2023
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