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Kerala model of growth is better than Gujarat : Amartya Sen

New Delhi, Jan 5 () : A debate has been kicked off by Noble Laureate Amartya Sen on whether the Kerala model of growth or the Gujarat model is better.

Aravind Panagriya and Jagdish Bhagwati both from Columbia University criticized Sen for advocating the Kerala model instead of Gujarat model. Clarifying his advocacy of Kerala model, Sen said that he was talking about the quality of life and not just industrial development. From the figures given by Sen in terms of social development, Gujarat is behind Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh.

Per capita income in Kerala is Rs 9987, Rs 9042 in Himachal, Rs 7000 in Tamil Nadu and  is Rs 6,300 a year in Gujarat.

In Kerala the percentage of population below poverty line is 19.6% (2004-05 scale), in Himachal it is 22.9%, in Tamil Nadu it is 29.4 while in Gujarat it is 31.6. “For every 1000 children below five years, the infant mortality rate stands at 60.9 % in Gujarat, 39.5 in Tamil Nadu and 16.2 in Kerala,” revealed Sen.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh joined the debate terming the Gujarat model as the ‘Gujarati model’ and the Kerala model a ‘public action model’. He said the Gujaratis are basically businessmen and enterprising as well as growth-oriented while Keralites’ development model is result of direct action-political action linked with civil society movement and women’s movement.

Ramesh rated the Tamil Nadu model as geared towards high growth and high welfare expenditure producing superior outcomes.

On India growing slower than China, Sen said the bigger issue is  to understand the role of growth. “It is important to see how growth is generated and what are the resources generated.” Sen said that India’s aim to match China’s GDP was not enough but it should match the social development.He laid bare figures which showed that India was way behind.

China spends 2.7 per cent of the GDP on public health care system while India spends 1.2 per cent of the GDP. The average Chinese’s life expectancy is 73 years, while India’s is at 65. 43.5 per cent of Indian children are undernourished while in China it is at 4.5 per cent. 63 per 1,000 infants die in India, while it is 18 in China, noted Sen.