Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Governance and Human Development in Kerala: Experiences and Prospects

Pillai N., Vijayamohanan (2003): Governance and Human Development in Kerala: Experiences and Prospects.

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It is generally recognised that decentralisation, as practised in Kerala, has not only enhanced her capability vector but also had significant impact on quality, efficacy and inclusiveness of that development. The spectacular performance of Kerala in enhancing the vector of human capabilities owes, as we know, very much to public action that has over time become a way of life for her. It is in the sense of popular demand and public provision we define ‘public action’, representing participation of both the complementary sides of demand and supply. A dialectical equilibrium between popular demand (backed by a political purchasing power in terms of organisation and mobilisation) and public supply marks development. Recognising the role of the collectivity or the state in creating and sustaining an enabling environment for the individuals to realise their freedom also identifies in effect the correlative duty bearers. So it occurred in Kerala too; despite being autarchic, the two Princely States of then Kerala pioneered a development path through education and health in the name of welfare of the subjects. And with the emergence of the radical popular welfare politics, this development path became so inalienable to Kerala that it continued to be the main state policy, irrespective of its political colour. The present paper examines this trajectory.

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