Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The state that spends the most...

A glance at the NSS consumer expenditure survey made me copy down a few points more as reference since one fails to reach a conclusion when it comes to Kerala.

The NSS consumer expenditure survey aims at generating estimates of average household monthly per capita consumer expenditure (MPCE), its distribution over households and persons, and its break-up by commodity group, separately for the rural and urban sectors of the country, for States and Union Territories, and for different socioeconomic groups. These indicators are amongst the most important measures of the level of living of the respective domains of the population. The distribution of MPCE highlights the differences in level of living of the different segments of the population and is an effective tool to study the prevalence of poverty and inequality. These numbers enable the apex planning and decision-making process to allocate the nation’s resources among sectors, regions, and socio-economic groups, and assess the “inclusiveness” of economic growth.

Among the major States, Kerala (Rs.1835) had the highest rural MPCE. It was followed by Punjab (Rs.1649) and Haryana (Rs.1510). In all other major States, average rural MPCE was between Rs.750 and Rs.1250.

Average rural MPCE year 2009-2010
 Maharashtra (Rs.2437) and Kerala (Rs.2413) were the two major States with the highest MPCE in the urban sector, followed by Haryana (Rs.2321). Urban MPCE was lowest in Bihar (Rs.1238).

In the major States, the share of food in rural MPCE varied from 46% for Kerala and 48% for Punjab to 64% in Assam and 65% in Bihar. In the urban sector it varied from 40- 41% in Kerala and Maharashtra to 52% in Jharkhand and 53% in Bihar and Assam.

The share of cereals in total expenditure in rural India varied across the major States from 7% in Punjab and Haryana to 21% in Assam and Bihar. In urban India, the share varied from 6% for Haryana, Punjab and Kerala to 13% in Assam and 15% in Bihar.

How is Kerala spending?

Kerala spends equally on cereals and intoxicants! :)
The percentage of rural population with MPCE above Rs.1000 exceeded 70% in Haryana and Punjab, while in Kerala 80% of the rural population had MPCE exceeding Rs.977
 At the all-India level only about 0.4 percent of rural households had access to internet at home compared to about 6 percent of urban households. Among the larger States, Kerala had by far the highest proportion of households with internet access in the rural sector (about 3 percent), followed by Himachal Pradesh (about 2 percent). In the urban sector Maharashtra (about 10 percent) reported the highest percentage among the larger States, followed closely by Kerala and Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana. While States like Goa and Arunachal Pradesh (rural) and Chandigarh (urban) clearly had greater internet access compared to most major States, larger sample sizes would be necessary in order to estimate the percentages of households with internet access in these small states and UTs with reasonable accuracy.

Why is Kerala showing these figures?

NRI remittance?


Keralites migrated to different places including states in India much earlier. This meant that at least one member (more in some places) in every family was not depending on the state for his sustenance, instead in most cases he became a major or a minor contributor.

According to the latest studies done by the Centre for Development Studies, the diaspora's remittances account for 31.23 percent of Kerala's net state domestic product.

The link between migration and poverty is complex and dependent on the specific circumstances in which migration takes place. Migration can both cause and be caused by poverty. Poverty can be alleviated as well as exacerbated by migration. In Kerala, India, for example, migration to the Gulf States has caused wages to rise, reduced unemployment, and improved the economic situation of those left behind.19 In
other situations, migration does not lead to economic or social improvement. Research on the impact of labour migration in tribal Western India found that for poorer migrants ‘many years of migration have not led to any long-term increase in assets or any reduction in poverty’. However the study also noted that migration offered poor migrants ‘a short-term means to service debt and avoid the more extreme forms of dependency and bondage’.

100% literacy

For the Keralites, 100% literacy also meant that they were better equipped to benefit from migration. Migration itself could be an off shoot of education. If the state could absorb only a part of the educated ones, the rest had to find a way out.

Guess, at the end of the day it is EDUCATION which plays a major role.

But if migration had not happened, would Kerala be in the present state? I doubt since the state has not much to boast in terms of job creation in the state itself.

The current government barely exists but Kerala has been lucky to have two parties governing one after the other. A strong opposition party always existed.

Kerala shall remain as a consumer state and hence the sector which can be improved is the tertiary sector. Since Kerala has already found a place in the tourist map, it needs to urgently improve the roads and other infrastructure. Higher education is another area where it can do much. It also needs to do much more in conserving water by encouraging rain water harvesting and it’s likes. It also needs to clean up its water sources.

The recent budget proclamation made some of us want to rush back to Kerala :) but since Keralites are the worst cynics, we know that these shall remain in paper only. God’s own country needs only a little push from the government be it the center or the state to live up to it’s name but will that ever happen?



  1. Very informative.

    ... at least one member (more in some places) in every family was not depending on the state (Kerala) for his sustenance, instead in most cases he became a major or a minor contributor.

    Kerala is perhaps the only state where agriculture (food grain production) stagnated. It turned itself into a money order economy over the years.

  2. Uptake: Yes.. sadly Kerala has turned itself into a money order economy over the years. Earlier there was much revenue from it's cash crops atleast.. but now even the cultivation of the "black gold" is slowly dying.

    But what can you expect when govt. comes up with such silly ideas like air strips in every Panchayat! and not to forget the number of airports in waiting :) If only each govt. would concentrate more on agriculture, tourism sector, higher education, Kerala can still move ahead. The introduction of IT parks was a good move.

  3. as they say thinnum kudichum nashikkunnu...athrathanne..
    well actually, the younger crowd is perhaps better...

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