Express press service
KOCHI: Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s statement that people in his state should guard against Uttar Pradesh becoming like Kerala, Kashmir and West Bengal has caused ripples in political circles.
According to economists, pitting one state against another was “avoidable”, and in this case, Kerala ranks well above UP in terms of Human Development Index (HDI) and standard of living.
One economist even called Kerala an “established behemoth” while UP is a “nascent start-up” in socio-economic parameters.
“Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, is one of the poorest states in the country in 2017-18. The per capita income of UP at current prices stands at Rs 55,456 against Rs 114,958 for the whole country. On the other hand, the per capita income of Kerala was Rs 1,84,000 which is almost 3.5 times higher than that of UP,” said KV Joseph, Director from the International Institute for Migration and Development based in Thiruvananthapuram.
Similarly, the percentage of people living below the poverty line was 29.47 in UP compared to an all India average of 21.32 in 2011-12. In Kerala, the figure is as low as 11.16%, one of the lowest in India, he said.
Parma Chakravartti, Assistant Professor of Public Finance, Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation, said: “Without doubt, Kerala is a better model when it comes to HDI, which includes health, education and level of life.
Also, the higher daily wages in Kerala for low-skilled jobs have led to a large influx of migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh to Kerala. The minimum wage in Kerala for unskilled workers is in the range of Rs 287 to Rs 1,192 per day compared to Rs 295 to Rs 364 per day in Uttar Pradesh, according to the 2018-19 economic survey.
According to a study titled “In-migration, Informal Employment and Urbanization in Kerala” submitted to the State Planning Board last year, migrant workers are happy to work in Kerala as their daily or monthly earnings are much higher here compared to their States of origin. .
“Additionally, job opportunities are also limited in their home states,” said the report authored by Jajati Keshari Parida, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Central Punjab University, Bathinda, and K Ravi Raman , Member, State Planning Council, Government of Kerala.
According to the study, Uttar Pradesh had the third highest number of migrant workers in Kerala with 4.1 lakh (13.1%) after West Bengal (13 lakh or 41%) and Assam (9.8 lakh or 31.2%). On average, a UP migrant worker in Kerala sends home 30,574 rupees per year, according to the study.
“Based on the average remittance data, it is estimated that an amount of around Rs 7,500 crore leaves Kerala every year to other states,” the study says.
An economist, who wished not to be named, said UP vs Kerala is an avoidable controversy for an economist.
“It’s like comparing a fledgling start-up to an established juggernaut!). Uttar Pradesh is a startup (in socio-economic parameters)!” he said.
GIFT’s Chakrabartti said that given the reduced emigration rate and increased immigration rate in Kerala due to Covid, it will be a big challenge for the state to create jobs for returning Keralites and migrants from other states.
KV Joseph said the UP Chief Minister may have ventured to make a remark on Kerala to allude to the growing threat of Islamic fundamentalists in the state. “Or he probably wants to dismiss the lofty claims of Marxists that all the achievements of Kerala are exclusively due to their efforts and not those of other Keralites,” he said.
per capita income
MORE: Rs 55,456.
Kerala: Rs 1,84,000.
4.1 lakh UP migrants working in Kerala. Rs 30,574 Average amount returned by a Kerala UP worker per year.
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