IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Poverty alleviation as advancing basic human capabilities: Kerala's achievements compared


  • K.P. Kannan

    (Centre for Development Studies)


This paper is complementary to my earlier paper on Public Intervention and Poverty Alleviation: Declining Incidence of Rural Poverty in Kerala (published in 1995). The objective of this paper is to go beyond the notion of income-poverty and consider the achievements in advancing basic human capabilities. Written for an Asian audience, the paper highlights Kerala's achievements in advancing basic human capabilities to an extent that is far above than would be warranted by its per capita income. For this reason, the experience of Kerala, along with a few other countries, has received considerable attention in the development literature. This paper highlights Kerala's achievements by comparing them with six Asian countries' performance. These countries are: India, China, Thailand, Malasia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. After examining the significance of Kerala's achievements, the paper discusses Kerala's record in relation to the selected six Asian countries. In addition, the paper also briefly deals with Kerala's achievements in relation to all-India since the Indian experience in general is one of slow progress and the task ahead is quite considerable both in absolute terms as well as in relation to most other countries. Emphasis has been given to public action by which Kerala has achieved considerable reduction in poverty. Here I have identified education as the central process through which other changes in society, especially for the poor, were brought about. In this process, the importance and impact of historical factors in poverty alleviation have been highlighted. Finally an attempt has been made to draw some lessons from the Kerala experience by focusing on the role of public action.

Suggested Citation

  • K.P. Kannan, 1999. "Poverty alleviation as advancing basic human capabilities: Kerala's achievements compared," Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers 294, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:cdswpp:294

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Education; health status; human capabilities; human deprivation; Human Poverty Index; income-poverty; mobilisation; poverty alleviation; public action;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ind:cdswpp:294. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamprasad M. Pujar). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.