Social Scientist. v 4, no. 46 (May 1976) p. 3.


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P SIVANANDAN

Economic Backwardness of Harijans in Kerala

IN THE matter of social development, though Kerala stands ahead of all other states in India, the pattern of distribution of social and economic opportunities within the state is highly inequitable among different social groups^ particularly between the Harijans and the rest of the population. The Harijans generally face considerable disadvantage in respect of all those aspects of income-earning opportunities like land holding, employment, and education.

This pattern of uneven development—with higher rates of development for the already well-off and slow rates of growth or near stagnation for the depressed—is not an unusual phenomenon. It has its counterparts in the field of economic development experiences elsewhere. For instance, it is well known that on the international scene, in countries with substantial economic achievements in the past, growth is steady and rapid while the backward economies are continuously being pushed to the wall. Likewise in a nation"^ economic growth, regional disparities in the rate of development arise through spread effects and backwash effects and the growth leaders almost always keep ahead. Further, the benefits of growth under a free market system are unevenly distributed, accentuating the already marked inequalities between the different social groups. The development in Kerala also seems to have heightened inequalities in



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