Kolkata, Jan 7 (IANS) Weighing into the debate on Kerala versus Gujarat models of development, renowned economist Pranab Bardhan Monday said the high growth rate of Gujarat "does not make it a model" as its growth has not been accompanied by similar improvement in the welfare for the poor.
"I do not see what is a Gujarat model. If Gujarat has grown at a high rate, that does not make it a model. There are other states which have also grown at a high rate.
"Moreover, some people have pointed out that in Gujarat growth has not been accompanied by similar improvement in the welfare for poor people," Bardhan, a former economics professor from the University of California at Berkeley, told reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) here.
Reviving the dormant debate of Kerala versus Gujarat model in his latest book "India's Tryst with Destiny", co-authored by economist Arvind Panagariya, Columbia University professor Jagdish Bhagwati has criticised economists such as Nobel laureate Amartya Sen for advocating the Kerala model of growth rather than its Gujarat counterpart.
Reacting to Bhagwati's comment, Sen said there was a lot to learn from Kerala about delivering quality of life. "I have, of course, said there is a lot to learn from Kerala, but not about the 'Kerala model'," the Nobel laureate said a couple of days ago in New Delhi.
Pointing out that Kerala was difficult to compare with Gujarat, Bardhan said: "Kerala has always been a lot better in terms of poor people's welfare. The state has grown at reasonably high rate, but in the longer period Kerala's growth is not high.
"So, I will not call it Gujarat versus Kerala growth model. In general basis it is not enough for an economy to grow if its majority of the people are poor and their welfare does not improve. Principally, growth alone is not enough for the welfare of the state," he averred.
According to Bardhan, instead of Kerala, Tamil Nadu would be an important contrast to Gujarat.
"An important contrast (to Gujarat) in India is Tamil Nadu, not Kerala. If you take the last twenty years, the state which has grown both in terms of growth and welfare is Tamil Nadu," he added,