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Mapping Progress

Shashikala Sitaram

By Gopal K. Kadekodi
Academic Foundation, New Delhi, 2007, pp. 720, Rs. 1195.00


Karnataka has been above the national average in indicators of income, human development governance and many others. But it does shine better, if a road map is given as a quality reference document. What are the gaps that could gear up human development, improve literacy and education, change health care delivery systems, transform the social status of the deprived castes, and change gender equations? These and many more issues are addressed in the Karnataka Development Report by 80 subject specialists, coordinated by 20 experts from five research institutions—four from Bangalore, Indian Institute of Management, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Institution of Agricultural Technology, Institute for Social and Economic Change, and one from Dharwad, the Centre for Multi Disciplinary Development Research. The Planning Commission commissioned ISEC which provided the expertise and coordinated the work. The Karnataka Development Report with eighteen chapters on development issues in four parts focusses on macro perspectives and sectoral growths, microeconomic and social issues, governance, transparency and accountability and policy drive.   Despite Karnataka being called the ‘brain bank of India’ and the city of Bangalore the silicon valley of India, poverty and inequality in consumption persists. The state should become aware of the distributional implications which would worsen the already existing rich-poor divide. Economic growth shows high fluctuations, the tertiary sector has emerged as a major contributor to the state’s income and share of private investment in the state’s gross domestic product has been high: ‘An Overview of Karnataka’s Economy’ highlights the salient features and competitive performance of Karnataka’s economic growth.   ‘The Dynamics of Karnataka’s Growth’ indicates that the state has moved from being a middle ranking Indian state to a ‘fast growing’ one. Although this shows its superior relative performance, regional imbalances and uneven process of urbanization are matters of concern. Innovative strategy approach of ‘proactive planning’ and emphasizing on institutional innovation for better policy planning and implementation are elaborated in chapter two, adding value to the Report.   Much of the regional imbalances are due to the variations in natural resources—land, forests, water and minerals. ‘Natural Resources in Karnataka’ provides useful information though the account does not pertain to the regional differences within the state.   The effective and efficient use of natural resources depends on the quality of population. The result of painstaking work can be seen in the presentation on demographic profile, population growth, literacy, regional and gender differences in ...

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