Is Kerala a rich state

Five to eight / India: A communist lesson for the rest of the world


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Which governments can we think of that have managed the corona pandemic reasonably well in the past few months? Those of New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan or Germany, for example - often with the indication that most of them are run by women. However, one state in southern India is missing from this list: Kerala. Around 35 million people live there, around 140,000 of them currently in quarantine, most of them at home. The authorities in the state documented around 900 people infected with corona, seven of whom have died so far. That is just as many as in Taiwan, which has twelve million fewer inhabitants and is significantly richer. That was the status of last Wednesday.

An astonishing interim result - not only in comparison to the rest of India, where millions of people are stranded without income and often without food as a result of a chaotic lockdown, but also to the rest of the world.

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Why is that? Certainly not in terms of prosperity. Kerala's gross domestic product per capita is $ 2,000. For comparison: In the USA it is 63,000 dollars, in Germany 48,000 dollars. More like the KPI, the Communist Party of India, which is currently in power again in Kerala. The K should not be taken literally (anymore). Communism there corresponds to what one would call social democratic politics in Europe. But executed solidly and effectively, which is why Kerala has long been investing in its health and education systems and successfully fighting poverty. And according to the principle: All politics is local. Politics is supposed to be an entirely local matter.

The principle of the public common good

The result of the Corona crisis: Kerala has around 2,000 well-functioning public and private hospitals and Covid-19 supply centers in each district. There are also village councils who care for people in quarantine, provide information, ensure compliance with the lockdown and countless health workers who track the contacts and paths of infected people, as well as hundreds of local aid facilities in which stranded migrant workers are provided with accommodation and food. Children currently have their school meals delivered to their homes, and the poorest of the residents receive small social assistance payments.

Of course not everything is going well. Recently, the number of cases in the region has risen again, mainly because more and more guest workers are now returning home from the Gulf States, where they are no longer wanted. And how Kerala will cope with the economic slump, no one can say yet. But one thing is clear: In Kerala, the principle of the public common good applies to all residents, regardless of their religious affiliation, their caste or their geographical origin. The small state's success is an encouraging contrast to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his own Hindu-Only-Hindu-First-Nationalism. But it is also a lesson for other countries.