Vikasarth 2022 | Thirty Years of Indian Economic Reforms: Assessing the Growth and Development of Kerala | Session 2: Emigration, Consumption Boom and the Service Economy with Professor K.P. Kannan and Dr. A.A. Erumban, moderated by Dr. Sumeetha Mokkil Maruthur.

Session 2 discusses the Emigration, Consumption Boom and Service Economy of Kerala. A decade of economic stagnation in the 1980s, coupled with rising unemployment pushed many Keralites to explore avenues outside the State. This brought into prominence the role of remittances. The increase in the per capita income of Keralites triggered by remittances has led to a consumption boom. Due to its unique nature of being a consumer state and the prominence of remittances in its economy, Kerala is in a unique position today in terms of growth. A corollary of being a consumer state was that Kerala directly transited from an agrarian economy to a service economy, completely bypassing manufacturing consolidation. Kerala faces the daunting task of not stagnating and enhancing its strategies for service sector growth, an essential piece in sustaining Kerala’s economic growth going forward. 

Prof K P Kannan, Chairman, Laurie Baker Centre for Habitat Studies

Professor Kannan, a renowned development economist, is currently Chairman of the LBC as well as of COSTFORD, two institutions he has been actively involved with since their inception. An academician with a doctorate in development studies from the International Institute of Social Studies in Netherlands and a people’s science activist for years, he is also former Director of the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), where his long term endearing association with Laurie Baker began. A prolific writer, he is a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of two international professional journals viz., The International Social Security Review, and Globalizations and three national professional journals viz., The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Indian Journal of Human Development and Labour and Development, and also has numerous publications including books to his credit. A Human Development Report on Kerala, sponsored by UNDP, India, Indian Planning Commission and Government of Kerala, was prepared under his leadership in 2005.
He was a full time Member of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector during 2005-09 contributed by the Government of India.

Dr A A Erumban, Assistant Professor & Researcher, University of Groningen
Dr Erumban is an assistant professor at the Groningen Growth and Development Centre (GGDC) of the University of Groningen (RuG), The Netherlands, and a senior research fellow at the Conference Board. He has been teaching and researching at the University since 2009 but moved to the Conference Board as a senior economist in 2013. After more than six years of research and counseling experience at the Conference Board, he moved back to the University on a full-time basis in 2020. Dr. Erumban has excellent analytical skills and research experience and has published articles in reputed international academic and business journals, including the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Review of Income and Wealth, Industrial and Corporate Change, Journal of Comparative Economics, and Journal of World Business. He has contributed to many prestigious international conferences and important edited volumes and has written several blogs, including the reputed Wharton Knowledge Series and the Brookings future development series. In the past, Dr. Erumban has worked on consultancy to the OECD, the ILO, and projects funded by the European Commission (e.g., EU KLEMS, WIOD) and Kuwait Science Foundation. He is an advisor to the Asia KLEMS project and an external researcher to the Reserve Bank of India’s India KLEMS project. These are part of a global consortium called the World KLEMS initiated by Dale Jorgenson of Harvard University, aimed to understand productivity dynamics in the world’s major economies.

Dr. Sumeetha Mokkil Maruthur, Research Fellow, Migration Studies, Centre for Public Policy Research, India; and Senior Research Fellow, International Institute of Migration and Development
Sumeetha has a PhD in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi completed at the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum in December 2015. Her PhD thesis Labour in a Globalised World: Inmigration to the Gold Jewellery Making Industry in Kerala, India focused on the migrant workers and the changing labour process in the gold jewellery industry in Kerala, India. Her research interests include migration, labour process, surveillance, international migration and the future of work. She has more than a decade of research experience in migration studies. She has 12 publications (some of which are in the Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Economic and Political Weekly and Journal of Labor and Society) and has co-edited Handbook of Internal Migration in India, Sage Publications, New Delhi, which is a collection of 54 papers on migration in India. She has presented her work at national and international venues. Some of these include the International Labour Conference, New Brunswick, USA (2013) and the Workshop Alternatives to the Future of Capital at the Institute of New Economic Thinking, New York (2019). Recently (April 2022) she was awarded the Erasmus Worldwide Fellowship to be at International Centre for Development and Decent Work, University of Kassel, Germany. She has won many fellowships including UGC Junior and Senior Fellowship for Research and ICSSR Special Grant for International Travel. She has worked in various research positions at the National Centre for Earth Science Studies and the Centre for Development Studies. She has also taught economics at the National Institute of Technology and Christ University. Sumeetha is Research Fellow in Migration Studies at CPPR and currently, she is Assistant Professor, Economics, Sreenarayanaguru Open University, Kerala.

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