The South Indian state of Kerala, long touted for achieving a high quality of life in the face of dire poverty, relies heavily on earnings sent from menial jobs abroad, the New York Times reports. Offered as a leftist alternative to market-driven development in poor nations, Kerala is famous for the health care and education given to its populace
despite a per capita income almost $100 lower than the Indian average.
But a third of Keralites are supported by funds from migrant labor, the Times notes. Earnings sent home from jobs in the Persian Gulf mask high chronic unemployment and are the lifeline of the state's social achievements, critics say, including literacy and life-expectancy rates comparable to the developed world.