15 July 2014
Elderly parents in India are increasingly left behind and alone when their
children emigrate overseas. (photo: Peter Lemieux)
Yesterday, our daily news summary noted the phenomenon of nurses leaving Kerala for better salaries abroad. It’s an issue we explored in ONE in 2008:
According to the Centre for Development Studies, women now make up 15 percent of all Keralite emigrants and about 28 percent of those emigrants are Christian — a significant increase from 25 years ago.
Nurses in Kerala generally earn less than $1,000 per month. In Delhi, salaries are double and in the Gulf states as much as 10 times that amount. Attracted by these salaries, tens of thousands of Keralite nurses have accepted employment elsewhere in India or overseas. Currently, about 40,000 Keralite nurses work in the Gulf and another 25,000 in Europe and North America.
And emigration, we found, is taking a toll:
Many economists have hailed the Kerala Phenomenon — the common term referring to Kerala’s unique development model that sacrifices industrial production and job growth for a generous social welfare system — for achieving near universal literacy, providing quality health care and promoting greater gender equality. However, if the troubling social trends that have manifested in recent years accurately reflect life in Kerala, it may not be long before experts coin another term: “Kerala Paradox.”
Current statistics indicate that among Keralites rates of alcoholism, depression, suicide, domestic violence and divorce have been spiraling upward. Today, Kerala boasts the highest per capita liquor consumption in India, a suicide rate three times the national average and, in the most recent study, a level of domestic violence that far eclipses the national average. And Kerala’s divorce rate has increased some 350 percent over the last decade. While tough to prove a cause-and-effect relationship between migration and these social ills, surmising one is not difficult.
Read more about Kerala’s Bittersweet Phenomenon in the September 2008 edition of ONE.
Tags: India Kerala Emigration