Several indicators that measure the quality of life of children and women show a marked variance when Gujarat is compared to Kerala. This gives a snapshot of the difference between the ‘Gujarat Model’ and Kerala’s people oriented path of development.

Education: Gujarat has a Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 96% at the primary stage, slightly lower than Kerala’s 100% and the India average of 103%. But, by the secondary stage (class 9-10), GER drops to 77% in Gujarat while it is still very high in Kerala at 97%. At the senior secondary stage, Gujarat’s GER has plummeted down to just 43% even lower than the India average of 51%. Kerala is way ahead at 83%. These striking figures show that more than half of students in Gujarat drop out by the time they are of the senior secondary stage. (Data for 2019-20; Source: UDISE)

Life Expectancy: It is the average age to which people live. In Gujarat it is 70.5 years while in Kerala it is 75 years. The India average is 70 years. (Data for 2016-20; Source: SRS, ORGI)

Infant Mortality Rate: This is the number of children dying before they reach 1 year age, out of 1000 live births. In Gujarat this is 23 while in Kerala it is just 6. India average is 28. (Data for 2020; Source: SRS, ORGI)

Child diet: Just 6% of children aged between 6 and 23 months were getting an adequate diet compared to 23.5% in Kerala, and 11.3% at the all India level. An adequate diet is defined as breast milk or certain amounts of non-solid or solid foods of different types as also regular intervals. (2019-20; NFHS-5)

Malnutrition: Three measures are used to evaluate whether children are malnourished. For children under five years of age, the data is: (2019-20; NFHS-5)

   • Stunting (low height for age): In Gujarat, 39% of children are stunted compared to 23.4% in Kerala and 35.5% at India level.

   • Wasted (weight for height): In Gujarat 25.1% of children are wasted while in Kerala the share is 15.8% and all India average is 19.3%.

   • Under-weight (weight for age): Nearly 40% children are underweight in Gujarat twice the share in Kerala which is nearly 20%. India average is 32%.

Child Anaemia: Among children 6-59 months old, an incredible 79.7% are anaemic in Gujarat, higher than even the India average of 67.1%, and much higher than the Kerala average of 39.4%. (2019-20; NFHS-5)

Women’s Education: In Gujarat, 73.5% of women are literate while in Kerala, 97.4% women are literate. More importantly, only about 34% of women in Gujarat have had 10 or more years of schooling. The corresponding figure for Kerala is 77%. The all India average is 41%. (2019-20; NFHS-5)

Women’s Marriage Age: In Gujarat, nearly 22% of married women in the 20-24 age group said they were married before they were 18 years old. This roughly the same proportion as the all India average of 23.3% but almost four times higher than the Kerala average (6.3%). (2019-20; NFHS-5)

Maternal Mortality Rate: This is the number of mothers that die due to complications during child birth for every one lakh births. In Gujarat it is 70 while in Kerala it is less than half at 30. India average is 103. (Data for 2017-19; Source: SRS, ORGI)
Women with Anaemia:  Nearly 63% of pregnant women (15 to 49 years old) in Gujarat were anaemic compared to 31.4% in Kerala. The India average is about 52%. Among all women in the same age group, 65% were anaemic in Gujarat compared to 57% at India level and 36% in Kerala. (2019-20; NFHS-5)

Expecting Mothers’ Care: While 77% expecting women in Gujarat got four ante-natal health check-ups, in Kerala it was slightly higher at 79% while the all India average was just 58%. But on the issue of a key component of this care – taking iron and folic acid – there was a wide difference. In Gujarat only 43% of expecting women took Iron/folic acid for 180 days while in Kerala the share of such women was 67%. The all India average is 26%. (2019-20; NFHS-5)

Spousal Violence: Among ever married women, 14% in Gujarat had experienced violence from the husband, while in Kerala the share was 9.9%. The all India average was about 29%. (2019-20; NFHS-5)

Home Facilities: In Gujarat 74% of households had an improved sanitation facility compared to Kerala where nearly 99% households had such facilities. The all India average is 70%. In Gujarat, about 67% households used clean fuel for cooking compared to 72% in Kerala, with the India average being 59%. (2019-20; NFHS-5)