However, this broad pattern doesnt hold for states like West Bengal and Kerala which recorded significant declines in rural poverty despite weak to moderate rates of growth. As noted earlier, redistributive policies like land reforms can and do make a big difference to poverty. These two indeed happen to be states which have been run by leftist governments committed to pro-people policies. Not surprisingly, land reforms have been better implemented, besides other targeted interventions to improve quality of life. Kerala still remains a model of what can be done even with low income levels its citizens have universal literacy and access to health care. As rural-urban differences are also less striking in the southern state, the physical quality of life is far superior. West Bengal is not quite in that league, but redistributive policies have made a big difference. But can Kerala and West Bengal continue to experience rapid declines in poverty despite weak to moderate growth Hardly. Redistribution works only up to a point. It cannot deliver the goods as it were unless the productive forces in society are unleashed. When industry is languishing and jobs are scarce, of what use are higher wages They will only come at the expense of larger unemployment. Coincidentally, these states have high levels of unemployment, especially of educated people. For the Kerala and West Bengal model to succeed, redistribution must happen with growth. With faster growth, it may even work better.