Thiruvananthapuram: Sixty-one years after its formation, which was done by joining provinces where Malayalam was spoken as the main language, Kerala proudly counted its achievements on its formation day, November 1.
Kerala was formed on November 1, 1956 by integrating the erstwhile Malabar, under the British rule during the colonial era, with the princely states of Travancore and Cochin, thereby becoming one of the states of independent India, nine years after the nation’s independence.
State Governor P. Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala wished the people on the formation day, and the state itself decided to flag in a number of changes to mark the day.
One of the notable steps among them is a plan by which 200 local bodies will inaugurate waste management systems under the ‘Freedom from wastes’ project.
On many other aspects, the formation day is also a time for the state to count its feats that have put the state far ahead of its counterparts in the country.
Kerala was the first Indian state to achieve total literacy, and according to the 2011 census, the state also continues to lead in women’s literacy with 91.98 per cent women being literate.
On the human development index, Kerala beats all other Indian states including the national capital Delhi, on the basis of its high achievements on the parameters of health, education and standard of living.
Keralites also have the highest life expectancy, with the average longevity of a person placed at 74.9 years, which compares favourably even with those of citizens of some advanced countries.
On the index of infant mortality, Kerala rubs shoulders with the developed countries, with an average of 6 deaths reported from every 1,000 children under the age of one year. The national average of infant mortality for this age group is nearly five times this level.
For the same reason, when Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath criticised Kerala’s health standards during a recent visit to the state, there was an avalanche of criticism against him, with many driving home the statistics about the stark contrast between UP and Kerala in health standards.
In recent times, Kerala has also emerged a state that leads in digital competencies, with the largest penetration of mobile telephony and mobile banking in the country, for which the state was praised by President Ram Nath Kovind when he visited Kerala last week.
On the jobs front, however, the state faces criticism for the fact that its youth continue to be forced to seek employment outside the state and often outside the country. In recent years, the emergence of a string of technology parks in all the main cities of the state has opened up thousands of jobs in the IT sector, but that has not been sufficient to employ the large pool of educated youth in the state.