The southernmost state of India, Kerala has awesome natural beauty consisting of green palms, untouched beaches, meandering backwaters and innumerable other charms. Because of this, Kerala is also known as ‘God’s Own Country’. Not only this but Kerala is the only state to receive abundance of rain both from the South West and North East monsoons. This helps in having abundance of coconuts, rubber, coffee, tea, cashew and other crops.
Kerala offers the best Ayurvedic treatment through traditional system of medicine. These traditional practices are giving boost to the medical tourism in the state.
Apart from natural abundance, Kerala has many more feathers in the cap. These make the state a social paradise. The state displays the best gender equality across India and comparatively a safer place to live.
It is well known that literacy rate in Kerala is the highest in India and little below 100%. Population growth rate is the lowest in Kerala i.e. 3.44%. On the other hand Kerala has the Highest Development Index (HDI).
Kerala has the highest female to male ratio i.e. 1084:1000 whereas the national figures stand at 940:1000. The state enjoys the highest female literacy rate.
Kerala is at the top of social development factors and has the highest social development indices including primary education, poverty and healthcare. Because of this life expectancy is Kerala is the highest in the country.
According to the survey conducted by the Transparency International Kerala is the least corrupt state in India.
India Today magazine conducted a survey and found out that Kerala is at the top in the four sectors viz education, micro-finance, agriculture, marketing and investment. As per the survey Kerala showed 10% rise in domestic production and because of this it was hardly affected by the economic recession. Kerala is among the top states with respect to per capita income.
Kerala is chosen by the UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) as the first state in the world to become a “baby-friendly” state.
On the other hand Kerala also has the highest number of suicide and unemployment cases.
One of the reasons why Kerala is so good in education and health is because the state started from better percentage post independence as compared to the rest of the India. At the time of independence literacy rate in Kerala was 47%, in India it was 18% and Maharashtra literacy rate was 28%. By 2011 the figures reached at 94, 74 and 83% making an overall gain of 47, 56 and 55%. This indicates an almost equal gain.
Same is true for the health sector as the life expectancy at birth and infant mortality figures were not bad at the time of independence in Kerala. But credit of growth and sustenance surely goes to the Kerala.
By keeping the growth in mind a case study was conducted by the Centre for Development Studies at Thiruvananthapuram with the help of United Nations. Results and recommendations are known as the Kerala Model.
The Model has been developed by keeping in mind the achievements of Kerala in different fields such as living conditions, and other social indicators like low infant mortality rate, low population growth rate, high rate of literacy and life expectancy. Along with achievements, factors leading to the success, wealth and resource redistribution programmes and political participation are also part of the Kerala Model.
All across the state there are primary health centres that resulted in the high standard health care system. Pregnant women and new mothers get support through a state-supported nutrition programme. ‘Kerala Community Model’ in healthcare is greatly applauded by “the Economist”. Kerala Government provides funds to the community-based care programmes.
Kind of government Kerala had over a period of time has helped the state to grow further. Right and Left wing got elected alternatively and resulted in the growth of the state and spreading political awareness.
Since beginning education was made accessible to all rather than to few people of upper caste. Historically also Kerala was the center of Vedic learning. Women and non-Brahmins were also part of the education and learning system.
Landlord exploitation and tenancy was abolished by implementing Land Reform ordinance. Rice on subsidize rate was given to low-income households. Because of this Kerala has a low Hunger index score (17.66) and comes after Punjab. India’s Hunger index score is 23.31.
Also the history of Kerala in terms of trade is quite enthralling. Trade with the outside world was done through Kerala even before British rule in India. Even today the export of agriculture good is given due importance and boost.
In the success of Kerala, it is not just the nature and its strategic location but education especially female education, massive spending on health sector, export and economic growth play a crucial role.