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A REFERENCE ANNUAL
RESEARCH, REFERENCE AND TRAINING DIVISION
MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Area : 38,863 sq kms
Population : 3,33,87,677 (as per census 2011)
Capital : Thiruvananthapuram
Principal Language : Malayalam
HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
Kerala is in the extreme south-west of the Indian subcontinent. When independent India amalgamated smalls states together Travancore and Cochin states were integrated to form Travancore-Cochin State on 1st July 1949. However, Malabar remained under the Madras province. Under the State’s Re-organisation Act 1956, Travancore-Cochin state and Malabar were united to form Kerala state on 1st November 1956.
In between the high Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian sea on the west, the width of the state varies from 35 km to 120 km. According to the geographical features, the state can be divided into hills, valleys, midland plains and coastal belt. 44 rivers (41 west flowing and 3 east flowing) cut across Kerala with their innumerable tributaries and branches. The backwaters form an attractive and economically valuable feature of Kerala.
The provisional estimate of agricultural income of the state recorded a slight increase of 2.75 per cent during 2008-09. The provisional estimate for 2009-10 indicated an increase of 0.25 per cent in growth over 2008.09. Kerala received 359.6 mm pre monsoon rainfall (from 1st March to 31st May 2010) which was normal. Eight districts in the state (Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kollam, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram and Wayanad) received normal rainfall. Out of a total geographical area of 38.86 lakh ha. net sown area is about 5th per cent. Forest occupies around 28 per cent. Agriculture and forest sectors together account for over 84 per cent of the land area.
Increase in area under paddy has been recorded in Kottayam (45.23 ha), Palakkad (4332 ha) and Wayanad (249 ha) while the corresponding increase in production are 7258 MT, 26087 MT and 1782 MT respectively during 2009-10.
DRINKING WATER SUPPLY
Safe drinking water was accessible to 72.77 per cent of the total population in Keala during the period 2009-10. In urban and rural areas of the State, 84.80 per cent and 68.55 per cent of the population were covered respectively by water supply schemes as on March 2010. The total number of urban and rural people covered by water supply schemes in Kerala was 70.11 lakh and 161.60 lakh respectively. In 2009-10, the additional population covered was 319096, in which 312695 were in the rural area. During 2009-10, Ernakulam District had the highest rural water supply coverage (97.83%).
Kerala has now become an attractive investment destination. Village and traditional industries have been revived and rejuvenated for healthy growth thereby bringing substantial relief to lakhs of workers depending on them for their livelihood. Medium and large industry sector have also witnessed substantial hike in public investment and with its help the KSIDC and KINFRA have initiated the setting up of a few mega projects. The loss making State PSUs have started generating profits. The contributions of manufacturing sector to GSDP at constant and current prices are 9.26 per cent and 9.33 per cent respectively during 2009-10.
Commodity exports recorded high levels of volume and value/growth in 2009- 10 as compared to last year, 2008-09 except in the case of Cashew Kernels and Coffee.
The total number of Joint Stock Companies in Kerala as on March 2010 is 1720 in which 1649 are public limited and 15551 are private limited. This shows an addition of 1307 companies over the previous year.
An amount of Rs. 23378.47 crore has been projected as the central sector investment in Kerala as on the end of March 2009, as against total central investment of Rs. 977802.96 crores. This constitutes 2.39 per cent.
The surface irrigation constitutes major chunk of irrigation infrastructure in the state. There are 18 dams in the state intended for irrigation. Out of this, 13 have storages and 5 are barrages. Irrigation development in Kerala is mainly centered on the development of surface water resources, mainly on the development of major and medium irrigation projects. In each Plan, priority in allocation was given for the development of major and medium irrigation projects. Out of a cumulative expenditure of Rs. 4637.6 crore (2009-10), Rs. 3191.4 crores (68.82%) is invested for major & medium irrigation. About 60 to 70 percent of the investment in each plan was made for this purpose. Rice is the major crop benefited through irrigation infrastructure.
As per the assessment of the Directorate of Economics and Statistics the net irrigated area in the state as on March 2010, is 3.86 lakh ha. and the gross area irrigated is 4.54 lakh ha.
During 2009-10, among the crops, paddy tops among the major crop supported by irrigation. It accounted for about 37 per cent followed by coconut (33%), banana (8%), arecanut (8%) and vegetables (4%).
Power Sector plays a vital role in all developmental activities in Kerala. Obviously power crisis is the Prime Obstacle to start new initiatives in the industrial field. The need for power is increasing and the production of power should also increase accordingly. Monsoon is essential to sustain the hydropower base in the State and the shortage in rainfall usually creates power crisis. Kerala received abundant monsoon during the current year and it increased the inflow in to KSEB reservoirs; the KSEB could manage the power supply situation with higher quantum of cheaper hydel power. Kerala is one among the very few states in the country where there was no load sheading and power cut during 2009-10. KSEB has been responsible for the generation, transmission and supply of electricity in the State of Kerala, with particular emphasis to provide electricity at affordable cost to the domestic as well as for agricultural purposes. The Board has been passing through a transitional phase of reforms in the electricity sector. The Electricity Act 2003 envisages separate organizations for Transmission and Distribution.
The state holds significant industrial potential owing to good infrastructure facilities like power, transport system, airports, port and harbors and availability of rare materials.
The PWD (Roads) wing deals with the maintenance of National Highway within the State and construction and maintenance works related to State Highways and Major District Roads. The department follows a strategy to improve, including upgrading the existing roads in a prioritized manner depending upon the condition and infrastructure needs for economic growth. The department intends to avail budgetary support, institutional and private finance in improving the road section. There are 9 National Highways passing through the State of Kerala with a total length of 1535 km.
Port Sector : The Kerala state lies in the south west corner of the Indian peninsula. It has a coastal length of 585 km and the state has an average width of about 60 km with one major port at Cochin and 17 non major ports.
Railways: Railways are essentially the cause for industrial upsurge in the nation and it still remained the largest employment provider for the huge population of the country. The total length of track used by Indian Railways is about 111599 km. The State total Railway route has a length of 1198.9 Km and covers 13 Railway routes. The Railway divisions at Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad and Madurai jointly carry out Transport Operations in Kerala.
Air Transport : Kerala has three airports at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhicode handling both International and domestic flights. Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhicode airports are owned by Government of India and Kochi airport is owned by Kochin International Air Port Ltd. (CIAL), a company set up by Government of Kerala with public private participation.
Kerala is the home of many colourful festivals. Onam is the most typical of Kerala festivals which coincides with the harvest season. It is now celebrated on astronomical New Year Day. Navarathri is celebrated as Saraswathi Pooja in Kerala. Maha Shivarathri is celebrated on the banks of Periyar river as a spectacular festival which is compared to Kumbhamela. The 41-day festival, which coincides with Makaravilakku in Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple, attracts lakhs of people from India and abroad. The Vallamkali or boat race is typical of Kerala. All the boat festivals have a religious origin except Nehru Trophy Boat race conducted in the Punnamada Lake. Thrissur celebrates Pooram festival in April - May every year with an impressive procession of caparisoned elephants and display of unparalleled pyrotechnics. Main Christian festivals are Christmas and Easter. Mormon Convention held every year on the Pumba riverbed is the biggest gathering of Christians in Asia. The Muslims celebrate Milade Shareef, Ramzan fasting, Id-ul- Fitr and Bakrid.
Governor : Shri P. Sathasivam
Chief Secretary : Dr K M Abraham
Chief Minister : Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan
Jurisdiction of : Kerala and Lakshadweep High Court
mKeralam / single window for accessing government services
It is the one-stop shop for accessing all government services
Kerala, which in 2017 became the first State to declare Internet a basic human right, has notched up another first by launching mKeralam, an app that will serve as a single window for accessing thousands of government services.
Developed by the Kerala State Information Technology Mission, the app will initially offer 100 citizen-oriented public services of 20 departments, before eventually expanding to 1,000 services from more than 80 departments.
“The number of departments on board may exceed 100 if one takes into account directorates and commissionerates,” said Muraleedharan Manningal, Head of the State e-Governance Mission Team. The app was launched on Thursday by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at #Future, a global digital summit in Kochi.
The services accessible via mKeralam are already available throughwww.kerala.gov.in. “But the idea is to offer simplified access to citizen services across multiple platforms, including website, mobile app, and Akshaya centres so that citizens can pick whichever mode is most convenient,” Mr. Manningal said.
The government is fast-tracking the setting up of Statewide infrastructure to render all public services accessible on the mobile app. “Independent mobile application-based services by various departments will now be integrated and brought aboard mKeralam. The goal is to offer a one-stop shop for all public services, as it will not be convenient for citizens to depend on different apps for different services,” Mr. Manningal said.
The digital summit also witnessed the launch of Kerala Wi-Fi (KFI), which will be accessible at 1,000 public spaces evenly distributed across the State. The Wi-Fi will be available at hospitals, bus stops, parks, libraries, government offices, and other such places where public services are accessed.
5,000 Wi-Fi spots
“The objective is to have 5,000 Wi-Fi spots in five years by adding 1,000 spots each year. There would be unlimited access to government services, but we will have a cap on its use for other purposes, such as accessing social networking sites,” Mr. Manningal said. This differential provision of Wi-Fi, for government services versus other uses, has drawn some criticism on the grounds that it violates the principle of net neutrality.
The rollout of KFI was marked by the government granting, for a period of one year, unlimited free access to the network to all who registered digitally for the #Future summit.
State fruit: Jackfruit
The state declared jackfruit as its official fruit. Agriculture minister V S Sunilkumar, who announced this in the assembly, said steps would be taken to promote the fruit as a brand in the country and abroad by showcasing its qualities.
The minister said the state could generate an annual income of Rs 15,000 crore through the sale of the fruit and its value-added products.
"Over 30 crore jackfruit is being produced annually in the state. Grown naturally without using any fertiliser or pesticide, it is fully organic and it has the potential to be sold as highly-profitable value-added products," minister added.
Sunilkumar said the government would distribute more jackfruit saplings among the public to grow in their households. The agricultural office in Ambalavayal, Wayanad will be the research station for the crop.
The state had earlier announced elephant as its official animal, great hornbill bird, kanikkonna flower and pearl spot fish.
AREA, POPULATION AND HEADQUARTERS OF DISTRICTS
District Area (sq km) Population Headquarters
Thiruvananthapuram 2,192 33,07,284 Thiruvananthapuram
Kollam 2,491 26,29,703 Kollam
Pathanamthitta 2,637 11,95,537 Pathanamthitta
Alappuzha 1,414 21,21,943 Alappuzha
Kottayam 2,208 19,79,384 Kottayam
Idukki 4,358 11,07,453 Painavu
Ernakulam 3,068 32,79,860 Ernakulam
Thrissur 3,032 31,10,327 Thrissur
Palakkad 4,480 28,10,892 Palakkad
Malappuram 3,550 41,10,956 Malappuram
Kozhikode 2,344 30,89,543 Kozhikode
Wayanad 2,131 8,16,558 Kalpetta
Kannur 2,966 25,25,637 Kannur
Kasaragode 1,992 13,02,600 Kasaragode
Kerala the green strip of land, in the South West corner of Indian Peninsula. Its unique feature, culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demography has made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. This Tropical paradise with its specitacular and diverse natural attractions has greatly attracted holiday makers from across the world. Kerala is one among the longest-lived, healthiest, most gender equitable and most literate regions makes it distinct from other developed countries.
2017: "Destination to watch"
The Hindu, January 3, 2017
Kerala has been pegged as a ‘Destination to Watch’ in 2017 by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), the U.K.’s largest and most influential body of travel agents and tour operators.
Described as a ‘true haven for travellers’, ‘God’s Own Country’ is the only Indian entry on the list of 12 tourist hotspots.
The list, featured in ABTA’s Travel Trends Report 2017, has Kerala in the eighth spot — higher than premier destinations such as the U.S., Sardinia, South Africa, and Vietnam. The rankings consist of locations that are expected to capture travellers’ imagination.
Lauding the State’s ‘multitude of experiences for holidaymakers’, the report marks for emphasis Kerala’s natural riches — in particular its serene beaches, enchanting backwaters, misty hill stations, lush forests and exotic wildlife — and its cultural and culinary offerings. There is also a special mention of the rejuvenating touch of traditional Ayurveda therapies.
Among the not-to-miss experiences mentioned is a journey through the backwaters in the traditional houseboat, ‘as the life of the local people, spice plantations and forests slowly unfold before you’.
Commenting on the State making it to the list, Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran said, “This latest recognition of Kerala’s stature as a must-visit destination is a matter of pride for us and bodes well for the year ahead.”
“This is an excellent start to the year and will add momentum to our ongoing efforts to promote and showcase Kerala around the world. This is especially important in the U.K., which is our primary source market for tourists,” said Principal Secretary (Tourism) Venu V.
Kerala received 1,66,792 tourists from the U.K. in 2015, which is 17.06 per cent share of the total foreign arrivals to the State. The predictive ranking by the ABTA, whose members reportedly sell £32 billion worth of holidays and other travel arrangements every year, suggests the outlook for the State will remain bright.
Director of Tourism U.V. Jose said it is a endorsement not only of the State’s capacity to attract and cater to a wide range of travellers, but also the innovative campaigns and marketing initiatives that have helped position ‘God’s Own Country’ on the world tourism map. The list also features Anadalucia, the Azores islands, Bermuda, Chile, Croatia, and Denmark.
(Source : Economic Review 2010, State Planing Board Thiruvananthapuram, February 2011 & CENSUS OF INDIA 2011 Provisional Population Totals Paper 1 of 2011 Kerala Series 33)
Wildlife parks and sanctuaries: India
ERAVIKULAM NATIONAL PARK
Situated in the higher reaches of the Western Ghats, Eravikulam is basically rugged rocky out crops, grass covered plateaus and evergreen tropical forests in the valleys and along the streams. Such diversity makes this park rich in species diversity too. The highest peak of Western Ghats Anaimudi (Elephant's head) is located within the park.
Though Elephant, Tiger, Gaur, Leopard, Nilgiri Langur, Liontailed macaque, and Giant squirrel are found here, it is the real home of the Nilgiri Tahr. It is really fascinating to watch these mountain goats move along precipitous rocky cliffs with ease.
Best time to visit == November to April.
PERIYAR NATIONAL PARK
It is one of the important Tiger Reserve and a popular tourist destination as well. Spread over 350 sq.km., Periyar National Park was the hunting preserve of Maharaja of Travancore. The construction of a dam across Periyar river in 1897 specifically for an irrigation project created an ideal situation for providing perennial water source for the animals, thereby leading to an increase in the biodiversity of the area.
A boat ride in the lake provides you ample opportunities to sight animals from a safe distance. Elephants, Gaur, Barking deer, Sambar, Otters, are easily sighted. Tigers, Leopard, Wild dogs, are chance encounters only. A large number of water birds can also be seen in the lake. Bird watching in the vicinity of the rest house can be rewarding.
Periyar sustains two endangered primate species; the Lion tailed macaque and the Nilgiri Langur. Spotting a Nilgiri Langur at Thekkadi boat landing is always a possibility.
Location: 32 kms from Peermade
Best time to visit: October to April
Area: 777 sq. kms
Nearest Airports Madurai (140 kms), Cochin (200 kms), Thiruvananthapuram(272 kms) Nearest Railway Station Kottayam (114 km), Bodinayakanur By Road Regular bus services connect Periyar with major stations
Forest Rest Houses, Aranya Niwas Ph. 0486922023, 22283 Edapalayam Lake Palace Ph. 0468322223, 22283 Periyar House Ph. 0480922026
Field Director, Project Tiger, Kanjikuzhi, Kottayam, Kerala
ANAMALAI NATIONAL PARK (INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL PARK)
Anamalai National Park, situated in the Anamalai hills, is hardly a twohour drive from Coimbatore, and is easily accessible. Though small, it provides an opportunity to sight a good number of animals. Elephant, Gaur, Sambar, Barking deer, Tiger, Leopard, Wild dog, Lion tailed macaque, Nilgiri Langur, etc. The sanctuary has always been a delight for bird watchers.
Sighting of wild animals from within the complete safety of the rest houses is a total possibility at Top slip. But stay in tree top bamboo huts, anchored on tall trees within the forest, can always be a lifetime experience. At dusk, you are likely to see a herd of Elephants roaming around on the forest floor and one can feel their movements at night though you may not spot them.
At Top slip, you get an opportunity to take a walk in the forest and know more about medicinal plants, as this protected area has a good diversity of such plants.
Location: Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
Area: 958.6 sq. kms
Best time to visit: February to June
By Air : Coimbatore (80 km) By Rail Pollachi (35 km)
PARAMBIKULAM WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Parambikulam in Kerala is contiguous with the Anamalai National Park in Tamil Nadu. Parambikulam has marshy grasslands in the valleys whereas the surrounding hills have rich evergreen deciduous forest cover.
Elephant, Gaur, Sambar, Chital, Barking deer, Wild dogs, Leopard, Tiger, Lion tailed macaque, Nilgiri Langur, are the main mammals found. Crocodiles can be seen in the marshy area as well. Bird diversity is high here.
A centre provides information on the flora and fauna besides providing the tourists with trained guides.
The beaches of Kerala are renowned for their pristine beauty. The string of beaches in and around Kovalam and Thiruvananthapuram provide ample opportunities for surfing, snorkelling and other water sports.