Kerala has the largest proportion of literate people and among the best social security system in the country. As per the 2011 Census, literacy rate of Kerala is 93.91 per cent, the best in the country. The national average is 74.04 per cent. High literacy rate makes implementation of good governance initiatives easier. The State has one of the best e-Governance ecosystem in the country. Interestingly, the State pioneered in e-Governance initiative at the bottom of the pyramid. Kerala has enacted a comprehensive Right to Services Act with several industry/business relevant services and corresponding timelines. The Act covers a number of departments/ agencies and provides clear timelines for the delivery of the services. Also, the Act defines the related punitive provisions in case the timelines are not met.
Kerala is a Star performer in this year’s SKOCH Governance study. The State won 14 SKOCH Orders-of-Merit and 4 SKOCH Governance Awards. All the 4 Awards are Platinum.
Per capita income of Kerala is higher than the national average. The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Kerala expanded by an average 9.9 per cent annual rate between 2004- 05 and 2014-15. After two decades of high economic expansion, GSDP growth of the State now lags behind the national average. Sharp drop in cash crop prices in the international markets and crisis in the Gulf economy have negatively impacted the State economy. Kerala is the largest producer of the cash crops like rubber, pepper, coconut and coir. According to Kerala Migration Study, 2014 by Thiruvananthapurambased Centre for Development Studies, 85 per cent the 2.4 million Keralites working abroad are in the Gulf. Remittances from Gulf make up over a third of Kerala’s GSDP.
The State has implemented several innovative initiatives that have helped improve governance and bring transparency. Kerala State IT Mission, Electronics & Information Technology Department has launched Digital Empowerment Campaign with an objective to make known to the common man the potential of ICT and Internet in day-to-day life and also tune him up on the potential of and the opportunities that it provides. The campaign is run through Student Police Cadets selected from high schools across the State.
With an objective to bring banking services to common man’s doorstep, Kerala State IT Mission has set up Akshaya Banking Kiosks. The State IT Mission has tied up with major banks to provide banking services through these kiosks. All financial needs of rural citizens like RD account opening, cash transactions up to Rs.10,000, fund transfer up to Rs.10,000 per day through IMPS or AEPS and loan lending and repayment can be done through Akshaya Banking Kiosks.
Finance Department has introduced an Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) for effective financial and treasury management. The new system helps in efficient budget management, effective monitoring of ways and means position, real time decision support system, revenue and expenditure trend analysis and projections. IFMS provides real-time information regarding receipts, expenditure, debt and investment and ways and means to facilitate government and agency to take specific policy decisions.
Kerala Police has introduced GISbased law enforcement system for better service delivery. The initiative aims to create a realtime centralised Crime database with location information for better planning, decision support, analysis, efficient and effective fleet management, various reports etc for better policing services to the public.
Kochi Municipal Corporation has implemented Non-Conventional Waste Water Treatment System with an objective to implement viable sanitation systems in the identified division of Kochi, with a view to deliver the desired level of services both in the short and long term. District Administration Kottayam has implemented a project to address second-gen challenges faced by slums in Kerala. The Administration has launched voter awareness campaign under an initiative called SVEEP: My Vote, My Future. The initiative is aimed to enhance new voter enrollment in the electoral roll in the district and also increase voter turnout. Kannur District Administration has taken an initiative to make the city “Barrier Free” for all persons with disabilities. All public places have been modified or re-built to make their movement hassle free. Harbour Engineering Department has introduced a project i-ProMISe – Integrated Project Monitoring and Information Service. A comprehensive mapping of school infrastructure has been done under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
The State Government recently launched a policy framework setting a target to make Kerala the country’s first “digitally literate” state by 2020. General literacy would be handy in making the digital literacy drive. Key objectives of the policy framework ‘Bridging the Digital Divide – Vision 2020’ include transforming Kerala into a digital knowledge society to achieve sustainable economic growth, making accessible the digital infrastructure to all at affordable cost, attracting more investments and promoting IT export. It also focuses on the delivery of e-services. Kerala has one of the best Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) coverage – a vital imperative for bridging the digital divide. Major portion of the OFC network in the state is by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) covering 20,000 km, followed by Reliance (8,500 km). Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Tata put together have nearly 3,225 km of OFC in the state.
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