THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The real Kerala story, the one centred on fostering socio-economic prosperity, got a new push at the Keraleeyam 2023, an event aimed at drawing global attention to the progress of the State which is forging ahead with a new development model.
Keraleeyam which took off on November 1, 2023, is a celebration of the accomplishments of the southern State which is known for many firsts across sectors like tourism, healthcare, agriculture, women’s empowerment, law and order and education.
The State of Kerala came into being on November 1, 1956, and the major objective of Keraleeyam is to highlight the accomplishments of the past seven decades.
On Saturday, November 4, 2023, three days after Keraleeyam kicked off, the whole of central Thiruvananthapuram was in celebratory gear and resplendent with the idea of a 'New Kerala'. The celebrations will end on November 7, 2023.
As part of the event, more than 400 stalls have been set up across eight venues in Thiruvananthapuram showcasing the State's rich cultural heritage and tourism. Besides, Keraleeyam has offered a platform to the State's rural arts and handicrafts industries, artists, big and small traders, creators, eco marts, food products and ayurveda industry.
Sunday November 5, 2023, too, is lined up with entertainment and cultural experiences across Thiruvananthapuram, also not forgetting the splendid light shows on some of the well-illuminated government buildings in the night.
From now on, Keraleeyam is set to be an annual event to showcase Kerala aggressively before the globe, more so because it rubs shoulders with some of the developed countries in the world, informs Amiya M, Assistant Information Officer with Information Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala.
"Keraleeyam is being organised in line with annual events such as the Edinburgh Festival, Vienna Biennale and the World Economic Forum. Events like these, especially the Edinburgh festival, are helping raise the tourism and the country's economy as a whole," he adds.
"The cornerstone of the Kerala model of development is updating itself with changing times to keep up with digitisation and science and technology. In its march towards progress, Kerala has not forgotten its marginalised sections like SC/STs and fishermen and is also taking them along," says Dr R Bindu, Minister for Higher Education and Social Justice.
"This march towards progress should not be without happy people around and so we aim to enhance our happiness index," says Dr Bindu and adds, "Also, the government will endeavour to see Kerala as a knowledge society and ensure equitable justice to all."
In May 2021, Kerala set off on a mission to eradicate extreme poverty by November 1, 2025, and if it does so will become the first in the country to achieve this. It has identified 64,006 families as extremely poor which is a minuscule figure and looks insignificant, but the Kerala government has initiated a comprehensive programme under local self-governance and departments concerned, to what it feels is achievable and end poverty in the State.
Kerala's march toward achieving the impossible has been without the help of the Centre due to its ideological differences with the Modi-led government, says M B Rajesh, Minister for Local Self Government and Excise.
"We had to raise our tax bracket to narrow the financial gap and ensure that the welfare schemes were funded, nonetheless. This has been our remarkable achievement," he says and adds, "We are spending around Rs 10,000 crore per year on social security pension alone."
Also, he informs, Kerala has been able to achieve 47.8 per cent of its target of wiping out extreme poverty by November 1, 2025. He adds, "Kerala has the best school education system as per NITI Aayog's National School Quality Index, also not forgetting its top-quality healthcare that managed to handle the Covid pandemic in an efficient manner."
In the last four days, thousands of people have visited the Keraleeyam 2023 stalls across eight venues in Thiruvananthapuram. Today, being Sunday, more number of people are expected to indulge in the culture, food and fiesta at stalls from different districts of the state.