God’s own country seems to be making it ahead of its time and has been doing so for quite a while. This avante-garde state is probably going to be the one that leads the country out of everything that makes them go, ‘Tauba! Tauba!’ to everything progressive. Other than beautiful mountains and rivers that it has to offer, Kerala happens to be the state that has been a first in many things. And all of this, before the other twenty-eight states had even thought of it. Here’s looking back at them.
1. It was declared by the U.N. as the only state in the country which lies in the very high Human Development Index (HDI) in the year 2013.
HDI is a statistic of life expectancy, education, and per capita indicators. Kerala received a note of congratulations from the UN for being the first and only state in the country whose loss with regard to inequality of education was 17%, with Madhya Pradesh being the highest at 36%.
2. Kerala is the only state in the country that’s almost met the U.N.’s standard, bringing Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) down to 6 per 1000 live births.
Now at par with the U.S. in IMR, Kerala brought down its IMR to a single digit. This means survival of a child beyond the age of one has been brought down to 6, per 1000 children. The state now plans to bring down the maternal mortality rate to 30.
3. Kerala’s the first state to launch a transgender policy in the country of India.
During the first International Conference on Gender Equality, State Chief Secretary unveiled the document of ‘State Policy for Transgenders in Kerala’. In a bid to make it effective, The Department of Social Justice is to conduct a mid-term evaluation to look into the policy implementation and its results in 2018.
4. Kerala went on to open the first transgender school of the country,in Kochi.
Sahaj International in Kochi is now known as a skill development center to transsexual school dropouts. They will be trained under the National Open School System. It’s the first of its kind and will guide students through examinations equivalent to 10th and 12th.
5. In Malappuram district, a tribal village located 400 km from Kerala’s capital was declared the first to go cashless after demonetisation.
99% population of the village is well versed with using smartphones and within a month of demonetisation, every household had at least one member who was well-trained in doing cashless transactions. Just, wow.
6. Kerala has also been declared as the first digital state.
It holds the pride of having 100% mobile connectivity and 75% Internet literacy in the past few years. President Pranab Mukherjee launched Kerala’s digital empowerment campaign and declared it the first digital state of the country.
7. The village of Kunnamthanam is now a complete yoga village, yet another first in the country.
Temples, villages, and NGOs of this village work towards the title of ‘Complete Yoga Village’. Trying to make yoga an integral part of the lifestyle of the people. The village is also planning on organising a mega yoga show, in a bid to encourage more people.
8. Kerala’s the first state to achieve 100% primary education.
The primary education equivalency drive of the state literacy programme, Athulyam was a mega success when Kerala was declared the first state to achieve 100% literacy. The objective was to achieve total Plus-Two education, which it did.
9. Kerala is the first to achieve a sex ratio like no other in the country.
For every 100 men, there are 109 women in Kerala. It’s one one of the very few places in the world where women outnumber men. The jump made from the 2001 ratio of 1,058, it’s commendable.
10. The best of all of these has been Kerala being the first to declare the internet as a human right.
The state government will provide internet connectivity to 20 lakh families either at a subsidised rate or free of cost. The state will ensure high-speed internet connectivity to all households and also plans to install WiFi hotspots at several public places in Kerala.
This initiative assumes importance as only a handful of countries in the world have declared the internet as a basic human right.
11. It’s the only state in the country that will greet you with a dowry-free zone.
Nilambur village of Kerala is the only one in the country that greets you with a sign board that says: Dowry Free Zone. This was done by a series of projects and workshops that helped wean the people away from the custom of dowry. With a ‘Dump dowry’ association and informants deployed to tip off such cases, the practice was completely removed from the village.
12. Kerala’s fishermen have found a way to pull plastic from the ocean and use it to build sustainable roads.
Under a scheme – Suchitwa Sagaram, or ‘Clean Sea’ – started by Kerala’s fisheries minister, J. Mercykutty Amma, the southern state’s fishermen are using the fishing nets to scoop up the toxic plastic waste from the ocean and using this recycled plastic to create plastic roads in Kerala. According to The Print, within the first 10 months of the scheme, itself, the trawlers have removed approximately 25 tonnes of plastic from the Arabian Sea. The plastic collected is then shredded and used to create material to build roads.
13. Kerala is set to become the first state to have 100% hi-tech schools in India.
According to a report by TOI, all schools in Kerala will soon be elevated to hi-tech category. The state Education Minister, C Raveendranath announced the plan of the government at the state-level school reopening festival on 30th May 2019.
14. Kerala is going to open ‘safe homes’ for inter-caste and inter-religion couples
The state will soon accommodate couples who belong to 2 different faiths or castes for one year after marriage in the safe homes and provide them with remuneration. This is to protect these couples from caste or religious violence several of them have to suffer.
The Southern state seems to be everywhere, be it education, healthcare, or even technology. It’s also one of the places that seem to be sensitive towards social causes and sexual minorities. It’s also one of the first to raise its voice against moral policing, with its Kiss of Love campaign. Looking at all colours of glory the state enjoys, let’s hope we all move towards the same.