Kerala has set the living standards of the distant Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finlnd as its paradigm of development over the next 17 years. Kerala has decided to let go the standards set by Asian Tigers, which have long been benchmarked by developed states like Gujarat for its dubious human development indices.
As per the new paradigm, Kerala will have to make a quantum jump in its per capita income from the current $4,700 to $19,000 in the next 20 years at a compound growth rate of 7.5 per cent. Though the standards of Norway with a with a PPP of $54,000 appears distant, Kerala is aiming to achieve the $ 36,000-37,000 income bracket of Finland and Denmark. The immediate priority in this regard will be to scale down the income inequality spread score from over 40 to 23 per cent.
With the foreign remittances slated to plunge to a minuscule 4% of the State’s GDP by 2030 from a whopping 50% now, Kerala should have a well set plan to achieve this paradigm. With a qualified manpower resource to fall back, Kerala can rely on start up businesses and trading activities though Kerala is not known for its entrepreneurial credentials.
Tourism, health care and education will be the niche segments under spotlight for Kerala in the coming decade. Apart from retaining the growth rate, Kerala has to think about innovative ideas and business plans in these segments to keep the coffers full. Will Kerala leave its indelible imprints in the league of some of the most prosperous countries in the World in the next few years? This million dollar question will stir up debates, opinions and counter opinions in the coming days for sure. Meanwhile as responsible subjects of Kerala, everyone of us should strive to pitch in our best to make sure that Kerala attains this commendable distinction!
We Malayalees seem to have an uncanny knack in choosing only the not so desirable traits of western culture by conveniently turning a blind eye to the virtues of their life style. For instance, not many of us in Kerala think that is necessary to stand in a queue while boarding a bus or follow the road rules on a day out unlike our Western counterparts. However aping their dressing style and fast food styles are some of the many things that come naturally to Keralites. The Westerners dress in jeans to beat the severe cold and when we blindly ape this dressing style, we not only put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, but also make a mockery of ourselves in the hot and humid Kerala weather.
Many feel that the outrageous dress sense of girls has played a big role in pushing up the women abuse cases in India in recent times. The fact that a woman is raped in India every 20 minutes in itself shows the vulnerability of women in the modern society. Modesty of women is at stake at work places, public parks, railway stations, bus stops and even inside their own homes.
Here are some handy tips for women to prevent rape
- Scream for help, seek public attention and get way from danger immediately.
- Defend yourselves with pepper spray ; learn martial arts steps like karate for self defence
- Avoid dimly lit spots, isolated areas and small alley ways
- Be alert to what is happening around you; do not use headphones while on road.
- Dress modestly and make sure that you wear clothes that do not attract unwanted attention from men .
- Use your cell phone as a safety tool to remain connected with your family, friends or even the police if the situation warrants.
- Do not accept money, sweets or snacks from people you do not know. It could be laced with sedatives.
- Do not share personal information with people whom you meet online or during trips in a train or in public places. There is never a good reason to meet up with a person whom you have never met in person.
- Walk confidently so that it may put off the stalkers on the prowl looking for soft targets.
- Never accept lifts in cars or bikes from people you do not know.
- Last but not the least, mothers can play an important role in teaching their daughters to dress sensibly and fashionably without being obscene from a young age.
As the rising instances of rape and abuse against women is snowballing into a major social issue, it is high time that women stay alert to ward off the risks and to remain safe and secure.
Though it might sound a bit weird, there seems to be a connection between meat eating habits of Keralaites and the surging instances of rape in the State going by the opinion of the Arya Samaj scholar Swami Agnivesh.
If it is true, Kerala has a sound reason for worry. With the state’s meat production shooting up at a staggering 342 percent increase in the last 1 year and booze flowing freely, there is every reason for the women in Kerala to be on their guard. However, Criminologist James Wadakkamcherry reiterates that the rape cases in Kerala have infact dropped slightly in recent times.
Though there is no proper research data on meat and its effects on libido, there is a common notion that rape cases are more prevalent in meat eating communities. However statistics prove that Madhya Pradesh which leads in juvenile rapes in the country is one of the lowest meat-consuming states in the country. Rape cases are also reported from countries like Saudi Arabia where there is a blanket ban on liquour.
As opinions and counter opinions continue unabated , many gourmets have come up with solid facts to support that meat eating has nothing to do with libido. Most of the aphrodisiacs that are sold in the market are made of green leaves and roots of herbs like ginseng, safedi musli and ashwagandha.
No matter whether this discussion will bring down the rape cases or not, the fact remains that rapists can never be just meat eaters or boozers, but are mentally sick patients who need counselling and treatment.
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Welcome to the Monday ‘Market Day’ of Ernakulam market, the city’s oldest centre of merchandise.It appears that nothing has virtually changed in the past 150 years in and around the Ernakulam market. The fragrance of lemongrass oil, masked often by the stench from the nearby dirty canal waft in the air as truck loads of vegetables and provisions choke the narrow pathways adding to the chaos and mayhem.
True to the past tradition, Mondays and Fridays are observed as Market Days even today, though it attracts fewer people these days. The shop owners some of whom in the business for over five decades say that there has been a marked shift in the frenzy and activity in market days these days.
Originally the Maharaja of Cochin had given the Market area to Jewish traders for business, who set up poultry and coir trade. When they left the country , they sold their shops to the local people and most of the buildings have traditional architectural influences. The market has been in existence much before MG Road, the contemporary nerve centre of the city came into being and much before the North and South overbridges were built. This lively market place had tradelinks with many far off places like Ponnani and Chavakkad in the north and Kollam, Changanassery and Kottayam in the south, which makes it an indelible link in the history of this city.
The Ernakulam Market includes the northern end of Broadway, Basin Road and Jew Street, which has over 2,000 shops that sell literally everything under the sun apart from the innumerable pavement sellers that spread out their knick knacks, clothes, electronic items and attracts buyers with their budget deals. There are also many temporary shacks that sell vegetables and fruits along the canal side.
The canal, known as the Basin Road Canal, which linked the Market to the outside world now lies in a state of disuse. Country boats used to bring in goods even until the 1990s. Then the canal had clean and pristine water and was a busy waterway linking to the Vembanad Lake. The waterway lost its relevance with the commissioning of the roadways, which led to the deterioration of these waterways in Kerala.
The market gives many nostalgic memories for the older generation whereas the younger generation remains oblivious to the rich tradition and history of the Ernakulam market.
Today, Google marked the 160th anniversary of the first passenger train journey in India with a doodle on its homepage. Indian railways holds the repute of being the largest rail network in Asia and the world’s second largest under one management. Indian railway connects the length and breadth of this massive country by operating many short and long distance trains in addition to many luxury trains like palace on wheels. A train journey in India is not just mayhem and frenzy but also a delightful opportunity to discover the charm of the rustic life and people upclose, to make new friends and to experience the diverse culture, cuisines and life styles of the country. As the search engine giant takes its visitors on a short journey into the history of Indian Railways, in this image of a steam engine train chugging along a palm-lined railway track in the backdrop of ancient palaces and buildings, we Indians can take pride in the tremendous achievements, Indian Railways has made in the last many years.
India’s first passenger train from Bombay to Thane had chugged out of Bori Bunder, in Bombay on April 16, 1853, exactly 160 years ago. This maiden railway passenger journey in India which involved three steam locomotives, Sultan, Sindh and Sahib, took 400 invited passengers in 14 carriages on a 57 minute journey that had one halt. As Google commemorates this milestone with a celebratory doodle on its India home page, which features a steam engine pulling a passenger train, let us strive to make Indian Railways the best ever by keeping it clean, prompt and safe.
Cochin corporation, has come up with various plans to ensure the safety of women in the city. The project named ‘Sabala’, will include various proposals to make the city women friendly. This time bound project is expected to go a long way in solving most of the problems faced by women. This is for the first time that a Corporation has come up with a separate budget outlay for the welfare of women.
Some of the projects include :-
- Extending free medical care for families with only female members. The education expenses of children of such families will also be fully covered in these schemes.
- A modern lodging facility for women will be set up in the city to ensure safe stay for those women travelers who reach the City for various purposes. Apart from an all women staff team, the lodge will also have various other facilities like online reservations, taxi and other services.
- Kudumbashree Women only Buses run by Metro Cochin Transport Corporation (MCTC) is another novel venture envisaged in the project. The buses will have an all women crew.
- To arrest instances of child abuse, a team of three counselors will be set up in each school who will try to protect the students from the modern vices like internet scams and exploitation of students through mobile phones and social network.
Once this project is fully implemented, the business capital of Kerala will have an envious repute of being a women friendly City in all aspects.
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The success of the Kerala model development is yet again proven beyond doubt with the State recording a robust growth rate of 9.5 percent during the financial year of 2011-12. The growth rate of Kerala is not only the highest among all southern states but also way above the national average of 6.5% for the corresponding period
The state’s economy made a jump start from 8.05% of the preceding year, which points to a vibrant all round growth. NRI remittances continue to be the main factor in Kerala’s development history with the remittances touching Rs 55,000 Crore, which was 23 per cent more than the previous year’s remittances that stood at Rs 45,000 crore.
However, the agricultural scenerio paints a sorry picture as it has recorded a negative growth of 1.6 per cent for the first time in recent times and a sharp drop of 4.5% in agricultural income. Kerala continues to retain its pace of development in education and its school drop out rate fell by 4.5 per cent. Though Kerala, continues to be the most literate state, the fact that unemployment rates shot up to the fourth highest in the country will be a cause of concern for the state. At present , there are 45 lakh people listed in the employment exchanges, which is up from 43 lakh in 2010-11. This might sound paradoxical considering the fact that Kerala is home to over 25 lakh migrant labourers, which shows that Keralaites are not willing to take up any available jobs on offer to keep the wolves away from their doors. Being highly choosy, the workforce of Kerala looks for easy means to make money, often leaving the arduous and manual jobs to the migrant labour force.
The industry watchers and economic gurus have highlighted the urgent need for the State administration to give impetus to agriculture. It has also warned the state on the unchecked urbanisation, which is putting pressure on natural resources like drinking water, which could push the state into a crisis. It is high time that we learn to cut a balance between the needs of man and its consequences on nature to ensure a stable and long term growth pattern.
The union Government of India has accepted the proposal to start a seaplane service in Kerala in principle. In the beginning, seaplane services will connect various tourist destinations like Kumarakom, Munnar, Ashtamudi, Punnamada, Bekal and Bolgatty from the airports of Trivandrum, Kochi and Kozhikode. At present Andaman and Nicobar island administration is successfully operating sea plane services.
Seaplane services will be a boon for tourists who are hard pressed for time as they can make the most of their available time by utilizing the faster transportation option of seaplanes. Apart from boosting tourism, sea plane services would also help a lot in opening up the lesser known tourist spots in Kerala for those who look for an off the beat sight seeing experience.