Kerala's economy has posted a strong recovery in 2021-22 with Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) at constant prices recording a robust growth of 12.01 per cent, compared to (-) 8.43 per cent in 2020-21. According to the Economic Review tabled in the state Assembly by Finance Minister K N Balagopal on Thursday, this is the highest growth recorded since 2012-13 and gave the credit to the stimulus packages, along with other policy interventions of the state government, augmented growth, particularly at a time when economic activities were severely constrained, for the achievement.
It said in 2021-22, the sectoral composition of Gross State Domestic Product reveals positive developments across sectors."Agriculture and allied activities, industry and tertiary sectors grew 4.6 per cent, 3.8 per cent and 17.3 per cent respectively in 2021-22 over 2020-21. This was a very creditable record, particularly in the light of the fact that preceding year the sectors recorded negative growth," the Economic Review said, adding that the state government achieved this robust growth despite the fiscal constraints set by the Government of India.
"Several factors contributed to the growth. State interventions in the form of counter-cyclical fiscal policies, including two economic packages of Rs 20,000 crore announced in March 2020 and June 2021 respectively and a supplementary package of Rs 5,650 crore announced to support small industries, played an important role in recovery," it said. The review tabled prior to the presentation of the state budget said by the end of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2017-22), the state witnessed sweeping changes in public schooling, great changes in health facilities with regard to public access and quality, a transformation in major physical infrastructure and a new policy direction in industry and information technology.
Kerala (State Planning Board) formulates and implements Five-Year Plans. It also spoke about the changes in deepening of participatory local government, a renewed thrust to livelihoods and job creation, an enhancement of social protection, and new gender empowerment measures. "Kerala has been, and remains, the most important example in independent India of the power of public action to improve the well-being of the people and to transform social, political, and cultural conditions. Kerala topped the States of India in most human development indicators," the review said.
It said Kerala has been the frontrunner in the SDG India Index for three years (2018, 2019, and 2020) consecutively. "NITI Aayog's Multidimensional Poverty Index put the headcount ratio for Kerala at 0.71 per cent, the lowest among states in India. The India Skills Report 2022 ranks Kerala third among states in terms of the employability of its youth. "The state continues to lead the country in respect of indicators such as life expectancy at birth, infant mortality, maternal mortality, and the ratio of males to females in the population", said the Economic Review prepared by the State Planning Board. Noting that 2022-23 is the first year of the Fourteenth Five-Year Plan and economic planning is central to the state's economic achievements, it said through planning, the government reiterates its commitment to build a modern, developed Kerala, one that is marked by scientific and technological progress, by the progress of the scientific temper, and by new levels of production and decent employment, particularly for the young women and men who are entering our labour force.
The theme chapter of Economic Review 2022 is entitled "Higher Education for Growth and Development: An Overview." The review said improvements in higher education are a prerequisite for the development of the state into a knowledge society as envisioned by the government. The Government of Kerala has taken multiple initiatives to enhance academic standards, increase the enrolment ratio, and provide young people with state-of-the-art facilities in sphere of higher education, it said.
Observing that Kerala's colleges and universities achieved a new level of success in ranking by The National Assessment and Accreditation Council in 2022-23, the review said there were two further major developments this year. "First, there was a sharp increase in budgetary allocations to higher education. Secondly, the Government appointed and received reports from three specialist Commissions. The Commissions were the Commission for Reforms in Examination in the Universities and Higher Education Institutions of Kerala, Commission for Reforms in Higher Education, and University Law Reforms Commission," it said. Economic Review 2022 includes information on policies and programmes of Government departments. It discusses the performance of various departments and issues to be addressed in the coming years.