13. KERELA lies in the extreme south-west of the Indian subcontinent between the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west, the width of the state varies from 35 km to 120 km.It has a toatl area of 38,863 sq km and a total population of 31,841,374. Thiruvananthapuram is the capital city and Malayalam is the most popular language.

Kerala

History and Geography

After independenceof India small states of Travancore and Cochin were integrated to form Travancore-Cochin state on 1 July, 1949. However, Malabar remained under the Madras province. Under the State's reorganisation Act-1956, Travancore-Cochin state and Malabar were united to form Kerala State on 1 November, 1956. According to the geographical features, the State is divided into hills, valleys, midland plains and costal belt. Kerala is rich in rivers and backwaters or Lagoon. There are 44 rivers (41 west flowing and 3 east flowing) cutting across Kerala with their innumerable tributaries and benches. The backwaters form an attractive and economically valuable feature of Kerala.

Agriculture

About 50 per cent of the population are employed in agriculture with its unique feature of predominance of cash crops. Kerala is a major producer of coconut, rubber, pepper, cardamom, ginger, cocoa, cashew, aracanut, coffee and tea. Spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, etc., are also cultivated. Rice and Tapioca are the important food crops. Pepper is one of the major export oriented commodities in which the state continuous to enjoy a near monopoly in area and production. Pepper produced in Kerala fetches a premium price in International Market in view of its intrinsic quality. Kerala has a substantial share in the four plantation crops of rubber, coffee, tea and cardamom. The four crops together account for 29 % of the net cropped area in the state and 42 % of the area in the country. Kerala accounts for 83 % of area under rubber in the country.

Industry

Kerala is rich in industrial potentialities and infrastructure facilities such power,natural resources and the efficient system of transport and communications. Traditional industries are handloom, cashew, coir and handicrafts, along with rubber, tea, ceramics, electric and electronic appliances, telephone cables, transformers, bricks and tiles, drugs and chemicals, general engineering, plywood splints and veneers, beedi and cigar, soaps, oils, fertilizers and khadi and other village industry products. give diversification to its industrial base.There are a number of manufacturing units for production of precision instruments, machine tools, petroleum products, paints, pulp paper, newsprint, glass and non-ferrous metals. Principal export products are cashew nut, tea, coffee, spices, lemon grass oil, sea foods, rose wood and coir. The state has an abundance of important minerals like ilmenite, rutile, monozite, zircon, sillimanite, clay and quartz sand. The major thrust areas for export promotion has been the Special Economic Zone. Kochi is the only city in India having three Special Economic Zones - Electronic Parks at KINFRA in Kalamassery, Cochin SEZs, Port Based SEZ. Other SEZs - Malappuram Food Park, Technopark, proposed SEZ - Thiruvananthapuram Apparel Park, Film and Video Park, Animation SEZ (First Animation SEZ in India). The small-scale industrial sector is one of the most dynamic and vibrant sectors in the Indian economy in terms of employment generation. The Small scale industrial unit registered in Kerala as on 31 March 2005 was 280584 .

Power

The growth of power sector in Kerala during the last two decades has been remarkable. Kerala Power System consists of 30 power generating stations which include 24 hydel, 5 thermal and one wind of which KSEB owns 24 hydel and one wind and two thermal stations. The total installed capacity in Kerala as on 31 March 2005 is estimated as 2617.22 MW of which KSEB's hydel plants contribute 1810.60 MW, Wind farm at Kanchikode 2.0 MW and Thermal Power Plants 234.60 MW. Malankara Hydro Electric Project was commissioned on 23 October 2005. As a result the installed capacity has been increased by 10.5 MW. The first off grid 100 KW micro hydel power projects was commissioned in Mankulam, Iduki District. Pasavaikumbe in Kasargode district and Kalyanathandu in Idukki district are two sites identified for study under the National Wind Energy Resource Assessment.

Transport

Transport system of the state consists of 1.54 lakh km of Road, 1148 km of Railways 1687 km of Inland Water Ways and 111 statute miles of Airways and 18 ports.

Tourism

Tourism to Kerala offers scenic splendour, moderate climate, clean environment, friendly and peace loving people with high tolerance for cultural diversity and the potential forcreating unique tourism products. Kerala has emerged as the most acclaimed tourist destination in the country. Beaches, warm weather, back waters, hill stations, water falls, wild life, Ayurveda, year-round festivals and diverse flora and fauna make Kerala a unique destination for tourists. The Department of Tourism, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, District Tourism Promotion Council, Bakal Tourism Development Corporation, Local Government and Private Sector are the major players in the field. The thrust areas presently being looked into are for the development of village tourism, MICE tourism (meeting, incentives, conventions and events/ exhibitions/trade shows), heritage tourism, eco-tourism and medical tourism. Thenmala Eco-Tourism project features a tourist facilitation centre, shop court garden, plazas, picnic area, natural trail, rock climbing, river crossing amphitheatre, restaurant, suspension bridge, lotus pond, musical dancing fountain, sculpture garden, deer rehabilitation centre, boating, battery powered vehicles, etc.