Kerala has registered good performance in Health, Water, Municipal Governance, Police & Safety, Governance (General Administration) and Skill Development sectors. The state has improved its performance in six sectors rankings. However, in the overall state ranking Kerala slipped two spot to the 15 position in SKOCH State of Governance Rankings 2020 from the 13th position secured in 2019.
In Police & Safety category Kerala’s ranking improved to the fourth position in 2020 compared to the sixth position in the previous year. Moreover, in the Governance (General Administration) category Kerala climbed two spots to the fifth position this year from the seventh position in the previous year. The southern state climbed one place to the sixth position in health sector during 2020 from the seventh position in 2019. In Skill Development sector Kerala secured the seventh position, while in water sector it ranks at the fifth position in 2020. In contrast, we selected no project in both these sectors in 2019.
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Police & Safety Shines in Kerala State of Governance 2020
The second highest number of projects in Police & Safety category from Kerala were studied. The team selected a total 10 projects from Kerala in this category. Out of these, one project was in the highly impactful category. This helped Kerala acquire the fourth position Police & Safety sectoral ranking. Andhra Pradesh topped the Police & Safety sectoral ranking with 58 projects that were studied.
Kerala State Police played a pro-active role in managing the Covid-19 crisis. Not only did the force enforce the lockdowns and maintain order in the society, but they also worked hard to ensure smooth movement of needy people. Kerala Police worked on different front to mitigate the hardships of the people. For example, the Social Media Cell of Kerala Police came out with highly innovative posts and videos on precautionary steps to check the spread of the Coronavirus.
Kerala Police through its cyber cell/cyberdome were also the first to develop a platform for the surveillance of the movement of high-risk people under quarantine to tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state. During the Covid lockdown period, the need for emergency travel arose and connected to that the need for an online pass, for such a travel. Kerala Police Cyberdome also developed an online system for obtaining affidavits and vehicle passes for the public within 48 hours.
Similarly, Kannur District Police took innovative measures and used modern technology to effectively manage Covid-19 crisis situation. Police conducted awareness campaigns in association with different stakeholders. In order to tackle the pandemic, District police formulated special plan and strategy and implemented the same successfully. Due to the systematic interference of Police and the District Administration, the gravity of the outbreak and community spread of the pandemic in Kannur District was controlled effectively.
Thrissur District of Kerala confirmed the first case of Covid-19 in India on 30th of January 2020. It was obviously a very challenging situation for the local administration in Thrissur. The district administration along with Thrissur City Police played very important role in creating awareness about Coronavirus disease.
Kerala State of Governance 2020 Boasts Great Water Projects
With two projects Kerala acquired the fifth position in Water sector ranking. One of the two projects from Kerala in the water sector was in the impactful category. Similarly, two projects from Gujarat were in the highly impactful category. Gujarat topped the Water sector ranking with three projects.
Kerala State Land Use Board, Department of Planning and Economic Affairs, Government of Kerala, has implemented a project named ‘Jalasamrudhi Kattakada’ in order to mitigate the water scarcity problem. With this in mind, the activities taken under the initiative include planting of seedlings, digging rain water pits as well as protecting ponds and streams using coir geotextiles. The projects also include rejuvenation of ponds and streams, artificial recharging of wells in schools and public buildings, digging of 300 plus new farm ponds and increase in paddy area and inland fisheries in renovated ponds. Furthermore, the authorities conducted water quality testing in all 122 wards. Study showed that ground water level substantially increased in the region because of project implementation.
As a result, the water level has increased in the wells post artificial recharging. The wells are now perennial. The construction of new farm ponds has caused water level in the nearby wells to increase considerably. Nemom block, which was in a semi critical situation in the past, has since moved to the safe category as per the Stage of Ground Water Extraction standards. Because of these efforts, the stage of Ground Water Extraction has reduced from 73.41% to 69.30%. It is remarkable that this has happened when the safe blocks have reduced to 118 from 130 out of 152 blocks in the State, during the last five years.
Kerala State Land Use Board has taken several initiatives to create awareness about water conservation. For example, they formed Jala clubs in all 68 schools in Kattakada Legislative Assembly constituency to sensitise and ensure the participation of students in water conservation activities. This was coupled with a volunteer force comprising of five members in each ward: the Suchitwa Mission and Youth Welfare Board selected and trained ‘Jalamithrams’. Stakeholders also organised Mass awareness programmes such as rallies and public functions with the active participation of students, Kudumbashree, NGOs, National Service Scheme (NSS) units, youth clubs and Students Police Cadets.
Governance (General Administration) Does Well In Kerala
With two projects Kerala secured the fifth position in Governance (General Administration) category. Tamil Nadu topped this sectoral ranking with two projects that went through evaluation. Tamil Nadu ranked higher than Kerala because one of the projects from Tamil Nadu was in very impactful category.
Department of Factories and Boilers, under the Ministry of Labour, Government of Kerala has implemented Web Enabled Risk Weighted Inspection Scheme. The Inspection wing of the department conduct regular/ periodical inspection at factories and Boilers to check the safety precautions taken by the management for the factory workers as well as the public. Every month the Inspectors of factories and boilers and Additional inspectors of Factories prepare tentative schedule of factories they are planning to inspect in the coming month.
However, the schedule is prepared at the sole discrimination of the Inspector. That is to say, the preparation of tentative schedule has no guidelines or rules. This created problems often, such as selecting a factory on ease of travel or other personal attachments or detachments. Due to this pattern, authorities observed a periodical inspection of certain factories and complete negligence of some others. The department found this as an unfavourable system especially in light of the purpose for which it stands. The department then decided to fix certain criteria for Inspection and to introduce Web Enabled Risk Weighted Inspection Scheme.
Kudumbashree has been playing a key role in fight against Covid-19 pandemic. Kudumbashree has formulated and is implementing several activities to counter the spread of the pandemic. The district teams are also implementing various activities considering the local needs and requirements. The activities include, Chief Minister’s ‘Sahayahastham’ (Helping Hands) Loan Scheme, organising awareness campaigns, production of masks, sanitisers, face shields, cloth bag production as well as volunteering for Civil Supplies Department and setting up community kitchens.
Health Segment Grows for Kerala State of Governance 2020
Kerala improved its ranking in health sector to the sixth position in 2020 from the seventh position in the previous year. Five projects were selected from Kerala in this category.
National Health Mission – Arogyakeralam has implemented Direct Intervention System For Health Awareness (DISHA). Medicine has so far been a mysterious subject with an authoritative kind of interface between patient and doctor. DISHA has been instrumental in bringing this high tech modern cutting-edge subject into the households of the rural areas and ordinary people. Consequently, this made people developed a habit of asking questions and giving answers and explaining why it is that we do treatment and management investigations has been doing now. And so, it has made clinical medicine and healthcare a user friendly and a common man friendly subject possibly for the first time in India.
Covid-19 Jagratha Portal of Directorate of Health Services, Kerala, provides a comprehensive solution for real-time surveillance, care and support for people affected/quarantined due to Coronavirus disease. This portal is a one stop platform for the public to avail emergency services and information related to Covid-19. In doing so, it ensures transparency and quality in public services and welfare measures. District Administration Kozhikode conceptualised and designed the portal by engaging teams from National Informatics Center (NIC) & Kerala State IT Mission (KSITM).
District Medical Office, Ernakulam, has set up Walk In Sample Collection Kiosk (WISK) for Covid-19. The Kiosk has been devised based on the South Korean Model, for the first time in India for safe and fast sample collection for covid testing limiting the use of Personal Protective Equipment. When the pandemic began, the sample collection for covid testing in a community setting was a herculean task as the trained personnel and PPEs were limited and it was extremely time consuming. Through the kiosk the samples could be collected quickly and safely even at Panchayat level.
Skill Development a Priority For Kerala State of Governance 2020
With one project Kerala secured the seventh position in Skill Development sectoral ranking. No project was submitted by the state in this category during 2019. In 2020, Uttar Pradesh topped the Skill Development sectoral ranking with two impactful projects.
National Employment Services, Kerala, provides employment assistance to around 35 lakh job seekers registered in the employment exchanges in Kerala. National Informatics Centre, Kerala has launched Employment@Kerala. This is aimed at automating employment exchange activities as well as providing a job portal for private jobs. Most of the services are now online. The system design enables job-seekers to register online. The approval of the registration is done through an approval process workflow in the employment exchange. Job-seekers then receive a registration number.
There is a provision in the system that the private employers can notify the job vacancies and get the list of qualified, eligible candidates for their requirement. Online services like registration renewal, addition of qualifications etc are available in the system. Thus, employers can submit the requisition online and one can collect the lists online from the exchanges. As a result of this the delay in submission process is avoided. Regularly updated seniority lists are available online and made the system very transparent.
Municipal Governance Does Well
With two projects Kerala comes in seventh position in the Municipal Governance category in 2020 sectoral ranking. This is markedly different from 2019, when no project was submitted from evaluation from Kerala in Municipal Governance category.
Kozhikode Municipal Corporation has launched an initiative for slum rehabilitation at Kalluthankadavu under Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode. The project aimed is at rehabilitation of slums in the city and correspondingly seeks to provide a dignified life to the slum dwellers. The project achieves multiple objectives. Despite not expending a single penny the Corporation could provide decent accommodation to slum dwellers. The Corporation could also regain the precious land occupied by the slum dwellers for productive use. The land so claimed is being readied for constructing a state-of-the-art vegetable & fruit market. The relocation of the market will decongest Palayam, not to mention help provide much needed parking space in the area. It’s for the first time in Kerala that a residential flat, constructed under PPP mode, with modern amenities were allotted to slum dwellers.
Kerala slipped two places to the 13th position in the overall ranking as in several sectors performance was not up to the level achieved in 2019. Kerala in 2019 performed better in seven sectors as compared to 2020. In contrast to District Administration doing well all over India in 2020, the sector was negatively affected in Kerala. Kerala ranked ninth in the District Administration sectoral ranking for 2019, but in sharp contrast, slipped to 25th position in 2020. In Education sector Kerala ranked third in 2019 but no the state did not submit any project for evaluation in this sector in 2020. Kerala had performed well in Urban Development, Power & Energy, Education and Agriculture in 2019 but could not get any project selected in 2020.
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District Administration Makes Small Gains In Kerala State of Governance 2020
Kerala slipped to the 25th position in the District Administration category in 2020. Kerala’s performance in this category was disappointing when compared with its performance in the previous year. In fact, there is a consistent deterioration in the performance of Kerala in the District Administration category over the last three years. In the District Administration sectoral ranking Kerala was placed at the seventh position in 2018. It slipped two places to the 9th position in 2019. While in 2020 there was a sharp decline, the state slipped to the 25th position. Only three projects from Kerala were studied in the District Administration category during 2020.
National Health Mission, Wayanad, has created Student Doctor Cadet. This programme focuses on an “adolescent friendly” approach and works to build the skills and capacities of adolescent girls and boys in order to resolve their health concerns. This is done through right based access to services of choice-information, counselling, preventive, curative and referral including referral for legal aid in case of violence. The programme has identified six strategic priority areas for intervention:
2. Sexual reproductive health
3. Non-communicable diseases
4. Substance misuse
5. Injuries and violence (Including gender-based violence)
6. Mental Health
Another noteworthy initiative of National Health Mission, Wayanad, is Hamlet Asha (Oorumithram). Under this initiative a tribal woman is selected from tribal hamlets. Such women are provided basic training in health matters such as disease management, pregnancy care, neonatal care and immunisation. The initiative has proved very helpful in improving the health and well-beings of tribal women in the district.
Some impressive good governance measures were taken in Kerala during the year. However, the overall Kerala State of Governance 2020 ranking declined due to not upto the mark performance of a few sectors and indifferent attitude in several sectors. In a large number of sectors, no projects was submitted for assessment. This negatively impacted the state’s ranking. The sectors in which no project was submitted for assessment include Disaster Management, Ease of Doing Business, Finance & Revenue, Food & Civil Supplies, Infrastructure, Irrigation, Labour, Municipal Sanitation, Rural Development, Social Justice & Social Security, Tourism & Culture, Transport and Women & Child Development.