The economy of Kerala is on a growth trend. Here is Maps Of India's guide through the various sectors that put Kerala's economy on a strong foothold.
Agriculture: The economy of Kerala is hugely dependent on its agriculture. The distinction of the agricultural sector of the economy can be noted from the fact that 96% of India's entire yield of pepper and 91% of natural rubber is produced in Kerala. Other important crops in the region are coconut, tea, coffee, cashew, and spices such as cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Rice is the staple food of the natives and is grown in abundance in the state. Home gardening is a common activity in Kerala and the citizens contribute significantly to the economy by indulging in this pleasurable pursuit.
Livestock: Livestock and animal husbandry is an equally important facet of Kerala's economy. It has been suggested as an apt occupation for the rural populace and as the remedy for unemployed women and the economically weaker classes such as the landless. Almost 58% of Malayalis households (38 lakhs of the 55 lakh households) are engaged in managing livestock and such activities such as Feeding, milking, cattle breeding, livestock management, health care and allied endeavors. The government of Kerala promotes livestock and cattle rearing by offering lucrative incentives to those engaged in the profession and holds educational programs. The introduction of new breeds of cattle such as "Sunandini" is also an encouraging factor.
Fisheries: Fisheries contribute about 3% to the total economy of the state. The natural landforms of the state endow Kerala with a huge output of marine and freshwater fish haul each year. About 10.85 lakh people earn their livelihood from fishing and allied activities such as drying, processing, packaging, exporting and transporting fisheries. The well being of these fishermen and workers depends on the proper implementation of the various schemes devised by the Department of Fisheries. The government of Kerala is enforcing every measure possible in their interest. The state alone yields 6.75 lakh tonnes of fish every year.
Forestry & Wildlife: About 10,336 sq.km of Kerala is densely forested. This constitutes 26.6% of the total geographic land. A huge spectrum of flora and fauna has its home in this verdant state. Thus forestry and wildlife plays a major role in the state's economy. The revenue earned from export of herbs and herbal byproducts such as oils, hides of animals such as the jaguar, fox, elephant etc., tree barks, natural incense, scents, ivory, sandalwood, teakwood, rosewood etc contribute as a major foreign exchange earner. A number of indigenous industries have also mushroomed owing to this phenomenon. These include leather product manufacturing units, fragrance and incense preparing cottage industry, sandal and ivory carving business and coir product manufacturing units.
Industry & infrastructure: A number of industries in Kerala are booming and flourishing. The textile and electronics industry in Kerala is on an all time high. Coffee, tea, cardamom, ginger, pepper coconut kernels form the bulk of the exports from the state. Kerala has about 1.8 lakh small scale industries and about 511 medium sized and large scale industries. The roads of the state too are in excellent metaled condition. The state boasts of having 145,704 km of roads and 8 national highways. Traffic in the state grows at 11% annually.
Minerals & Energy: A high output of hydel power had held Kerala in good stead till recently. The steady increase in industries and an inability to undertake more hydel energy generating projects has forced the state to look towards diesel energy and thermal energy import. Kerala is the second largest diesel-based thermal electricity generator in India. The state's national market share is over 21%. The state is rich in its mineral ores as well. The finest variety of China Clay in India is available here. Bauxite, quartz, silica etc are some minerals available freely in the state. Kerala is blessed with a bounty of mineral wealth.
Banking & Finance: Kerala has its share of banking and financial institutions. Besides the PSUs, a number of leading private banks such as HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, ABN Amro Bank etc. have set up a network of retail branches and ATMs for the residents of the state. Besides traditional products these offer a plethora of financial services especially NRI services owing to the extent of Malayali Diaspora. Mutual funds, financial lending institutions and other such services are easily available in the state.
Kerala Tourism: Tourism in Kerala is the livelihood of over 7 lakh people and generates revenue of about 4000 crore rupees (Rs. 40,000 million). Kerala remained till a decade back, a sheltered, secluded pristine haunt and was popular as a tourist destination only to the country. This well guarded secret was let out in the mid 90's when the Government of Kerala and the Department of Tourism actively started promoting the region as a cherished tourist destination. The influx of global backpackers into the state has been ever increasing and the allied businesses involved such as hotels and accommodation and transport etc have also flourished.
Kerala Real Estate: The real estate sector of the state's economy is really on an upswing. Increase in population and increased access to home finances has increased the demand for constructing houses. While various institutions such as The Kerala State Housing Board, Rural Development Department, Kerala State Co-operative Housing Federation, Agricultural Bank and Kerala State Development Corporation are busy implementing the various housing schemes devised by the Government of Kerala, various mushrooming PSU and other financial institutions are wooing the people of Kerala with funds and financial aid towards housing and home building.
Health Care: The medical profession and the healthcare industry in Kerala is growing in leaps and bounds. Dentistry, cardiac sciences, oncology, ophthalmology, nursing and biotechnology are major growth fields. With the growth of medical education, there has been a spectacular increase in the number of hospitals and diagnostic centers in the state. Medical tourism to the state is a major revenue earner. Tourists especially from the Gulf and Middle East where the costs of surgical procedures, post operative care and pharmaceutical drugs are very high.
IT Sector: With the boom in the IT sector of Kerala, the state has become one of the most promising destinations in the entire continent for software development, e-commerce and e-business solutions. The rise in the number of professionals employed in this sector has steeply risen following the active promotion of educational institutions offering courses such as MCA, Bsc (Comp), Software Engineering etc. This is a direct result of the Government of Kerala's active IT Mission which aims at creating about 2 lakh vacancies in the sector by 2010. With the rising investments of multinationals and the creation of Techno Park this sector is a major revenue generator in the state.