Raj Kumar, News Click | 11 May 2023
Why not compare the social index, availability of basic facilities like education and health and the standard of living of the people of these two states.
These days Kerala is in the news due to a propaganda film. This is not the first attempt to tarnish the image of Kerala, but BJP and right wing propaganda media keep making such attempts continuously. BJP tries to show Kerala as a hub of terrorism and presents Gujarat as a model of development.
It is noteworthy that the Left has a strong hold in Kerala and has been in power for a long time. On the other hand, Gujarat has been the laboratory of BJP and RSS and there is BJP government in Gujarat for the last 27 years. The country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah come from Gujarat only. We have to understand this issue of Kerala vs Gujarat calmly. So why not compare the social index, availability of basic facilities like education and health and the standard of living of the people of these two states. So that you can see the “real story” of Kerala and also assess the Gujarat model. So let’s get started and see where these two states stand?
status of education
First of all, let us see what is the status of literacy in these two states? The literacy rate of Gujarat is 78% while the literacy rate of Kerala is 94% i.e. the highest in the country. It is clear that Kerala is an ideal state in terms of education and Gujarat is nowhere in front of Kerala.
Now let us look at the situation of schools in these two states. The Education Minister was asked a question in the Rajya Sabha about the condition of schools in the country. On December 14, 2022, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan gave a written reply to this. According to which, there were 5,709 vacant posts of teachers in Gujarat in the year 2019, which increased to 14,767 in the year 2021. That means the number of vacant posts increased by two and a half times. On the other hand, in Kerala, there were 5804 vacant posts of teachers in the year 2019, which number decreased to 1815 in the year 2021. It is noteworthy that in these three years, the number of vacant posts of teachers in Gujarat has increased by two and a half times whereas in Kerala it has decreased by three times. In Kerala, 2.63% of teacher posts are vacant while in Gujarat, 5.84% posts are vacant.
According to data from the Ministry of Education, Department of School and Literacy, 1676 government schools in Kerala do not have libraries while 21,234 government schools in Gujarat do not have libraries. There is no electricity in 1728 schools in Kerala while 20,885 government schools in Gujarat are without electricity. 1724 schools in Kerala do not have hand washing facilities while 21,257 schools in Gujarat do not have hand washing facilities. The figures make it clear that Kerala has taken education on priority whereas the condition of education in Gujarat is quite poor. This is the report card of BJP in the last 27 years in terms of education level.
Now let us see what is the condition of health services in both the states? In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on 7 February 2023, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had presented state-wise details of the health infrastructure across the country. According to which Kerala has 48 district hospitals in 14 districts whereas Gujarat has only 20 district hospitals in 33 districts. The number of district hospitals is almost three times the number of districts in Kerala whereas Gujarat does not even have a district hospital in every district.
According to the Census Department of India, the estimated population of Gujarat in the year 2023 is 7,04,00,153 and the estimated population of Kerala is 3,46,98,876. There are a total of 11,297 sub-centres, PHCs and CHCs in Gujarat, both urban and rural. That means there is one of these three types of health centers for every 6,231 people. There are a total of 6,586 sub-centres, PHCs and CHCs in Kerala, urban and rural. That means one health center is available for every 5,268 people. Even in terms of health infrastructure, Gujarat is far behind Kerala.
According to the National Family Health Survey, the infant mortality rate in Gujarat is 31.2 while in Kerala it is 4.4. In Gujarat, 79.7% of children in the age group of 6 months to 5 years are suffering from anemia, whereas in Kerala this figure is 39.4%. 65% of women in the age group of 15-49 years in Gujarat are suffering from anemia whereas in Kerala this figure is 36.3%. 31.4% of pregnant women in Kerala are suffering from anemia whereas in Gujarat this figure is double that of Kerala. 62.6% pregnant women of Gujarat are suffering from anemia. 19.7% children in Kerala are underweight while 39.7% children in Gujarat are underweight, which is much lower than the national average of 32%. In Gujarat, only 6% of children in the age group of 6 months to 2 years get adequate nutrition, in Kerala this figure is 23.5% and the national average is 11.3%. The figures make it clear that even in terms of nutrition, Kerala is far ahead of Gujarat.
status of women
The situation of female sex ratio in the entire country is worrying. Meaning, girls are considered a burden and are killed in the womb even before they are born. To understand the condition of women, we need to know what is the status of male-female sex ratio in Kerala and Gujarat? The male-female sex ratio in Gujarat is 919 which is less than the national average of 940. Whereas the sex ratio of Kerala is 1,084, much higher than the national average. That means in Gujarat there are only 919 women for every 1000 men, whereas in Kerala there are 1084 women for every 1000 men. Lingan
Kerala is an ideal state in terms of proportion.
The female literacy rate in Gujarat is 76.5% while in Kerala the female literacy rate is 98.3%. Only 30.8% women of Gujarat have ever used the internet whereas in Kerala this figure is double that of Gujarat. 61.1% women of Kerala use the internet.
If we talk about the age of marriage of women, Gujarat lags behind Kerala in this matter also. 21.8% of women in the age group of 20-24 years in Gujarat say that they were married before the age of 18 years. In Kerala this figure is 6.3%. Only 48.8% women in Gujarat have their own mobile phone while 86.6% women in Kerala have their own mobile phone. Statistics show that the condition of women is much better in Kerala than in Gujarat.
Quality of Life
We also have to see what is the standard of living in both these states? What is the standard of living of the people? Only 74% of the houses in Gujarat have good sanitation facilities while 98.7% of the houses in Kerala have good sanitation facilities. Only 39% of the families in Gujarat have a member with health insurance, while 51.5% of the families in Kerala have a member with health insurance. 66.9% of households in Gujarat use clean fuel for cooking while 72.1% of households in Kerala use clean fuel for cooking.
Government figures from various regions are proving that Kerala is actually a model of development and Gujarat is being forcibly presented as a model. In fact, Gujarat is not a model of development but a laboratory of Hindutva of BJP and RSS.
(The author is an independent journalist and trainer. He also investigates claims and viral messages related to government schemes.)