State Level Bankers Committee

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Kerala was a model for high human development at low incomes. But in recent years the income levels also have risen. Kerala is gradually shifting from an Agrarian economy to a market economy. Kerala has 1.18% of India’s geographical area, 2.76% of population and contributes 4.11% of country’s GDP. Sate’s Per Capita income is 50% above National per Capita Income.


Share in GDP (2015-16-current prices)







Growth in Per Capita Income

  • Foreign inward remittance by Keralite emigrants working in foreign countries, mainly in the Middile East anually contribute more than a fifth of the GSDP.
  • NRI deposits in Kerala have soared to over Rs.1.48 lakh crore as at March 2017.
  • Traditional industries manufacturing items; coir, handlooms, and handicrafts employ around one milliion people. Kerala supplies 60% of the total global produce of white coir fibre.
  • Major export items from Kerala are Jewellery (6351 Cr.), Marine Products (3281 Cr.), Spices (2149 Cr.) and Cashew (1458 Cr.).

Growth in Per Capita Income

Primary Sector

Share of Primary sector ( Agriculture Allied Activities fisheries and logging) is declining, Net cropped area has decreased from 2078700 ha in 2014–15 to 1973000 ha in 2015-16, Cropping pattern is dominated by Paddy in wet lands and cash crops like Coconut, Rubber Tea, Coffee, Cardamom, Pepper and Cashew in garden lands, Other crops are Tapioca, Banana, Vegetables, mango, jack etc. Kerala produces 97% of the national output of black pepper and accounts for 85% of the natural rubber in the country. Coconut, tea, coffee, cashew, and spices – including cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg are the main agricultural products. 80% of India’s export quality cashew kernels are prepared in Kollam. Allied activities (Dairying and Fisheries) is an important sub sector

Major crops/ allied activity

Area (000 ha)

Production (000 MT)









5873 million nuts

Livestock population

27 lakhs animals

26.50 lakh MT milk, 244.25 crore eggs & 4.66 lakh MT meat

Poultry population

243 lakhs birds

Fish Production (Marine & inland combined)


7.27 lakh MT (Inland 29%, Marine 71%)

Forest area & revenue from forests


Rs. 290.2 crores

Secondary Sector

Share of secondary sector (manufacturing) in Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is 24.27%. The state has strong presence of Public sector and Private sector units. The industries base in Kerala comprises mainly of Medium, Small & Micro sector. Since large industries are few, ancillary units are also few. The major manufacturing units are related to Food processing (especuially Cashew, pickles and curry powders, fruits processing, Rice processing), Marine products processing, Ayurvedic Medicines manufacturing, Coir, Rubber based products, Wood & bamboo based Industries, Ship Breaking, Handicrafts etc.

Under Ores & Minerals, we have industries related to the processing of Monazite, Illmenite, Granite & Lime Based products. Under electronic industry, software industry is growing. MAjor industries in the Public Sector include Cochin Shipyard, Cochin refinery, FACT, Kerala Minerals & Metals, Malabar Cements.

Tertiaty Sector

Services sector is the prime mover of Kerala Economy (63.66 % of GSDP). Hospitality sector, Tourism (Inland & International) Ayurveda & medical services, Pilgrimage, IT based exports, Transport Sector, Financial Services, Education are the main areas of service sector.

Tourism: Kerala- God’s Own Country

Kerala’s culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demographics, have made the state one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. In 2012, National Geographic’s Traveller magazine named Kerala as one of the “ten paradise of the world” and one of the “50 must see destinations of a lifetime”. Travel and Leisure also described Kerala as “One of the 100 great trips for the 21st century”.

Kerala’s beaches, backwaters, lakes, mountain ranges, waterfalls, ancient ports, palaces, religious institutions and wildlife sanctuaries are major attractions for both domestic and international tourists. The city of Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourists in Kerala. In 2011, tourist inflow to Kerala crossed the 10 million mark.

Ayurvedic tourism has bocome very popular since the 1990s, with the initiatives of the Tourism Department. Kerala is known for its ecotourism initiatives which include mountaineering, trekking and bird-watching programmes in the Western Ghats as the major activities. The revenue from tourism increased five-fold between 2001 and 2011 and crossed the ₹ 190 billion mark in 2011. Moreover, the industry provides employment to approximately 1.2 million people.

Asia’s largest, and the world’s third largest Naval Academy- Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala at Kannur is in Kerala. Idukki Arch dam, the world’s second arch dam, and Asia’s first, is in Kerala.

The major beaches are at Kovalam, Varkala, Fort Kochi, Cherai, Payyambalam, Kappad, Muzhappilangad (South India’s only drive-in beach) and Bekal. Popular hill stations are at Munnar, Wayanad, Wagamon, Peermade, Paithalmala, Nelliampathi and Ponmudi. Munnar is 4,500 feet above sea level and is known for tea plantations, and a variety of flora and fauna. Kerala’s ecotourism destinations include 12 wildlife sanctuaries and two national parks: Periyar Tiger Reserve, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park, and Silent Valley National Park are the most popular among them. The Kerala backwaters are an extensive network of interlocking rivers (41 west-flowing rivers), lakes and canals that center around Alleppey, Kumarakom and Punnamada (where the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held in August). Padmanabhapuram Palace and the Mattancherry Palace are two nearby heritage sites.

Kerala in the Export Market

The economy of Kerala had shown a greater outward orientation from time immemorial, in contrast to other regions in the country. Kerala was a major international trading centre. Cardamom and cinnamon from the region were exchanged with ancient Babylonia as early as 3000 BC. Ancient Egypt and Israel traded with Kerala via the Phoenicians. Kerala soon became an “Entrepot” connecting Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and China. Advent of British colonialism stimulated the penetration of colonial capital into the plantation sector in the region

The export basket of the state consists of Tea, Coffee Coir & Coir Products ,Cashew, Pepper Cardamom Ginger, other spices, Essential Oils , Marine Products , Software , Fruits & Vegetables . The Cashew industry in Kerala is a model of import for value added exports
A major foreign exchange earner for Kerala is its export of human resource services. More than 24 lakh Keralites are NRIs. Their inward remittances have stimulated overall development in the state.