The Kerala government is taking the dictum ‘health is wealth’ seriously and making plans to become a 100 per cent healthy State by replicating its resounding success in literacy.
The State will kick off ‘Kayika Kshmata Mission’ (Physical Endurance Mission) on New Year Day. It will focus on the physical well-being of all, from nursery students to senior citizens. The total fitness scheme is aimed at preventing diseases and propagating a “physically healthy lifestyle” among its nearly 3.5 crore population.
“The mission intends to provide compulsory physical education to all school and college children, and to create awareness among youth and senior citizens on the benefits of exercise and physical well-being. As per the initial plans, a siren would go off across all panchayats and villages, say by about 6 am, alerting everyone to go out to the open and begin their exercises,” CPI(M) leader and Kerala State Sports Council President TP Dasan told BusinessLine.
“People can choose to do an exercise of their liking, such as walking, cycling, skipping or any type of games. The mission intends to create awareness among the general public. If we are able to involve at least 50 per cent of the total population, I would consider this a success,” Dasan said, adding the State has allocated a token amount of ₹5 crore for the mission.
Sources in the Sports Ministry pegged the total expenses for the mission at about ₹600-800 crore, while Dasan declined to comment on the expenses. The mission intends to involve officials of zilla panchayats and local bodies, parent-teacher associations, private companies and similar bodies in the project.
“The government will provide inspectors and coordinators, and allowances for equipment and other overheads. Diabetes, kidney stone, heart ailments and many other lifestyle diseases are now common in the State, and the motive of this mission is ‘sampoorna arogyam’ (total health),” he said.
To be shared with others
The state is also ready to share the blueprint of the project with Centre or other State governments, in case another State would be interested.
In April 1991, Kerala was crowned the only State with total literacy, with it getting the moniker ‘Sampoorna Sakshara State’, following long and strenuous efforts. Kerala ran a mission with the same name ‘Kayika Kshmata Mission’ for four years from 2006, which, however, was restricted to diagnosis and cure.