As Kerala marked 53 years of its existence on Sunday, Chief Minister, V.S. Achuthanandan, expressed concern about the decreasing use of Malayalam as the official language.

Mr. Achuthanandan, speaking at a function here, said that though Malayalam is the official language, less than 45 percent of the staff in the state secretariat use it.

“The State Public Service Commission has to see that government jobs are given to only those who can read and write Malayalam well. For this, laws will have to be amended,” Mr. Achuthanandan said.

With Sunday being a holiday, Kerala Day was not celebrated with the usual enthusiasm as previous years, though a few functions were held in the state capital. Many women dressed in traditional off-white and gold saris offered prayers at churches and temples.

Kerala came into existence November 1, 1956, on a linguistic basis, as areas where Malayalam was the principal language were brought together.

The state was formed incorporating Malabar district, Travancore-Cochin (excluding four southern taluks, which were merged with Tamil Nadu), and the taluk of Kasargod, South Kanara.

Kerala created history when for the first time a Communist government headed by E.M.S. Namboodiripad was voted to power and sworn in April 5th, 1957.

State Education and Culture Minister, M.A. Baby, said that while the state had done well for itself in many fields, there was still a lot to be done for Kerala to achieve its “true potential”.

“Areas such as the industrial sector, IT, tourism and bio-technology are where the state has done well but that is not enough because the state has not used its true potential. I would be glad if the society at large gets engaged in positive debates rather than getting caught in debates that will be of no help to the state,” Baby told IANS.

“The quality of education has to improve and when it happens, Kerala will never have to look back because we have laid a strong foundation in this sector long back,” he added.