Telangana completes four years: State faces massive development challenges, most of them legacy issues

The 29th state of the Union of India, Telangana has completed four years of its existence. The formation of the state was the result of decades of struggle by people. However, amidst talk of high growth and investment in the state of Telangana, there are significant development fault lines. Most of these are legacy problems, as this region had faced neglect in terms of development in the united state. Following are some challenges that the state faces.

-Telangana is a fast urbanising state. The urban population in the state grew by 38.12 percent in the decade from 2001 to 2011, as compared with 25.13 percent in the preceding decade. In sharp contrast, the rural population in the state grew by a modest 2.13 percent, as per the 2011 census. However, the pattern of urbanisation is highly skewed, with one-third of the population of the state concentrated in the state capital. This imposes an enormous burden on the civic infrastructure of Hyderabad. Thus, the city of pearls is among the cities with the highest number of slums. The efforts to develop other cities in the state are yet to gather pace.

-A high percentage of the population of Telangana comes from the marginalised sections of society. Thus, the social and economic empowerment of these vulnerable sections assumes much greater public policy priority in the new state. About 75 percent of the operational holdings of the scheduled castes are marginal (below one hectare). The scheduled castes are marginalised even in access to tenancy markets in the state. Cropping intensity is relatively low among scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The irrigation levels are also relatively low among these communities. The livestock base is very small across all the social groups in the state.

 Telangana completes four years: State faces massive development challenges, most of them legacy issues

People celebrating the formation of Telangana. File image. PTI

-The state has a large tribal population. The tribal population in Telangana increased from 2.81 percent in 1961 to 8.19 percent in 1981 and further to 9.34 percent in 2011. This is higher than the national average. The increase is mainly on account of the inclusion of certain castes under the category of scheduled tribes. The widespread social and economic disparities between various tribal groups are throwing up a new challenge. The adivasis and the Lambadas (nayaks) who were later categorised as scheduled tribes (STs) are now locked in a conflict .

-Although marginalised social groups constitute a large proportion of the state's population, these communities are not homogeneous. Due to this, there are demands for sub-categorisation. The vexed question of the Mala -Madiga divide still remains unresolved .

-People from all social groups in the state face a significant problem of indebtedness. The penetration of institutional credit among scheduled castes is still negligible, despite the lofty talk of financial inclusion.

-According to Telangana Social Development Report 2017 released by Southern Regional Centre of the Council for Social Development (CSD), a significant section among the poorest of the poor in the state does not have access to the Public Distribution System (PDS). The CSD report further notes that the ration cards meant for the poorest of the poor households are enjoyed by the richest households in rural Telangana.

-Hyderabad is a global destination for tech companies, with most national and global IT majors finding their way to the state capital. According to the CSD report, although 96 percent of the youth in the state have not received technical education, 62 percent had educational attainments above the secondary level in 2011-12. This suggests that there is a strong case for skill development.

-As per the 2011 Census, Telangana's labour force participation rate is 66.8 percent, which is far greater than the national rate of 52.9 percent. The industrial sector accounts for 26.7 percent of Gross Value Addition (GVA) of the state, while it employs only 17.8 percent of the total work force in the state. This indicates the availability of surplus work force needed for the growth of the manufacturing sector in Telangana. Despite surplus availability of labour and its low cost, a skill deficit haunts the state. The state has a relatively higher number of unskilled and semi-skilled workers.

-Despite the state ranking high in terms of Ease of Doing Business, the industrial landscape of Telangana is plagued by high mortality of industries and businesses. As per the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, of the total 61,333 companies that closed operations in India during 2012-16, 7,627 companies were from Telangana. The state alone accounts for a whopping 12.5 percent of industrial mortality in India. A report entitled ‘Telangana: Gateway to the Future of Manufacturing,’ released by Yes Bank and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) states, “Such a high mortality rate could greatly impact the overall investment climate in the state and adversely influence investor confidence.”

-According to a report entitled ‘Status of Millennium Development Goals in Telangana State’ prepared by Centre for Economic and Social Studies(CESS), significant achievements have been made on many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Telangana. However, progress has been uneven across districts and ethnic groups. The uneven regional distribution of income, coupled with uneven growth, is giving rise to widening regional disparities. The persistence of inter-district and intra-regional social and economic inequalities poses a serious development challenge.

-The school completion rates are low in rural areas. There has also been an increasing shift towards private education, indicating low levels of confidence in public education. The state witnessed a slow growth of literacy. The rank of Telangana is 25 among the states on this parameter in 2011. The literacy rate, at 66.46 percent, is lower than the national average of 72.99 percent. It is a matter of concern that the literacy rate in Telangana is lower than some of the lower income states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. The proportion of households with no adult literate was 29 percent in rural Telangana, while it was only 18.7 percent at the all-India level.

-While there is a high percentage of institutional births, institutional births in public facilities are very low. Telangana has higher morbidity in rural areas than in urban areas. Though the infant mortality rate has been declining over time, Telangana lags behind progressive states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The malnutrition levels in Telangana are high, with 43 percent of children below six years and over 80 percent among adults being malnourished. Malnutrition is a major cause of deaths and disabilities in Telangana. Citing a report, “India: Health of the Nation’s States, 2017,” which looked into the leading individual causes of deaths in Telangana, the Socio-Economic Outlook, 2018, released by the state government, stated that malnutrition is a major cause of risk among females, while for males, it is dietary risks.

-Persons with disability constitute a higher percentage of the population in Telangana compared to other states, according to CSD. The majority of them reside in rural areas. Telangana also has an overwhelmingly large proportion of women who are widowed, especially in rural areas.

The author was an independent member of Legislative Council in Telangana and presently professor of Journalism at Osmania University, Hyderabad.

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Updated Date: Jun 04, 2018 20:11:31 IST