Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan on Monday underlined the overall growth achieved by the State even as he skipped contentious issues like the Telangana statehood demand and the series of scandals in which some ministers and legislators were allegedly linked to.

The Governor reaffirmed the government’s resolve for “speedier and balanced” economic development for delivering the fruits to the needy and the deserving sections (of society).

Opposition parties, which walked out of the House midway through the Governor’s 35-minute address, were quick to deride him for failing to make a mention of the “burning issues” like corruption and the farmers’ misery.

He was delivering the customary address to the joint session of the State Legislature marking the inauguration of the budget session.

The Governor noted that all the three sectors of the state economy have shown impressive growth during the 11th Plan so far with overall economic growth touching 8 per cent in the first four years of the Plan period.

“In recent times, the economy of Andhra Pradesh has been showing definitive positive growth trends and is inching close towards the national trends. Relentless efforts of the governments over the previous five-year plans have started paying dividends slowly, yet surely,” Mr. Narasimhan said.

The agriculture sector, which was rather sluggish during the 10th Plan period, showed definite improvement and recorded a growth rate in excess of 7 per cent during the first four years of the 11th Plan, he said.

The per capita income of the State has more than doubled in the last five years and stood at Rs 60,484 at current prices, which was more than the all-India per capita of Rs 54,835.

Referring to industrial development, the Governor said the state was able to achieve a growth rate of 9.22 per cent as against the national average of 7.16 per cent despite slowdown of economy at the global and the national levels.

During the Partnership Summit held in Hyderabad last month, the state issued sanction letters and signed MoUs valued at Rs 6.48 lakh crore with an employment potential of 6.78 lakh jobs, Mr. Narasimhan said.

The investment proposals included Rs 1.25 lakh crore by Andhra Pradesh Government and Central public sector undertakings and another Rs one lakh crore in the form of Foreign Direct Investment.

“The State’s Industrial Investment Policy 2010-15 envisages an employment target of five lakh with a possible investment of Rs 15,000 crore per year for achieving 17 per cent growth in the case of manufacturing sector.

As food processing sector is going to play a vital role in industrial development in future, a proposal has been forwarded to the Government of India for setting up a second Mega Food Park in Nizamabad district in addition to the one established at Palamaneru in Chittoor district,” the Governor said.

The State was also “at the forefront” in initiating efforts for setting up a National Manufacturing Investment Zone under the NMIZ Policy of the Centre, he said.

Mr. Narasimhan, however, expressed concern over the high level of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rates, particularly among tribals, Scheduled Castes and other vulnerable social groups.

“We are also concerned about the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases while we continue to battle with infectious diseases. Equally disconcerting is the increasing health care costs,” he said.

A comprehensive action plan for integrated mother and child healthcare that would be “accessible, affordable and equitable” would be launched to conform to the highest quality standards.

About the prevailing law and order situation in the southern state, the Governor said it has been “quite satisfactory” and the political and communal violence were under effective check.

“The Andhra Pradesh government was adopting both long-term and short-term strategies in terms of development and welfare on one hand and strict enforcement of law and order on the other to combat the problem of Left-Wing Extremism in the state.

Six more districts were brought under the Integrated Action Plan to facilitate development and welfare programmes in the Naxal-affected areas in these districts on a fast track mode,” Mr. Narasimhan added.