A study by T.R. Chandrashekhara, a member of the Quality Monitoring Group in the Planning Department, shows that the eight-year Special Development Plan (SDP) started in 2007-08 to address disparity has failed on two counts.

Even as the State Budget to be presented on Friday is expected to address the question of regional imbalance, in the light of special status accorded to Hyderabad Karnataka through a recent Constitutional amendment, a study has revealed the poor manner in which this crucial issue has been handled over the years.

A study by T.R. Chandrashekhara, a member of the Quality Monitoring Group in the Planning Department, shows that the eight-year Special Development Plan (SDP) started in 2007-08 to address disparity, as recommended by the D.M. Nanjundappa Committee on Regional Imbalance, has failed on two counts. While on the one hand adequate allocations were not made to key sectors like Health and Education, the Gross District Domestic Product (GDDP) of the backward northern districts has further gone down during this plan period.

The study titled ‘Budgets for Regional Social Justice’ states that the share of North Karnataka region in GDDP fell from 33.25 per cent in 2007-08 to 30.48 p.c. in 2012-13. In the same period, share of South Karnataka districts increased from 66.75 per cent to 69.52 per cent.

What is even more stark is that the Bangalore administrative division, which accounts for 38.72 per cent of the State’s population in 2011, has a share of 51.08 per cent of the GDDP in 2012-13. Bangalore Urban district alone accounts for 30 per cent of the GDDP.

The disparity is marked in human development indicators too, especially health and literacy levels. “It is distressing to note that in 2011, there are 23 taluks in the State where the female literacy rate is less than 55 per cent. Of them, 15 are in Gulbarga division and four in Belgaum division,” says Mr. Chandrashekhara. In contrast, one taluk in Bangalore and three in Mysore divisions have less than 55 per cent female literacy.

Key sectors

Despite this, key sectors like health and education were not given priority in allocation of funds in SDP, though the Nanjundappa committee had prescribed percentages in allocation. The starkest violation is that as opposed to 26.11 per cent allocation recommended for education and health, only 8.92 per cent was allocated to these sectors between 2007 and 2013.

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