Andhra Pradesh stands fourth in achieving sustainable development target

Urban effect in Andhra Pradesh is spread across districts, says expert

Updated - June 26, 2019 07:44 am IST

Published - February 21, 2019 01:01 am IST - Vijayawada

Andhra Pradesh stands fourth behind Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu in achieving national targets set for 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

According to the NITI Aayog’s SDG Index India - Baseline Report, 2018, released in December, the State, along with Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra has secure a composite score of 64 as against the national average of 57, with a perfect score signifying achievement of the targets.

The report tracks the progress of the States and the Union Territories across 62 indicators, identified for the goals, and ranks them based on the average of normalised scores achieved by them in reaching the targets set for each indicator.

The report notes that the State has just 9.2% of its population below the poverty line as against the national average of 21.92% and has achieved the target. With every three of four households having at least one member under health insurance or a health scheme, the State tops the country in health coverage, buttressing its efforts in ending poverty.

As for eliminating hunger, it has fared abysmally in its public distribution system (PDS) coverage for poor households.

With a maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 74, it is behind Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu in achieving the target.

In having quality education, it is third with 98.1% of its school teachers professionally qualified as against the national average of 81.15%.

Gender equality

However, 45.2% of women have said they have faced domestic violence, the third highest after Manipur and Telangana, slowing its march towards gender equality.

In achieving decent work and economic growth, it is second to Goa as it has reached the target for the annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate per capita and all its households have bank accounts.

But with very poor road connectivity in rural areas under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna and with the Bharat Net yet to reach the hinterland, the State is one of the worst performers in industry, innovation and infrastructure.

The State, at 12.04%, has the largest chunk of urban households living in slums. And though almost all the wards have door-to-door waste collection facility, only 7% of waste is processed placing it last but third in fostering sustainable cities and communities.

Yet the State has the second strongest institutions after Himachal Pradesh. There are an estimated 31.4 courts per 10 lakh persons, which has achieved the target for the number of reported corruption crimes as well.

The State is ahead of Telangana in reaching eight of the 13 goals.

“This is because Telangana has faced skewed urbanisation centred on Hyderabad. Whereas in Andhra Pradesh, urban effect is scattered across districts,” says U.S. Mishra, professor at the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram.

Urban slums

More urban slums have mushroomed, which, according to Mr. Mishra could be linked to increased infrastructure activity post-bifurcation that led to mobility among people who set up temporary settlements.

The report lauds the State for being among the seven having a budgetary component targeting the SDGs. “Many indicators, including those linked to nutrition, are outcome based and could show improvement through policy interventions,” says Mr. Mishra.

As for overcoming the last-mile challenges faced by the performing States, Mr. Mishra says: “When States perform well, there is a fear of adversity getting pocketed. Meaning, a particular group is disadvantaged.

Therefore more effort is needed and inclusive and equitable development could propel a State towards the goals.”

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