Telangana formation day | Trials, triumph and turning the tide: A journey of navigating obstacles, embracing victories

With soaring per capita income, reduced inequality, and robust infrastructural growth, Telangana has showcased remarkable progress but development gaps persist, particularly in women and children’s health

Updated - June 01, 2023 03:21 pm IST

Published - June 01, 2023 02:47 am IST - HYDERABAD

A view of  Telangana’s new secretariat building complex in Hyderabad, which has been named after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The massive, 125-foot steel and bronze statue of Dr. Ambedkar was inaugurated on his birth anniversary on April 14, 2023.

A view of Telangana’s new secretariat building complex in Hyderabad, which has been named after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The massive, 125-foot steel and bronze statue of Dr. Ambedkar was inaugurated on his birth anniversary on April 14, 2023. | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Summers in Telangana meant frequent power outages, inconsistent water supply, long wait for water tankers, parched agricultural fields, and urban migration of distressed families. Nearly a decade after Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh, the situation has a ring of surprise. The human development indices for the new State present a different picture from the time it was created. Gone are the gloomy predictions about the fate of the new State. Instead, we have a confident State that is green throughout the year with every household in the remotest corner getting potable water at home (100% coverage).  

Telangana has seen a surge in per capita income (PCI). Its PCI at current prices stands at ₹3.17 lakh, which is ₹1.46 lakh higher than the national PCI of ₹1.71 lakh. Rangareddy district has one of highest PCI in the country at ₹6.69 lakh.

The Gini Coefficient, which is considered an indicator of inequality, is down to 0.10 from 0.331 in urban areas and 0.437 in rural areas in 2011-12, according to National Family Health Survey 2019-21. This puts the State on par with Kerala and Tamil Nadu in terms of equitable income distribution.

But gaps in development indices remain. The health of women and children is considered a key indicator in any society. Here, Telangana falters. Stunting (low height for age) has increased from 28% to 33%, wasted (low weight for height) has increased from 18% to 22%, underweight (low weight for age) has increased from 29% to 32% for children under the age of 5 between 2016 and 2021.

The issue linked to malnutrition is not limited to rural areas. The International Food Policy Research Institute includes 31 out of 31 districts as places of public health concern on a host of parameters like underweight children, underweight women, severe wasting and anaemia. A sliver of hope is that the maternal mortality rate has dipped from 81 in 2016 to 43 in 2020. The infant mortality rate has fallen from 35/1000 in 2016 to 21/1000 in 2020. The UN Sustainable Development Goal is to reach single-digit IMR of 9/1000 by 2020.

Five years was the target of the State for zero open-defecation in 2014. However, as per NFHS-5, only 76.2% of the population use improved sanitation facilities. About 53% of the households in the State had toilet facility within the household in 2011. Now, 87% of households have access to toilet within the household.

‘Free access from KG to PG is an important goal of the Government in this sector’ was in important policy statements of the new State in 2014. However, the goal appears to have been missed. The revised estimate for education in 2015-16 was ₹8,266 crore. This went up marginally by 3.7% to ₹8,575 crore the next year. To put things in perspective, the Irrigation department budget went up from ₹8966 crore to ₹24,132 crore — a whopping 169.1% increase. The budget estimate for 2023-24 is ₹18,955 crore out of which ₹11,009 crore is earmarked for assisting local bodies with school education.  

Forest cover, which is part of Sustainable Development Goals, has gone up in the state according to data from ‘India State of Forest Report’. Telangana had 19,854 square km forest cover; in 2021 this has been estimated at 21,214 sq km.

The real transformation in infrastructure can be seen in the spread of road network over the past decade. In 2014, the State had 24,737 km road network with 3,446 km of state highways and 12,440 km of major district roads and 8,847 km rural roads. This year’s socio-economic survey pegs the road network in the State at 1,09,260 km — a quantum jump of 341%. While a tweak on the formula for calculating road length is at play, it is no mean achievement where 51% of the road is black-top, 30% is unmetalled road, 10% is cement concrete road, and 9% is metalled roads.

As the State marches on to mark its 10 years of existence, challenges remain in the social and health sector while it has made big strides in terms of infrastructure, irrigation, water supply and transport sector.

(Sources: National Family Health Survey, Budget papers, Socio Economic Survey and Niti Aayog)

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