The Group of Ministers (GoM),
Ministry of Home affairs (Centre – State Division),
Government of India,
Sub: suggestions with regard to the special needs of Backward Regions and Districts.
The opinion of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) that the state should remain united was informed to you through our letter dated November 3, 2013. We again reiterate about the necessity of keeping the state united.
The severe inequalities in growth between different regions and districts and between different social classes would not go away by just keeping the state united. In fact the present pursuit of market-driven policies is resulting in the intensification of these inequalities. Similarly by just bifurcating the state these inequalities and uneven growth would not vanish on its own. In fact, post -division these may actually intensify and lead to newer forms of regionalism.
Therefore, irrespective of the state being united or divided, there is immediate need to take steps to develop the backward regions and districts. Since the GoM has sought opinion on this aspect also, we bring to your notice the following suggestions.
(1) The centre should help the state in terms of financial assistance and assured water allocations to ensure the completion of projects in drought-prone, backward regions.
A) The centre should help financially to complete the following projects: Handri-Neeva (useful for Kurnool-Anantapur districts), Galeru-Nagari (for Kadapa-Chittoor districts), Kalwakurthy and Nettampadu (for Mahbubnagar) Veligonda (for Prakasam, Nellore, Kadapa), Srisailam Left Bank Canal (for Nalgonda). And also help in securing assured allotments of water for these projects.
B) Proper Justice was not done to Andhra Pradesh in allotting reasonable amount of assured water from Krishna River by Brijesh Kumar tribunal. Central government is requested to intervene in redressing the in balances in allotment of water by negotiating with the other riparian states.
C) The centre should bear the entire cost of Pranahita-Chevella project.
D) Center Should help Financially to complete the ongoing Thotapalli, VanshaDhara projects in North Andhra.
(2) Neglect of education is nothing but neglect of backward regions and the weaker sections of the society and throwing them further back. Literacy in the state is 67.7 per cent, behind the all India average of 74.1 per cent. It has slipped in ranking from 28th position in 2001 to 31st in 2011. Neglect of state governments in proper allocations in budgets is the main reason. While the average spending on education for other states during 2009-10 has been 15.4 per cent of budget, in AP it was only 10.4 per cent.
In 675 Mandals the rate of literacy is bellow that of the state. Most of these Mandals are predominantly in backward regions and backward districts, especially in Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram, Vishakhapatnam, Mahaboobnagar, Kurnool, Medak, Nalgonda, Khammam, Nizamabad, Adilabad, Prakasam, Anantapuram. People here do not have sufficient livelihood opportunities. They also lack the necessary skill sets and access to quality education to utilize opportunities in other developing centres.
A) Therefore, at least two residential schools must be started in every such Mandal and provide quality education to at least one child in every poor and middle class household. The government should identify areas that are backward in terms of access to education from primary to higher education levels. It should then set up educational complexes for professional, vocational and general education in clusters of Mandals in these areas and admit students from families in those areas.
All the central institutes of Education, Health and research are concentrated in and around Hyderabad. The Central Government should sanction institutions of this kind to all the backward regions of the state.
(3) One of the main reasons for the backwardness of certain regions is the lack of development of the SC, STs whose strength is significant in those areas. Even the disparities among dalits and tribals is a result of the backwardness of their residential regions.
A) There are 108 Mandals in scheduled areas that have a large tribal population. These Mandals are backward in every aspect. The educational complexes must be built in tribal majority Agency areas like Paderu, Kurupam, Rampachodavaram, Bhadrachalam, Eturunagaram, Utnoor and Asifabad.
B) Similarly, in the plain area also, there are some pockets of tribal concentration in various districts. To cater to this tribal people education complexes must built in Devarakonda, Dornakal, Achampeta, Sullurupeta etc,.
C) Untouchability and caste discrimination is rampant in those Mandals that are economically and educationally backward. (Justice Punnaiah Commission identified these mandals) Mandals in the western areas of the state bordering Karnataka and Maharashtra, from Chittoor to Adilabad, fall in this category.
Education itself is an asset for dalits who do not have any other assets. If we can provide education to them, it will give scope for bettering their lives.
Therefore, special residential schools must be opened additionally in these mandals for children of dalits, tribals and nomadic artisans.
(4) Minorities, especially Muslim minorities are backward in all sectors. They constitute 9.17 per cent in the state and their spread across regions is: Telangana (12.43 per cent), Rayalaseema (12.5 per cent) and Coastal Andhra (4.5 per cent). In Hyderabad alone, they constitute 41 per cent of population. They are also numerous in Kurnool, Kadapa, Anantapur, Rangareddy, Guntur and Chittooor districts. Majority of Muslim population is concentrated in towns. There are 53 towns that have over 20 per cent of Muslim population. Lack of development of Muslims is also one of the important reasons for the backwardness of those districts. As majority of these sections depend on non-agricultural work, education becomes crucial in their development.
Most of the minority educational institutes, at present, are not being useful to minorities in any manner. Educational complexes to impart modern education must be set up in all towns that have predominant Muslim population.
(5) Unfortunately, all non-agricultural economic development is concentrated in and around Hyderabad. This is also one of the main reason for the uneven development among regions. The governments have failed in decentralising industrial and modern services sector to regions that had no access to irrigation facilities. The government should take decisions relating to industrial and modern services in such a manner as to develop the backward regions.
A) It should take steps to develop growth complexes comprising industrial, IT, education and health sectors in suitable areas in North Telangana and Rayalaseema districts. It should arrange necessary infrastructure in terms of power, transport, drinking water, communication etc. Every such complex should have a Public Sector Unit as a centre-point. It should also have an airport. Only then would private investments flow to the region. Such centres can be thought of in districts like Prakasam, Anantapur, Kurnool, Karimnagar, Warangal.
B) Priority is to be given to the state in allotting the Gas and Cole produced in Andhra Pradesh. The central government should revise its policy immediately in this regard.
C) The central government should give the necessary incentives and help in building the ports proposed on the state’s sea coast.
(6) Backwardness is a multi-dimensional problem and solutions to it must also be multi-pronged. Steps must be taken to tackle some issues at regional, some at district level and some others at mandal level also.
(B.V. Raghavulu) (Julakanti Ranga Reddy)
State Secretary MLA