Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Tribes (STs) in Andhra Pradesh: A Situation Assessment Analysis
The paper presents the development status of SC and ST in Andhra Pradesh, their problems and prospects from the inclusive growth and human development perspectives. It presents the prevailing situation in respect of SC/ST and their level of backwardness with respect to parameters such as income, land ownership, health indicators, educational attainments, access to basic infrastructure and basic amenities in the state. The analysis indicates that although there has been progress on many development indicators across these SC and ST communities in the state, they still lagged behind the ‘other’ social groups. Although the gaps between social groups are getting narrower in literacy and child schooling, gaps remained same with respect to educational levels among the adults. Health conditions among these communities have improved at a very slow pace. The situation is alarming with respect to economic well-being as the poverty level especially among the STs. Slow progress in expected change in structure of employment towards non-agriculture in general and stagnation among STs for a long time is a cause of concern. Moreover, landlessness had increased among these communities especially STs. Even among the SC, total number of operational holdings and area under these holdings is observed to be marginally declined in the recent past. These facts are cause for policy concern in the state. The policy initiative of special assistance through SCP/TSP in terms of budget allocations for the welfare and development of these (SC/ST) communities has not been fulfilled in implementation. Nevertheless the recent initiative of Government of Andhra Pradesh in this respect is promising. Given the actual situation of these communities with respect to their development status, more focused intervention is needed to enhance the pace of development among these communities. The impact of development of these communities (SC/ST), together comprised one-fifth of the total population, in the state on its aggregate level of development would be considerable. Apart, the backwardness of these communities indicates a violation of norms like equity, equality and social justice that ought to be followed in the development process in a welfare state, and of the rights of these communities to development equally on par with other communities.
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