State Profile - Andhra Pradesh
The state has introduced several welfare measures in the past and these have contributed to reducing income poverty in rural areas (Dev, 2006 ). However, access to and quality of basic services in health, nutrition, education and sanitation remain poor – especially for disadvantaged social groups such as the scheduled castes and tribes – thus challenging the trajectory and nature of state sponsored development programmes towards a new thinking and focus.
While the state has been able to create a platform for women’s economic participation through self-help groups and over 5,00,000 groups are functioning across the districts, the full potential of the social capital thus generated has not been harnessed to impact the key social development indicators for children: such as all children in school, reduced malnutrition, IMR, MMR, improved age at marriage and other health and hygienic practices.
In addition, according to the ASER 2007 report nearly 7 % of all children between the ages of 7-16 are still out-of-school – technically the “last mile” which is correlated with increasing age, gender, disadvantaged social groups – hence older girls and children belonging to marginalized communities remain most vulnerable to being out of school. The equity challenges lies in reaching out to the Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes groups comprising 16 and 7 per cent of the total population (Census 2001).
While the state can boast of increasing private investments in health sector in the form of corporate hospitals, the impact of declining public investment in primary health sector is being reflected in key indicators: nearly one third of the child birth are still happening at home ( 31 %) and the MMR is as high as 195 per 100,000 live births. Full immunization rate in fact has dropped down to 46% (NFHS-III, 2005-06) from 59% (NFHS-II, 1998-99) in the last 7 years.
To achieve some of the critical MDGs in the sector, increase in the rate of progress in coverage as well as usage of sanitation facilities in households and schools/anganwadis need to be enhanced as a matter of urgency.
Issues of concern include high incidence of child labour and large scale distress migration, skewed sex ratio, early marriage, trafficking of children for sexual and commercial exploitation and practice of female foeticide and infanticide. Coastal regions of the state are more vulnerable to disasters (floods/cyclones) where protection issues of children have to address infrastructural and emotional impacts of disasters.