By Amar Nath K
Just finished watching yet an another program on a news channel, which propagates how newly carved out smaller states are struggling and how Telangana, if created, would lag behind it’s neighbor Chattisgarh. This claim, while unsubstantiated, could reek of chauvinism, which believes Andhras could do nothing but be way ahead of other states, especially the newly carved out ones.
We are told time and again how Visalandra Pradesh has been hurtling on the ‘development’ highway and how a de-merger would be a foolish thing that takes this momentum away. One of the key indices of development is education and just a glance at the 2011 Economic Survey by Government of India shows this claim either came from ignorance and arrogance. See the attached figures and how the Samaikyandhra Pradesh is lagging right behind Chattisgarh! With 67% literacy, it has conquered 3rd position, from the bottom! The average literacy rate in India is 74.04%. Out of the 35 states and union territories, Samaikyandra Pradesh has only 2 – Bihar and Arunachal Pradesh to beat, to get to the bottom of the heap, below all BIMARU states and newborn baby states.
In fact, the point about Chattisgarh’s backwardness is more than misguided. Chattisgarh also has higher female literacy rate than AP. Even while it was being carved out, it’s literacy was 64.66% in 2001 while for Suvarna Andhrapradesh, it was 60.47%! This should imply a long awaited surgery for Andhra Pradesh to rid it of the diseases of underdevelopment, especially education. So next time, if a blissfully ignorant guy says Telangana would become another Chattisgarh, you should say it would be glad to be one!