Article

Regional disparities in Andhra Pradesh, India

Local Economy 02/2013; 28(1) 123–135. DOI: 10.1177/0269094212463791

ABSTRACT India is a federal union of 28 states. The states are further subdivided into districts. Andhra Pradesh is one of the largest states in India. This article examines how regional disparities in Andhra Pradesh have developed since its formation in 1956. A large urban centre (Hyderabad) which acts as a hub for economic activities, has attracted factors of production, and has stimulated income and employment opportunities in the surrounding local economy, but its impact on the peripheral districts is limited. There is a need for policy intervention in these peripheral districts in order to reduce regional disparities.

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    ABSTRACT: The study examines regional disparities in rural and agricultural development over a 50 year period since the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956. The most important finding of the paper, which is of considerable analytical and policy significance, is that Rayalaseema region which ranked next to the Coastal region in the beginning of the period has slipped to the third position, being overtaken by Telangana region which now ranks next to Coastal region, with many of the relevant development indicators showing convergence between the later two regions. The findings bring out that while Rayalaseema languished due to poor resource endowments and low investments. In the relatively better endowed Telangana which stagnated due to considerable underutilization of resources under the feudal set up earlier, surged followed with the release of productive forces consequent to the abolition of the princely state and its integration with the rest of the country after independence. After a brief survey of literature on the regional development, the various agricultural and rural development indicators based on the district level data from the period 1961 to 2011, collected from the various authentic sources. All the variables are presented in comparable terms like per capita or per hectare basis. The growth rates of the development indicators are supplemented by the levels of relevant indicators in terms of averages for the triennium at the beginning and end of the periods. This will help the reader to see the extent of convergence or otherwise between different regions and districts. There is a detailed discussion on growth and levels of inputs and outputs both in agricultural and livestock sectors. Further, the study also develops a composite indicator like Per Capita Income from Agriculture and Allied sectors which conveys a beƩ er picture of development than partial indicators like crop and livestock sectors taken separately. There is a separate section on the regional pattern of development of human capital indicators and levels of educational development at the district level. The study, taking a case from the New Economic Geography, highlighted the growth impact of Hyderabad city on the nearby districts especially since late 1990s. However, it draws attention to lack of spread effects since the people in the adjacent districts of Hyderabad are not able to take advantage of the fast growth of the Hyderabad due to lack of education, capital and entrepreneurial skills. The study highlights that the Hyderabad agglomeration effects have not reached even the neighboring Mahabubnagar leave alone remote districts like Adilabad. The study bring out that the spread and convergence effects are hardly in evidence and that backward districts are present in all the regions like Adilabad and Mahabubnagar in Telangana; Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam within more developed Coastal Andhra and Ananatapur in even backward Rayalaseema. The study points out that the Green Revolution like development path is not suitable for the backward districts given their less resource endowment, hence emphasis needs to be on diversification of income and employment opportunities through livestock development, high-value crops cultivation on and off -farm activities. The study concludes that balanced regional development requires decentralized industrialization and uniform spread of a network of well-connected small towns, diversified growth engines suitable for local conditions. The emphasis in the strategy is on with adequate infrastructure that would serve as the role of government and public investment in the development of backward districts. The study provides basic disparity map of the regions with district level details that may help in designing appropriate interventions. Overall, the study is an important addition to literature on understanding the evolution of regional disparities in agriculture and rural development at the regional and district level, and hopefully would stimulate more in-depth studies on rural and agricultural development at regional and sub-regional levels.

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Jun 1, 2014