India (Andhra Pradesh)
India has a population of more than 1.2 billion people. It is a country of huge inequalities, with the second-largest number of billionaires in the world but also 25 per cent of the world’s poor. It ranks 134 out of 187 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index.
Over the last five years, India has seen impressive economic growth. Even during the global recession in 2009, the economy grew at a rate of 7 per cent of GDP. But inflation is a big problem, especially for poor people.
- 76 per cent of the population lives on less than two dollars per day.
- Malnutrition is more common in India than in sub-Saharan Africa.
- More children under 5 die from preventable and treatable diseases than in any other country.
Many of India’s inequalities are tied to gender and caste: women and girls still face multiple discrimination and India ranks 129th out of 187 in the United Nations Gender Inequality Index. The caste system, which dates back many thousands of years, is still extremely important in everyday life, with what the Government calls Scheduled Castes (otherwise known as Dalits or formerly ‘untouchables’) and Scheduled Tribes (otherwise known as adivasis, India’s indigenous peoples) the most disadvantaged communities. This is despite the fact that discrimination on the basis of caste is now illegal, and various measures have been introduced to empower disadvantaged groups and give them better access to opportunities.
Andhra Pradesh, in south India, is its fifth-largest state and has a population of 84.6 million. Andhra Pradesh is characterised by great diversity in terms of language, religion and caste and, like the rest of the nation, has been undergoing rapid economic and demographic change in recent years. It is still largely agricultural, although its capital, Hyderabad, is one of the leading centres of the technology revolution. The state has made considerable progress on child development indicators since the mid-1990s.
- Rural poverty went down from 48 per cent in 1973/4 to 11 per cent in 2004/5.
- Unlike in the other Young Lives countries, poverty is higher in urban than in rural areas.
- Adult literacy went up from 61 per cent in 2001 to 67 per cent in 2011.
Despite such progress, one-third of the Young Lives children are malnourished, and significant inequalities in wealth, consumption, expenditure and the incidence of poverty remain, based on class, caste, gender, the rural-urban divide and the different geographical regions of Andhra Pradesh. For example, 76 per cent of men were literate compared with 60 per cent of women. Only 66 per cent of girls aged 6 to 17 attend school, compared with 77 per cent of boys. And children from scheduled tribes are severely disadvantaged, with significantly higher proportions living below the state poverty line.
Andhra Pradesh was the role model for several new government initiatives during the 1990s to eliminate poverty. For example, the Midday Meal Scheme introduced in all public primary schools across India in the 1960s is the largest school feeding programme in the world and is aimed at improving school enrolment and retention. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) was launched in 2006 from Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh. NREGS is committed to providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment each financial year to households in rural areas whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work, and is aimed at enhancing livelihood security. From 2005, Andhra Pradesh has also implemented the Girl Child Protection Scheme that aims to prevent gender discrimination by empowering and protecting the rights of girl children through direct investment from the government.
The key challenge for government is how to tackle entrenched poverty and social exclusion. Young Lives has much to offer on this question. We are investigating the key factors affecting children in Andhra Pradesh and the extent of inequalities between children of different groups. Our analysis is enabling us to pinpoint policy implications for tackling childhood poverty in India as well as important and interesting avenues for future research.
Sources: www.younglives.org.uk; UNDP (2011) Human Development Report; S. Galab et al. (2011) Impact of Growth on Childhood Poverty in Andhra Pradesh: Initial Findings from India, Young Lives Round 3 Survey Report; UNICEF (2012) State of the World’s Children; Changing Lives in a Changing World, Young Lives (2012)
Our sample sites
Young Lives research is based in Hyderabad plus 6 districts of Andhra Pradesh: Skrikakulam and West Godavari in the Coastal region; Anantapur and Cuddapah in Rayalaseema; and Mahboobnager and Karimnaga in Telangana. Together, these areas cover different geographical regions, levels of development, urban/rural locations and population characteristics. For a map showing the sample sites, a full description of the sample sites and key findings so far, follow the links.
In India Young Lives works with the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS) in Hyderabad, Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidyalam (Women’s University) (SPMVV) in Tirupati and Save the Children-India.
Key team members (see complete list on staff page)
Country Director: Renu Singh
Principal Investigator: Professor S. Galab, CESS
Lead Qualitative Researcher: Professor Uma Vennam, SPMVV
Policy Coordinator: Vijay Kumar, SC-India
Communications Coordinator: Piyali Sarkar
Contact the team
To contact the team in India, email Piyali Sarkar, Communications Coordinator (piyali.yl_at_gmail.com)
Visit the Young Lives India website