“A teenage girl committed suicide in Nalgonda district of Telangana over a week ago, on January 25, shockingly for lack of toilet in her house. The 17 year old Kadaparthi Rekha, a junior college student was a daughter of a farm labourer. She has been insisting her father Sattaiah for a long to construct a toilet at house before immolating herself on January 25.”
The tragic end of the young girl was not only unique of its nature but it had disproved the claims of union government to improve the livelihoods of poor and also assertions of Telangana government to have brought cheer in the lives of underprivileged.
The Nalgonda farm laborer Sattaiah lost his young daughter, who was ashamed of using makeshift toilet, for not able to afford a toilet in his house despite the state government’s claims of social justice and improving per capita incomes.
The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015 report shows the glaring facts of the sanitation facilities among the rural populations in the state which indicates that Rekha’s case was not an isolated one but it was indeed a common phenomenon.
The survey data shows that 50 per cent of the State’s population does not have proper sanitation facility and it is worse in rural areas with 62 per cent households not having sanitation facilities. Similarly, 40 per cent of urban population does not have sanitation facilities.
This data was consolidated by National Family Health Survey during 2015 across the State and the outcome is an eye-opener and alarming for the State government. Data shows that only 48 per cent of the rural households were able to use clean fuel for cooking and it is 90 per cent in urban areas.
The NFHS data, on the other hand, shows that nearly 40 per cent of the girls below the age of 15 in Telangana State do not attend school, which is nearly 25 per cent of the State population.
In rural Telangana, girls who do not attend school are higher at 50 per cent. While the sex ratio is 1,035 females per 1,000 males in rural areas and it is 976 per 1,000 men in urban Telangana. The State average is 1,007 females per 1,000 males. According to the survey report, nearly 25 per cent of the households in the State do not have tap water.
The survey report reveals that 40 per cent of the households do not have anyhealth insurance or health scheme. Interestingly, nearly 47 per cent of the urban households do not have health cover, which is less than rural households where only 33 per cent do not have the same. Social scientists expressed dismay at the numbers as they present a different picture, contrary to the claims of State government, which has been delivering welfare activities in the State on a priority.
Samajika Telangana JAC chairman Prof Gali Vinod Kumar alleged that the State government was not preparing policies to suit people’s needs, but fine-tuning them for the development of corporates. All policies of State government are in line with the global players and not that of the people’s needs, he observed.He said that merely giving subsidized rice would not be enough for people to lead a graceful life, instead government must formulate policies based on the local needs in a holistic manner.
The NFHS report indicates that only 65 per cent of the women in the State are literate, which is 52 per cent in rural areas and 79 per cent in urban Telangana. Only 43 per cent of the women in Telangana have ten years of schooling, reported the survey. Noted social activist P Sandhya alleged State government was not serious in formulating comprehensive programmes for improving literacy among women in the State.
She said, “Without the improvement of literacy among women, we cannot expect intellectual growth of any society in the world. We need to focus more on the girl child’s education at least for now.” The NFH survey covered the aspects of marriage and fertility, infant & child mortality rates, current use of family planning methods besides education and sanitation.
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