HYDERABAD: Telangana is the most unsafe state in the country for children. That is the conclusion if one goes by the Public Affairs Index (PAI)-2018 released by a Bengaluru-based think tank, Public Affairs Centre, on Sunday.
However, Telangana occupies an impressive third position in the Public Affairs Index as the best-governed state among all 30 states and Union Territories with Kerala and Tamil Nadu taking the top two positions respectively.
The PAC gave individual rankings to 23 states and 7 Union Territories on the basis of their performance on 10 themes and also gave an overall ranking. While these rankings have been being given since 2016, this year PAC also gave overall and individual rankings under the category of ‘Children of India’ on five themes.
One of the themes on which the ‘Children of India’ ranking was based is ‘Protection’, which includes sex ratio at birth, child marriage, child labour, crimes committed against children under IPC, POCSO and Juvenile Justice Act. Under the ‘Protection’ theme, Telangana ranked at 29th position out of 30 states and UTs and 18 among 18 large states.
It may be mentioned here that as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), crimes against children in Telangana went up from 1,930 in 2014 to 2,909 in 2016. In 2016, a total number of 1,158 cases were registered under POCSO, including 690 for child rape. Moreover, 491 cases under JJ Act were registered in 2016, the highest number in any state.
Telangana’s performance was equally dismal under the other four themes in ‘Children of India’ category - Education (14), Adolescence (25), Institutional structures and Governance (28) and Early childhood development (10). The state’s overall rank under ‘Children of India’ is 25 among all states and 13 among 18 large states.
However, when it comes to performance regarding the 10 themes individually, one can observe that in many things that matter to the public directly, the state’s performance is poor.
Telangana figures among the top five states only in fiscal management (1), economic freedom (3) and transparency and accountability (5), which can be attributed to its claims of being revenue surplus, schemes for industries like TS-iPASS and various digital initiatives for increasing transparency.
However, in many other themes, the state is ranked low: crime, law and order (24), essential infrastructure (19), women and children (18), delivery of justice (16), support to human development (10), environment (10) and social protection (9).