ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rural Poverty in Madhya Pradesh

This study examines the incidence of rural poverty in Madhya Pradesh based on a field survey of 2,208 rural households spread over 11 districts. The issues of poverty are examined in a multidimensional perspective with emphasis given to issues related to access to publically provided services like health and education. There is a need for greater and more effective fiscal intervention for poverty reduction and employment generation. The implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act may prove to be an effective intervention in reducing poverty in rural areas of the state.

M adhya Pradesh is one of the less developed states of the country with vast area and sharp inter-regional differences in socio-economic achievements. As per the 2001 Census, the erstwhile Madhya Pradesh1 is the second most populous state in the country with a population of 6.039 crore spread over 45 districts. The district with the highest human development index (HDI) is Indore (0.694) and that with lowest HDI is Jhabua (0.371).2 At the all-India level, although since 1973-74 there has been a consistent reduction in the poverty head-count ratio, the spatial concentration of poverty increased implying that a limited number of states account for a disproportionately large share of rural poor. The official poverty estimates prepared by the Planning Commission for 1999-2000 show that nearly 74 per cent of the rural poor live in just six states, viz, Orissa, Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. There have also been wide inter-district disparities in poverty and human development in these states. In this paper, we undertake a detailed review of the incidence of rural poverty in Madhya Pradesh based on a primary survey carried out in the 11 districts of the state. Shifting away from the limited notion of income poverty, we focus on the multifaceted incidence of poverty including access to various public services and examine the efficacy of the pro-poor fiscal intervention strategy in Madhya Pradesh.

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