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

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Multidimensional Deprivation in Rural India

The paper investigates the spatial pattern of multidimensional deprivation in rural areas by developing a multidimensional deprivation index and examining its relationships with the poverty ratio and per capita income across the states in India. The analysis reveals that the states located in the central part of the country suffer a greater degree of deprivation. It further demonstrates that, with some exceptions, the MDI has a strong and positive correlation with the poverty ratio while it is inversely related with the per capita income in most of the states. The findings, therefore, draw attention towards the need for targeted spatial interventions, within the social sector policies, to overcome the persistent regional disparities at the subnational level.

Bad News on the Poverty Front

Rural poverty is now four times that of the urban levels, and it accounts for 90% of the nation’s poor.

Poverty in India in the 1990s

The authors examine the poverty situation in 15 major states across four distinct dimensions of headcount ratio, size of the poor population, depth and severity for the rural, the urban and the total population. The poverty situation, they find, worsened over the six-year period 1993-94 to 1999-2000 in Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. In the remaining 12 states there was a distinct improvement in terms of the most visible indicator, namely, the absolute size of the poor population. Overall, despite diversity across poverty indicators and across states, the overwhelming impression is one of greater improvement in the poverty situation in the 1990s than in the previous 10�½-year period.

ICTs in Rural Poverty Alleviation

Social structures are crucial in determining who is able to access any technology and use it beneficially. While making new information and communication technologies (ICTs) cheap will make them more accessible to the poor, there will be other factors which determine their impact. The current low penetration of ICTs is a reflection of the digital divide in overcoming which there is no way to bypass a confrontation of low educational levels, which itself is linked to landlessness.

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