Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Socio-economic Characterization of Rural Households: A Village Level Analysis in Bihar

Singh, K.M. and Kumar, Abhay and Meena, M.S. and Singh, R.K.P. (2014): Socio-economic Characterization of Rural Households: A Village Level Analysis in Bihar.

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The alleviation of poverty has consistently been one of the chief objectives of Indian policy. The country‘s modern history contains myriad examples of discussion on this topic as far back as 1901. After India achieved independence from Great Britain in 1947, it launched a series of development programmes under various Five Year Plans which contain some kind of poverty eradication or social justice components. The consideration of economic policies vis-à-vis their impact on the poor highlights a continued emphasis by Indian policy makers on poverty alleviation.During the mid to late 1990‘s, the country experienced tremendous economic growth, particularly in industrial and service sectors. Its GDP grew at close to 6 percent annually during this period. Many individuals have suggested that poverty fell considerably during 1990‘s due to trickle down effects. Others do not find evidence that the economic growth strategy employed by Indian Government has reached broad segments of the population.In India, Bihar is amongst the poorest states with poverty incidence of 41.4 per cent. Per capita net domestic product has been estimated to be $ 446 for Bihar which is about one –third of the corresponding national average ($ 1220) and less than one-fourth of Haryana ($ 2052), one of the richest states in India (Government of Bihar, 2011). There has not been any significant influence of the agricultural development and poverty alleviation programmes on reducing poverty incidence. It reflects that strategies adopted under various rural development programmes seem to be inappropriate in the Bihar context. The most of the programmes aimed at improving the economic status of poor households, only a few attempted at improving their human capital (i.e., education, health, housing, social participation, etc.). This might be the reason for ineffectiveness of these programmes on alleviating poverty during the last three decades. The present study is an attempt to understand the village level realities in the overall development scenario of the state, which has been unfortunately termed as poverty hot-spot by many.

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