Poverty and Inequality in Rural Assam An Indicative Study of Seven Villages in Udalguri Subdivision, Assam (India)
ABSTRACT This study is based on primary data collected from randomly chosen 182 households inhabiting seven sample villages in the Udalguri subdivision, Assam (india). It indicates that at least 35.85 percent of the population (and 33.52 percent of households) in the sample villages is below poverty line (at Rs. 400 per capita per month). On the other hand, no more than 39.5 percent of the people (and 37.36 percent households) is likely to stand under the poverty line (at Rs. 425 per capita per month). The observed values of Gini index in the sample villages are considerably high. In the first five villages the Gini index is 41.84 while in the last two villages it is 48.69. Overall the value of Gini index in the sample villages is 44.31. The prime reasons of poverty are excessive dependence on primary sector, disguised unemployment, poor development of marketing facilities, connectivity and power supply, poor agricultural productivity, absence of any significant manufacturing activities, etc resulting into an hourglass shaped occupational distribution.
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ABSTRACT: Based on the primary data collected from 182 rural households from seven villages (five of which are inhabited by indigenous population and the rest two are inhabited by immigrants Muslim population from Bangladesh) this study aims at knowing if cultural variables make a difference to economic performance of these households. We find that the households of two groups of villages (Group-1 consisting indigenous population and Group-2 consisting the immigrants from Bangladesh) can be discriminated among themselves on the criteria of farming efforts (the inputs they apply to agriculture and the output they raise on the land) as well as the sources of income harnessed by them. The inhabitants of Group-2 villages, once they have enough land to cultivate, practise commercial agriculture for the market to earn higher income, but the inhabitants of the Group-1 villages still continue with the traditional agriculture, chiefly with an objective to sustenance, in spite of having enough land to cultivate. The land resources make little difference to economic achievements across the two groups of villages. In short, the farmers of Group-2 villages, whenever feasible, are enterprising. Secondly, most of the farmers in Group-2 villages apply family labour for supervision, management and marketing of the produce. To work on farms they hire labourers abundantly available in the village itself and in other villages around. Thirdly, many households in the Group-1 villages derive income from service and orchards (which characterizes an extensive use of land). On the other hand, most of the households of the Group-2 villages (who own land) use land intensively. Fourthly, many inhabitants of Group-2 villages, in spite of being economically well off, are thrifty. They save to invest or to tide over the adversities and eventualities. Inhabitants of Group-1 villages spend less owing to the paucity of resources. But whenever the resources permit, they do spend lavishly. As a matter of fact, t
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ABSTRACT: In this paper we report our findings as to the extent of poverty among the casual labourers of Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, India. Two views of poverty have been considered; first at the per capita (per month) income level and the second at the nutritional level. Nutritional level has been defined in terms of calorie, carbohydrate, protein and fat intakes of the casual labourer households. We find that income elasticites of calorie availability and carbohydrate availability move close to each other. Income elasticities of protein are always higher than carbohydrate (and calorie). Elasticities of fat are initially larger than others, but with an increase in per capita income they slide down others. At small income levels relatively high-fat-low-protein articles are consumed while with an increase in income relatively low- fat-high-protein articles are consumed. The contribution of carbohydrates to calorie intake decreases with an increase in per capita income. Our findings do not corroborate Behrman and Deolalikar (1987), who showed that the income elasticity of calorie intake was quite low, and not significantly different from zero in statistical terms. If the income elasticity were close to zero, its implication is that improvement in the income of the poor will have little impact on the extent of malnutrition. Then the developmental policies intended to improve nutrition will have to use policy instruments which attack malnutrition directly rather than relying simply on raising income. But that is not the case as shown by our study. However, our findings support Strauss and Thomas (1990), Ravallion (1990). Bouis and Haddad (1992), and Subramanian and Deaton (1996), who find that income elasticities of energy component of food, although small, are yet significantly different from and much larger than zero. Subramanian and Deaton (1996), based on the National Sample Survey data, estimated the expenditure elasticity of calorie intake to lie in the range of 0.3-0.5 and in any case statistically different from zero. In our study, we find that income elasticities of calorie availability (to casual labourers in Shillong) are close to 0.4, which corroborate Subramanian and Deaton. We also find that not only calories, but other nutritional ingredients of food such as carbohydrate, protein and fat availabilities (intakes) also have income elasticities significantly larger than zero and, therefore, raising income to Rs. 800 (per capita per month) or so we may overcome the mal-nutrition problem among the poor.SSRN Electronic Journal 05/2005; DOI:10.2139/ssrn.728863