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Measuring Regional Backwardness: Poverty, Gender, and Children in the Districts of India

By Vani Borooah and Amaresh Dubey

Abstract

This paper examines regional disparity in India from the perspective of the smallest geographical unit for which a consisent set of data is available: the district. By doing so, we are able to focus on pockets of deprivation rather than viewing deprivation as a phenomenon affecting a state or a region in its entirety: ‘forward’ states have deprived districts while ‘backward’ states have districts that are not deprived. Consistent with the United Nations’ Human Development Index, the paper examines deprivation from a broader perspective than that of simply income. More specifi cally, it looks at six indicators of district-level deprivation: the poverty rate; the food scarcity rate; the (gender-sensitive) literacy rate; the infant mortality rate; the immunisation rate; and the sex ratio for 0–6 year olds. The central conclusion that emerges from this study is that different districts were ‘most backward’ on different metrics. Districts in Orissa were the poorest; districts in Arunchal Pradesh had the highest rates of food scarcity; districts in Bihar and Jharkhand had the lowest rates of literacy; tribal districts in the North-East, along with districts in Bihar and Jharkhand, had the lowest rates of immunisation; districts in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh had the highest rates of infant mortality; and districts in Punjab and Haryana had the lowest (0–6 years) sex ratios.India; Districts; Backwardness

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Citations

  1. 42.2 HCR: Head Count Ratio, % of population below the poverty line 3
  2. Assam Barpeta 9.4 HNG: Percentage of households that did not have enough food for all its members 4
  3. (1997). Concepts of Human Development and Poverty: A Multidimensional Perspective, Human Development Report
  4. IMM: percentage of 0-6 year olds who are completely immunised 8
  5. Jalpaiguri 164 Score: weighted average of six component scores, equal weights 14 Table 7 (continued)
  6. Jalpaiguri 49.1 HCR: Head Count Ratio, % of population below the poverty line 2
  7. Kashmir Anantnag 40.7 44.1 GSLTR: Gender Sensitive Literacy Rate LTR:
  8. Madhepura 130 Score: weighted average of six component scores, equal weights 15
  9. Nawada 29.6 IMM: percentage of 0-6 year olds who are completely immunised 9
  10. Orissa Bargarh 139 Score: weighted average of five component scores, unequal weights 17 Table 9 100 Most Backward Districts by State / Union Territory State Number of Backward Districts by:
  11. Rajasthan Chittaurgarh 48.6 54.4 GSLTR: Gender Sensitive Literacy Rate LTR:
  12. South Twentyfour Parganas 194 Score: weighted average of five component scores, unequal weights 16
  13. Uttar Pradesh Etawah 97 IMR: Deaths per 1,000 live births 10 Table 5 (continued)
  14. Uttar Pradesh Kanpur Dehat 5.2 HNG: Percentage of households that did not have enough food for all its members

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