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670 million in rural areas live on Rs.33 per day: SECC

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New Delhi: Seventy-five per cent of rural households in India have a monthly income of less than Rs.5,000 ($79), 51 per cent of households make a living from manual labour, 28 per cent (over 50 million) of households do not have mobile phones or any form of communication.

More than 70 million rural households face some form of exclusion, either from assets or socio-economic benefits, according to data released by the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) survey last week. As many as 833 million Indians, or 69 per cent of the population, live in rural areas.

The SECC report comes at a time when global credit rating agencies such as Moody’s have warned that slow growth in rural India may cripple the overall economy. Rating agencies have laid stress on speeding rural reforms.

Rural Poor and Sources of Income

More than half of rural households depend on manual labour for livelihood, and 75 per cent of the rural population, or 133.5 million families, earn less than Rs.5,000 per month.

“A preliminary analysis reveals a grim picture of rural areas with three in four rural households earning less than Rs.5,000 per month and almost 90 per cent of households have incomes of less than Rs.10,000 per month,” Himanshu (he uses only one name), an agricultural economist with Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University wrote in Mint, citing the findings of the Arjun Sengupta committee (2007), which identified 77 per cent of India’s population as poor.

“Overlooked by the media, these numbers are very close to the estimates of poor and vulnerable derived from other estimates based on the consumption surveys of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). Rs.5,000 per month per household with an average household size of five would also mean an income of Rs.33 per person per day in the rural areas,” wrote Himanshu.

Although it is not meant to be a comparison of poverty estimates, the SECC data reveals that about 670 million Indians in rural areas alone live on Rs.33 per day (75 percent of rural households is around 134,373,569 households; five members per household gives us a total of 671,867,845 people).

rural kutcha village

Poor housing quality

A little less than half of the houses in rural India are kuccha (not solid).

Having a pucca (permanent) house is an indicator of a higher standard of living.

Poverty and a low standard of living are reflected in asset ownership.  While 71 percent of village households have mobile phones, refrigerators and motor vehicles are not very common in rural households.

Education Levels

IndiaSpend recently reported how rural India has more illiterate people than the population of Indonesia. With 74 percent of families living on less than Rs.5,000 a month, this will not change immediately, which in turn will keep economic standards depressed.

Projects such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) and Swachh Bharat Mission are the major schemes for rural development in India.

Rural India continues to be trapped in a vicious circle of poverty.  A clue to the first step to break out of that cycle comes from what is called the graduation model, a global experiment that could become an anti-poverty guide for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

(IANS/IndiaSpend)

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Top 5 IAS Officers Who Acted As The ‘Steel Frame’ Of Bureaucracy

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Indian Administrative Service is the steel frame of bureaucracy. Wikimedia Commons
Indian Administrative Service is the steel frame of bureaucracy. Wikimedia Commons

BY SHANTAM SAHAI

Indian Administrative Service (IAS), as described by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is the steel frame upon which the bureaucracy rests. No matter how many times the government changes, if we have good IAS officers, they would ensure good governance. Since the decades that have passed after Independence, doubts over the competence of the Indian Administrative Service have been raised. People wished to know if the steel frame is still strong, or has it became rusty and weak?

The answer lies in these dynamic and dedicated IAS officers who are doing wonders in their districts through fresh ideas. They are actually changing the country for the better!

ALSO READ: Woman IAS officer Gauri Parashar Joshi saved Panchkula when Local Police Ran Away

1. Rohini R. Bhajibhakare

Rohini  Bhajibhakare is the daughter of a marginal farmer who became the first woman collector in Tamil Nadu in 1790. She is known for her people-centric governance.
  • She conducts surprise checks in government hospitals.
  • Keeps in touch with officials through WhatsApp.
  • Also, gives pep talks to school students.
  • Even visits the rural areas to directly listen to grievances of the people.
  • Banned the use of plastic or polythene articles on the Collectorate campus.

She has recently been appointed the collector of Salem district.

Salem District Collectorate. Wikimedia Commons
Salem District Collectorate. Wikimedia Commons

2. Ronald Rose

A 2006 batch IAS officer of the Telangana cadre, Ronald had single-handedly ensured the effective implementation of government initiatives in the district and taken it to the forefront of the rural development in the state. He is a man who is driving an amazing transformation of Mahbubnagar district of Telangana.

  • Villages have become free of open defecation.
  • Farmers use organic methods.
  • Soak pits have been successfully dug in the houses.
  • Haritha Haaram programme, a large-scale tree-planting campaign has also been successful.

Ronald Rose is also the brain behind Divyang Solar Society.

3. Saurabh Kumar

A 2009-batch IAS officer of Chhattisgarh cadre, Saurabh Kumar converted a Naxal-hit Palnar village to a cashless village post demonetisation, despite the village had no cellular connectivity.

Lunch with the Collector

Kumar understands how lack of education and unemployment could lead the youth towards violence and extremism. Hence, he introduced counselling sessions to help students make the right career choice. These sessions involve Saurabh and other senior officials directly interacting with the students.

Through this thoughtful initiative, he has earned the respect of the locals of Dantewada.

4. Prasanth Nair

A 2007 batch IAS officer of Kerala cadre, Prasanth Nair is affectionately called ‘Collector Bro’. He is popular for the initiatives he kickstarted as the collector of Kozhikode.

  • Operation Sulaimani: It is a decentralized participatory project to address the issue of hunger in urban areas.
  • Tere Mere Beach Mein: It is a project to tackle waste management at Kozhikode Beach.
  • Yo Appooppa: It is an attempt to improve the quality of life of the elderly.

Nair also once offered a free plate of Malabar biryani to each individual who volunteers to clean a 14-acre pond. The idea, unsurprisingly, worked.

ALSO READ: The world of Civil Services Aspirants – Coaching Institutes

5. PS Pradyumna

PS Pradyumna is a man on a mission. His well-planned and inclusive initiatives have breathed new life into the development of the Andhra Pradesh district.

  • Palle Vanam: It is a rural afforestation programme that will create natural green spots with benches and walking tracks for villagers.
  • Nirbhaya Patrolling: it is a programme in which women cops on electric bicycles keep an eagle eye on zones covering educational institutions, bus stops and areas vulnerable to sexual harassment.
  • Construction of one lakh individual toilets (under the Palle Nidra programme)
  • Water conservation in drought-prone areas (under the Handri-Neeva project)

He has also established affordable selling centres for providing the agriculture equipment to farmers.