Institute for Social and Economic Change
Working Paper: 326
Neighbourhood Development and Caste Distribution
in Rural India
An overwhelming majority (above two-third) of India’s population particularly those resident in villages have not performed adequately to move up the ladder of human development Indicators. However, many villages in rural India are better developed while others lag behind in terms of development indicators. Infrastructural development of a village or community has a direct bearing on its degree of human development. In the context, the study tries to examine the level of neighbourhood development and their linkages with caste group disparity in rural India using IHDS: 2004-05 data. Based on selected infrastructural indicators such as communication & services, educational and health institutions, level of neighbourhood development is measured taking village as a unit of analysis. Further, employing factor analysis techniques, composite index of neighbourhood development is constructed. Results of the study reveal that 27 percent villages or neighbourhoods are highly developed, 52 percent moderately and rest are poorly developed. Considering different components, respectively 27 percent, 19 percent and 31 percent villages have been found highly developed on communication & services, education and health institutions. Caste group domination shows that a higher proportion of ST followed by SC people live in poorly developed neighbourhoods as against a higher proportion of Others caste group people who live in highly developed neighbourhoods; and same has been the case for educational institutions but not so for health institutions. Around half of the rural population is concentrated in moderately developed villages. Study provides insights on why poor people are performing inadequately on human development indices. The Study supports the view that poor infrastructural development and lack of opportunity lead to inequality of outcomes in terms of human development. Hence, the prime focus of micro level planning and policy formulation centred on rural India should be concerned with neighbourhoods where concentration of poor people is more. It will help to stimulate the growth and development of neighbourhoods as well as the people living there to contribute to the nation as a whole.