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Rural-urban disparity declining in State: study

Special Correspondent


‘Gender discrimination in education is prominent in the State'


Bangalore: A rural-urban disparity is declining in Karnataka in terms of access to potable water source, educational attainment, and access to electricity services.

Policy-makers and administrators need to focus on the poor in both urban and rural areas of the State rather than merely seeing the disparity, which is clearly on the decline, according to a study.

“The households residing in villages closer to town were better off in terms of income, access to drinking water and electricity”, says the just released comprehensive study on “Rural-Urban Disparity in Karnataka”, authored by D. Rajasekhar, professor, Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore, Gagan Bihari Sahu, Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Studies, Surat, and K.H. Anantha, Ph.D. scholar at ISEC.

“Further, the incomes of better-off in rural areas were higher than those obtained by some of the urban dwellers, namely, unskilled workers.

“In the long-run, it may be better to focus on the poor in both the areas rather than keeping rural-urban disparity in terms of policy-making,” it pointed out.

In 263-page study, the researchers collected data from a large sample of 900 households from three agro-climatically different districts of Dakshina Kannada, Mysore and Gulbarga which were selected on the basis of level of development.

In a significant finding, the researchers reported that the growth of rural population was comparatively high in the districts having a strong agricultural base.

“…. Policy measures (in rural areas) should emphasise on the development of subsidiary activities and non-farm employment opportunities as well as creation of other income generating activities, which are less dependent on land,” Dr. Rajasekhar said.

It was found that in general there has been a decline in the rural-urban disparity, although town areas were still better-off.

Mr. Anantha said: “in the case of access to potable water source, there was substantial improvement in rural areas leading to reduction in rural-urban disparity.

“In the case of educational attainment also, there was a decline in rural-urban disparity”.

There was a substantial improvement in the proportion of rural households having access to electricity services.

It was revealed that for every 6.37 number of children aged between seven and 11, there is one illiterate child in rural area compared to one out of 62.5 number of children in urban area.

“Gender discrimination in education is very much prominent in the State, and particularly in rural area. Hence, girl students should get special incentives to improve their educational status,” Dr. Sahu said.

The research study was supported by the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Rural Development.

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