ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Multidimensional Deprivation Index and Spatial Clustering

Using a village-level data set, we create an index of multidimensional deprivation for basic amenities available in villages for various states of India and compare the performance of Maharashtra relative to other states. Surprisingly, rural Maharashtra lags behind even the supposedly underdeveloped states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Our index correlates well with numerous development indicators, including newly-born underweight children, per capita consumption, employment, and luminosity of night lights. The paper argues for using the multidimensional deprivation index as a metric for local and regional planning to bring about more equitable public provisioning in basic amenities within the country.


The views in the paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the institution to which they belong.

Entitlement theory has been one of the important lenses for understanding the status of rural deprivation. The economic and social benefits received by a person can change their exchange entitlement (Sen 1981), thus increasing the likelihood of their mobility out of poverty. The relationship between public provisioning and the status of deprivation is well-established (Drèze and Sen 1990), where most of the intra-state regional development disparity can be attributed to the lack or inadequate provisioning of government entitlements.

In Maharashtra, the problem of regional disparities has been persistent and has attracted a great deal of public attention. At various stages, the state government responded by appointing expert committees and enacting legislation specifically directed at the problem of regional imbalances. These committees focused on different dimensions of the problem, from developing a formula for financial allocation to laying down policy templates to encourage growth in the lagging regions while others have concentrated on documenting regional socio-economic and human development-related disparities (Government of Maharashtra 1984, 2013; Kamdar 2009; Hatekar and Raju 2013; Gaikwad et al 2022; Malu 2022; Prabhu and Sarkar 1992). Almost without exception, studies have focused on using the district as a unit of analysis and used data across several sources on different indicators to conceptualise regional backwardness.

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Updated On : 23rd Jan, 2024
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