Poverty in rural Orissa has regional, social dimension: Study

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Bhubaneswar, Oct 30 (UNI) The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Orissa together constitute only 46.2 per cent of the rural population but account for almost 62.3 per cent of the rural poor.

Poverty level among the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the state is much higher, so also their share in the rural poor, a study conducted by the Institute of Human Development (IHD) said.

As per the study, the scheduled tribes constituted 28 per cent of the rural population but more than 43 per cent of the rural poor.

Similarly, the scheduled castes' share in the rural poor stood at 19 per cent against 18.2 per cent share in the rural population.

The incidence of poverty among the scheduled tribes in rural Orissa is 78 per cent while the poverty among the scheduled castes is close to 50 per cent.

The study revealed that the poverty in rural Orissa has both regional and social dimensions. Poverty is found to be highest in the southern region (73 per cent) followed by 59 per cent in the northern region while it is lowest in the coastal region, accounting for only 27 per cent of the population.

In the southern region, the STs suffered disproportionately from poverty with 83 per cent of them living below the poverty line. The OBCs and others also had relatively high incidence of poverty in the southern region at 64.7 and 44.1 per cent respectively, the study pointed out.

The eastern region, along with the northern plateau, is marked by an extremely high proportion of tribal population. In fact some of the districts like Malkangiri and Rayagada are considered as the most tribal-dominated districts in the country with more than 70 per cent of the total rural population being tribals.

Out of 30 districts, the tribal population constitutes one-third of the rural population in as many as 15 districts in the state.

The study further said the tribal population in these areas not only suffered from food insecurity but high incidence of cholera and gastroenteritis was also found.

Such diseases are attributed mostly to unemployment, lack of health care services and basic amenities.

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