Assessment of child poverty in rural farm households of Garo hills, Meghalaya

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College of Post Graduate Studies in Agricultural Sciences, Central Agricultural University , Imphal
Poverty is a multidimensional concept and affects social groups differently of which children are most vulnerable. Many studies have shown that undernourished,uneducated poor children are likely to become undernourished, uneducated poor adults.Since,the common aim of rural extension programmes is the improvement of the lives of the ruralpeople, understanding the situation of the children of the rural farm households is an importantpart of extension. The study was conducted in Garo Hills region of Meghalaya with theobjectives to study the profile of children living in the poor rural farm households and to find outthe dimensions of poverty among those children. From three villages of Tura and Ampati subdivision,60 households were randomly selected. Depending on the number of children of theselected age range of 5-14 years in a household, either one or two children from eachhousehold was selected for the study, a total 80 children selected as respondents of the study.Majority of the children (86.25 %) had their parents as the primary care giverthe number ofsiblings of the selected children ranged from 2-6. Average family size was 6.66 persons with arange of 4-9 members. 88.33 percent of the children lived in nuclear families with both parents.The literacy rate of the mothers was 83.37 per cent and that of fathers was 85.00 per cent. Themean annual household income of the sampled households was ₹. 44,850. Majority of thehouseholds (75.00%) had marginal land holding of up to 1.0 hectare. Highest deprivation ratewas recorded in the indicators safe drinking water (87.50%), cooking fuel (81.80%), housing(71.25%) and access to information (41.25%) respectively. If seen dimension wise, deprivationwas highest in living standard (90.0%) followed by health (71.25%) and nutrition (60.00%).Average deprivation score of the children was 0.34 with a range of 0.03 to 0.79. 77.50 per centof the children were multidimensionally poor of which 18.75 percent were classified to beseverely poor. It was found that parents’ education, parents’ age, family income, land holdingand livelihood diversification were found be important determinants of child deprivation. Theoverall C-MPI (Child Multidimensional Poverty Index) of the study area was 34.00 per cent.Interventions by development agencies in order to aware and educate the parents regardingpoverty alleviation and livelihood linked programmes as well as provide basic amenities for agood living condition of the rural households is recommended.