Academic journal article Researchers World

Economic Structure of Drought Prone Regions of India

Academic journal article Researchers World

Economic Structure of Drought Prone Regions of India

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION:

Drought is a natural disaster that is often referred to as creeping phenomenon and its impact spreads over many sectors of economy and society. These impacts are extensive in spatial extent and are complex to estimate. Drought produces both direct and indirect impacts. Direct impacts are usually physical, e.g. depletion of water resource, loss in agriculture production, higher livestock and wildlife mortality and wild fires. When the direct impacts are multiplied over region and societies they are referred to as indirect impacts, for example loss of agriculture production further causes reduced income for farmers, malnutrition, unemployment, migration and poverty etc. The impacts of drought are more complex in contemporary scenario because more economic sectors (for example, agriculture, industry, energy, tourism, transportation etc.) are affected by it.

There is huge contrast in economic conditions, levels of development and poverty across regions and within societies. The variability in physical and ecological settings causes differences in socio- economic conditions and levels of development across drought prone regions of India. A developed society is the one in which all sections of population get sufficient opportunities to attain sources of income, production assets and have enough access to amenities such as education, information, health and nutrition. These factors play important role in making human beings to realize their development potential through individual and collective efforts (Rao, 1981). In this context, the drought prone regions are often characterised as developmental handicap, where the prevailing conditions restrict growth and development of economy in particular and of society as a whole.

Poverty with its impact on rural economy continues to be the major challenge in drought prone regions. The persistence of poverty in these areas has been attributed both to the failure of the various policy interventions and to the inability of local natural resource base to provide sufficient livelihood opportunities because of depletion and degradation (Shylendra and Rani, 2004). Although, there have been policy interventions but people have been largely adopting various coping strategies on their own to overcome from hardships caused by recurring droughts. The coping strategies are defined as responses of an individual, group or society to challenging situation taking place within existing structures such as production systems (Erikson et.al., 2005; Ikaria, 2007). The coping strategies are not equally important in all regions - some are principal ones that could be observed across all regions and others are unique to regional specificities, varying from tendency to overuse the already degraded common property resources (Jodha, 1990) to diversification of agriculture and diversification of occupations, including search of alternative source of income through migration.

Rural livelihood diversification is defined as the process by which rural households construct a diverse portfolio of activities and assets in order to survive and to improve their standard of living (Ellis, 2000). Diversification of occupation in rural economy has been the most dominant survival strategy for people residing in drought- prone areas. The process of diversification and changing rural occupational structure in the developing countries has been viewed in the literature broadly from two perspectives. First is the 'developmental perspective', which states that diversification is positive, with economic growth, modernisation of agriculture, infrastructural developments etc. There are alternatives available to people for work and it leads to diversification of occupations. The second view is the 'deterioration trajectory' that is caused by unfavourable growth and prosperity, for example, depletion of natural resources, agricultural stagnation and population growth (Koppel et. al., 1994; Unni, 1996). In droughtprone region, occupational diversification of household economy between agriculture and non- agricultural sources of income can spread the risk of drought to some extent, provided that different sources of income are not derived ultimately from same source i. …

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