The Status of Rural Infrastructure: A District Level Study of Maharashtra
Keywords:Rural Infrastructure, Rural Development Infrastructure Index, Maharashtra.
Infrastructure is vital for economic growth, industrial development, human development, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article constructs a very compressive Rural Development Infrastructure Index covering three dimensions - physical, social, and institutional, using 28 indicators and identifies infrastructure disparities in rural areas across thirty-three districts and eight agricultural divisions of Maharashtra. The results indicate the enormous disparities among districts and divisions in the State. Districts like Sindhudurg, Kolhapur, Satara, Pune and Sangli perform very well. On the other hand, most of the laggard districts are in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. The disparities are very high among districts within the physical infrastructure compared to social and institutional dimensions. Given the uneven infrastructure development in the State, the authorities need to undertake an infrastructure development programme to reduce infrastructure gaps among districts and regions. Indicators like irrigation facilities, all-weather rural roads and marketing facilities should be emphasised more, particularly in laggard districts such as Osmanabad, Beed, Hingoli, and Parbhani of Marathwada region, and Akola, Yavatmal, and Parbhani of the Vidarbha region.
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