The qual­ity of Life of Ru­ral House­holds in Soni­pat District Haryana: A Vil­lage Level Study

Economic Challenger - - CONTENTS - - Lalit Sharma, San­deep Ku­mar & Seema Sharma


Wel­fare and well­be­ing of the peo­ple has been the main con­cern of ev­ery coun­try in the world. Un­til last few decades, it was be­lieved that the con­di­tion of the peo­ple can be im­proved with the help of eco­nomic growth. Eco­nomic growth was de­fined as sus­tained in­crease in the amount of goods and ser­vices per head of the pop­u­la­tion. But, soon it was re­al­ized that a mere in­crease in out­put per capita may not lead to sub­stan­tial im­prove­ment in liv­ing stan­dard or well-be­ing of the peo­ple. At the most it may be nec­es­sary but not suf­fi­cient for bet­ter life of the peo­ple be­cause per capita out­put can in­crease in a sus­tained man­ner with­out im­prov­ing the ma­te­rial wel­fare of the peo­ple with low­est in­come, erad­i­cat­ing the mass poverty, re­duc­ing il­lit­er­acy, elim­i­nat­ing disease, re­duc­ing in­equal­i­ties and poor nour­ish­ment.

The con­cept of eco­nomic devel­op­ment that im­plies pro­gres­sive changes in the qual­ity of life of a coun­try or so­ci­ety in terms of re­duc­ing in­equal­ity, re­mov­ing poverty, elim­i­na­tion of mal­nu­tri­tion, disease, il­lit­er­acy and un­em­ploy­ment, has been ac­cepted as an ap­pro­pri­ate ob­jec­tive to as­pire for. Government of In­dia, on its part has been float­ing and im­ple­ment­ing a num­ber of spe­cial schemes to im­prove the lot of its ci­ti­zens. But de­spite numer­ous wel­fare pro­grammes and two decades of eco­nomic re­forms and fairly high eco­nomic growth rate for sev­eral years, there does not seem to be sub­stan­tial im­prove­ment in the so­cio-eco­nomic con­di­tions of the low­est strata of our pop­u­la­tion.

The term 'Qual­ity of Life' is of­ten dis­cussed in broad terms as sat­is­fac­tion of needs, feel­ings of well-be­ing, good or bad work­ing con­di­tions, and other in­di­ca­tors. Such a con­cep­tu­al­i­sa­tion of Qual­ity of Life (QOL) en­com­passes all the ma­te­rial as­pects of hu­man life, and may ex­tend be­yond, to cover the phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal di­men­sions. Qual­ity of Life cov­ers di­verse and in­nu­mer­able hu­man needs. Hu­man needs at the ele­men­tary level may in­clude es­sen­tials of sur­vival like drink­ing water, per­pet­u­a­tion needs, shel­ter and warmth. How­ever, con­sid­er­a­tion of ba­sic needs can­not stop at the level of mere sur­vival; it has to tran­scend sur­vival due to the spe­cial at­tributes and char­ac­ter­is­tics of hu­man be­ings and so­cial and psy­cho­log­i­cal urges and de­mands (Beck and Mishra, 2010).­jss/v2-340-349.pdf

Haryana is pre­dom­i­nantly a ru­ral state of In­dia. Soni­pat district is one of the 21 dis­tricts of Haryana State. The to­tal pop­u­la­tion is about 13 lakh. The ru­ral pop­u­la­tion is about 75 per cent and the rest 25 per cent is ur­ban pop­u­la­tion. In the to­tal pop­u­la­tion, male con­sti­tute 54 per cent and fe­male 46 per cent. Av­er­age house­hold size in Soni­pat district is about 6 per­sons per house­hold.

Soni­pat district con­sists of 336 vil­lages and 4 towns. The to­tal pop­u­la­tion of sched­uled cast in Soni­pat district is about 18 per cent. About 78 per­cent peo­ple of this district re­side in ru­ral area, while about 22 per cent live in ur­ban area. Soni­pat has an av­er­age lit­er­acy rate of 72 per cent, which is higher than the na­tional av­er­age of 59.5 per cent. How­ever, the male

and fe­male lit­er­acy rates are about 77 per cent and 66 per cent re­spec­tively.

A sys­tem­atic ap­proach is used to il­lus­trate the dy­namic state of the so­cio-eco­nomic qual­ity of life. The di­men­sions of life to be ex­am­ined in­clude; males, fe­males, chil­dren, in­come, ex­pen­di­ture ,own­er­ship of as­sets, source of as­sets, pur­pose of loan, source of loan, types of work, and type of fu­els used. With this back­drop the present sur­vey on So­cio-eco­log­i­cal study on the ru­ral house­holds in Soni­pat district in Haryana, was car­ried out dur­ing 2010-11 to ob­serve the Qual­ity of life led by th­ese groups of ru­ral pop­u­la­tion. So, it was de­cided to look com­pre­hen­sively into the so­cio- eco­nomic con­di­tions at much smaller level of a vil­lage sit­u­ated in Soni­pat District in Haryana.


The main ob­jec­tive of the study is: To an­a­lyse the so­cio-eco­nomic con­di­tions of ru­ral house­holds in terms of their in­come and its distri­bu­tion, source and na­ture of loans, clean­li­ness, caste distri­bu­tion, own­er­ship and sources of as­sets, type and fuel us­age and em­pow­er­ment of women.


Sur­vey Sched­ule and Data Col­lec­tion This study is based pri­mar­ily on a pri­mary sur­vey of the vil­lage Shahzad­pur in Soni­pat district of Haryana state. The vil­lage has been se­lected based on con­ve­nience of the in­ves­ti­ga­tor. Keep­ing all th­ese fac­tors in mind, it was de­cided to study the ru­ral house­holds us­ing com­plete enu­mer­a­tion method. Thus, this study is based on cen­sus of house­holds based on a struc­tured sched­ule con­sist­ing of 20 ques­tions. The sched­ule con­sists of closeended as well open-ended ques­tions.

Tech­niques of Anal­y­sis

Sim­ple tech­niques are adopted for an­a­lyz­ing the data col­lected through the sched­ules. For analysing the data sim­ple mea­sure of per­cent­ages has been used.

Data Anal­y­sis Sec­tion-I

The sec­tion I ex­plains the distri­bu­tion of house­holds ac­cord­ing to their var­i­ous at­tributes such as by males, fe­males, chil­dren, in­come, ex­pen­di­ture, own­er­ship of as­sets, source of as­sets, pur­pose of loan, source of loan, types of work, and type of fu­els used.

The av­er­age num­ber of males in the fam­ily is 3 while av­er­age num­ber of fe­males per fam­ily is about 2. This shows that the sex ra­tio is ad­verse in the Shahzad­pur vil­lage. The av­er­age num­ber of chil­dren per fam­ily is about 3.

The in­for­ma­tion about in­come and ex­pen­di­ture of 499 house­holds that was ob­tained through the pri­mary sur­vey is grouped and pre­sented in the form of a uni­vari­ate fre­quency distri­bu­tion ta­ble. The three class in­ter­vals of in­come and ex­pen­di­ture and cor­re­spond­ing num­ber of house­holds along with their per­cent­ages are shown in the ta­ble-1, which shows that 45 per­cent house­holds earn up to five thou­sand ru­pees per month while about 55 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion earn more than ten thou­sand ru­pees per month. Re­gard­ing ex­pen­di­ture, it is seen that a ma­jor­ity ( 57 per­cent) house­holds spend upto to five thou­sand ru­pees per month and the rest, 43 per­cent, spend more than ru­pees five thou­sand per month. As­sum­ing that in­come and ex­pen­di­ture are uni­formly dis­trib­uted within the class in­ter­vals and com­put­ing the to­tal in­come and ex­pen­di­ture on the ba­sis of lower limit of the third class in­ter­val, it can be seen that in­come and ex­pen­di­ture are un­equally dis­trib­uted in the

vil­lage. It is found that in case of in­come, lower 68 per­cent of house­holds have 47 per­cent of to­tal in­come while up­per 32 per­cent house­holds have 53 of the to­tal in­come. Sim­i­larly, fol­low­ing the same pro­ce­dure, it is found that about 79 per­cent of house­holds in­cur 60 per­cent of to­tal ex­pen­di­ture and re­main­ing 21 per­cent who ex­pended more than 10,000 ru­pees per month in­cur 40 per­cent of to­tal ex­pen­di­ture. This shows that in­come and ex­pen­di­ture are not dis­trib­uted uni­formly among the house­holds of the vil­lage.

The in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the own­er­ship of as­sets by the house­holds is given in ta­ble 2.The ta­ble re­veals that 154 house­holds (31 per­cent) own one or more of ve­hi­cles like mo­tor cy­cle or scooter or a car. The sec­ond largest group of house­holds (29%) owns one or more of the as­sets like tele­vi­sion, cooler or fan. About six per­cent house­holds do not pos­sess any of the above as­sets while about 14 per­cent house­holds have pur­chased agri­cul­tural im­ple­ments like trac­tors/ com­bined har­vesters etc.

The distri­bu­tion of house­holds ac­cord­ing to the source of the as­sets is shown in Ta­ble 3. A ma­jor­ity of house­holds (60%) say that they ac­quired the as­sets from their own earn­ings and sav­ings while an­other big num­ber of house­holds(25%) say that their as­sets have been pur­chased with dowry money or have been given in the form of gift by par­ents of the girl. This is true that, on the oc­ca­sion of mar­riage of their son, al­most ev­ery house­hold is given a num­ber of as­sets like TV, cooler, freezes, mo­tor cy­cle or even car and some fur­ni­ture in dowry. Nine per­cent house­holds source their as­sets through gifts and by other means. The other means in­clude the as­sets left be­hind by their an­ces­tors af­ter death or the ar­ti­cles which they got in the form of share in the com­mon prop­erty at the time of par­ti­tion of their joint fam­ily.

In or­der to know about the ex­tent of in­debt­ed­ness of ru­ral house­holds, ques­tions were asked whether they have taken any loan and if yes, then what are the sources. The re­sponses are grouped and the distri­bu­tion of house­holds by source of loan is pre­sented in ta­ble 4. It is ev­i­dent from the ta­ble that of the 499 house­holds only 150 (30%) house­holds could be in­ter­viewed as the re­main­ing (about 70 per­cent) house­holds were ei­ther re­luc­tant to speak or re­fused to co­op­er­ate in this con­nec­tion. Of the 150 house­holds, 32 house­holds (21%) took loan from money lender and 36 house­holds ( 24%) took loan from com­mer­cial and co­op­er­a­tive banks, while 10 per­cent house­holds sourced the loan from their rel­a­tives. On ques­tion­ing re­peat­edly about their de­ci­sion to take loan from money lender, the house­holds came for­ward to tell the in­ter­viewer that though the loan from money lender is costlier but the terms and con­di­tions are flex­i­ble and has­sle free. They ex­plained that loan from money lender could be ar­ranged as many times as they wished and as much as they needed with­out much ef­fort. The money lender also al­lows to post­pone or de­lay the re­pay­ment of loan by a few days.

The house­hold re­sponses about the pur­pose of loan are grouped and pre­sented in the ta­ble 5. Of the 150 house­holds who re­sponded, 35 per­cent did not take any loan and the rest, 65 per­cent, took loan for one or more of the pur­poses such as agri­cul­ture, pro­fes­sional, con­sump­tion, mar­riage or un­spec­i­fied. The ta­ble shows that about 26 per­cent of house­holds de­cided to take loan for con­sump­tion pur­poses. Only about 19 per­cent house­holds take loan for agri­cul­ture and pro­fes­sional pur­poses, which can be called pro­duc­tive. An­other 16 per­cent take loan for mar­riage pur­poses. There­fore, the to­tal house­hold who take loans, for the pur­pose, which can­not be called pro­duc­tive, is about 42 per­cent. Only 19 per­cent house­holds take loan for pro­duc­tive pur­poses.

Oc­cu­pa­tional distri­bu­tion of the re­spon­dent house­holds is pre­sented in ta­ble 6. It is seen from the ta­ble that only 36 per­cent of the house­holds have one or more mem­bers in the job be it a government or a pri­vate job. Eigh­teen per­cent house­holds are en­gaged in agri­cul­ture only and do no other work. Thirty seven per­cent house­holds were not able to men­tion any def­i­nite reg­u­lar work. They are mostly agri­cul­tural la­bor­ers, small shop own­ers or daily wage earn­ers. Eight per­cent house­holds had no work to do. On en­quir­ing about th­ese eight per­cent house­holds from other sources and from neigh­bors the in­ves­ti­ga­tor came to know that, in cases of joint fam­i­lies, the old per­sons were claimed to have sep­a­rated from the fam­ily and they now con­sti­tuted a sep­a­rate fam­ily, though they con­tin­ued to feed and look af­ter them in­ter­nally. They re­sort to this type of prac­tices to take ad­van­tage of Be­low Poverty Level (BPL) pro­vi­sions.

There was a time when cook­ing was done with the help of dung-cake, wood fire or coal al­most uni­ver­sally in the ru­ral Haryana. But a lot of change has taken place in the pat­tern of fuel us­age in the last few decades. The ta­ble 7 presents the dif­fer­ent types of fuel and the cor­re­spond­ing house­hold num­bers based on the re­sponses ob­tained dur­ing in­ter­view­ing the 499 house­holds of Sah­jad­pur vil­lage. The ta­ble shows that a ma­jor­ity of house­holds 273 (55%) are still us­ing the tra­di­tional fu­els i.e., Dung-cake, coal and wood fire for the pur­pose of cook­ing and for other domestic use. Sec­ond largest group of house­holds ( 39%) use liqui­fied pe­tro­leum gas (LPG) and only seven per­cent use kerosene. On fur­ther en­quiry, some re­spon­dents dis­closed that most house­holds used a mix­ture of fu­els. For ex­am­ple, for boil­ing water etc the tra­di­tional fuel is used and for pre­par­ing cha­p­atis and for boil­ing milk LPG is made use of.


The study is an anal­y­sis of so­cio-eco­nomic con­di­tions based on a pri­mary sur­vey through com­plete enu­mer­a­tion of 499 house­holds of vil­lage Sahzad­pur in district Sonepat, Haryana. The anal­y­sis re­veals that about 68 per­cent of house­holds earn about 47 per­cent of to­tal in­come while up­per 32 per­cent house­holds earn about 53 per­cent of to­tal in­come. Re­gard­ing the own­er­ship of as­sets by the house­holds, it is seen that about 31 per­cent house­holds own one or more ve­hi­cles like mo­tor cy­cles, scoot­ers or cars. 29 per­cent have as­sets like tele­vi­sion, cooler or fan while 14 per­cent house­holds have pur­chased agri­cul­tural im­ple­ments like trac­tor or com­bined har­vester. As far as the sources of as­sets are con­cerned, 60 per­cent house­holds say that they have pur­chased their as­sets from their own sav­ings. About 40 per­cent house­holds say that they have ac­quired their as­sets through dowry, gifts or by other means. The anal­y­sis shows that 35 per­cent house­holds do not take any loans while the rest about 65 per­cent take loans from dif­fer­ent sources such as com­mer­cial banks, co­op­er­a­tive banks, money­len­ders, or rel­a­tives etc. The distri­bu­tion of house­holds by pur­pose of loan shows that the 65 per­cent house­holds who took loan, only 19 per­cent took loans for pro­duc­tive pur­poses while the rest took loan for non pro­duc­tive pur­poses such as con­sump­tion and mar­riage etc. Re­gard­ing the distri­bu­tion of house­holds by type of work, it is found that 36 per­cent peo­ple are en­gaged in government or pri­vate jobs. Rest are ei­ther do­ing agri­cul­ture or work­ing as la­bor­ers. The anal­y­sis also shows that about 46 per­cent house­holds use LPG or kerosene as fuel for cook­ing pur­poses while the rest 55 per­cent still de­pend on dung-cake or coal for cook­ing food.


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