January 26, 2003

2003: Highlight # 10

Shah and Singh analyze taluka-level data from across Gujarat to understand the impact of irrigation on rural poverty...

Can Irrigation Eradicate Rural Poverty in Gujarat?

Tushaar Shah and O.P. Singh

There is a renewed interest in understanding whether investing in irrigation development has helped reduce rural poverty. Evidence from rural Gujarat seems to suggest that access to irrigation is a sufficient condition for poverty reduction though not a necessary one.

Investing in primary schooling infrastructure and enhancing gross agricultural output/rural person (gross FIRP) seem to offer the best bet for poverty reduction. FIRP is overwhelmingly influenced by land/man ratio and land use intensity; land use intensity, in turn is hugely influenced by irrigation density.

When it comes to spatial distribution of gains from irrigation, canal systems imply 'all for some', where as well irrigation means 'some for all'.

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