January 26, 2003

2003: Highlight # 11

Phansalkar dissects the determinants of growth and underdevelopment across the eleven districts of Vidarbha vis-à-vis rest of Maharashtra and India...

Understanding Underdevelopment in Vidarbha

Sanjiv Phansalkar

Comprising of eleven districts in eastern Maharashtra, Vidarbha is significantly underdeveloped compared to the rest of Maharashtra and India. Popular sentiment attributes this underdevelopment to the step-motherly treatment by the state. However, there are significant variations in levels of development within the region itself which cannot be explained by state action alone.

Analysis shows that differential development in Vidarbha is also a function of natural endowments and social ecology. High income areas are the 'mainland areas' with lower tribal population which make more intensive use of their natural endowments.

Dependability of source of irrigation is very critical to income generation; in the absence of that, mere inclusion in a command area means nothing.

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