Spatial interlinkages of poverty determinants and social space of poverty in Hooghly District of West Bengal: a geographical perspective
Abstract: Poverty is generally regarded as an acute and multi-dimensional deprivation. As poverty is a complex phenomenon with multiple dimensions, no unique homogeneous criterion can be used for its measurement. Researchers and policy makers, therefore, try to collect or construct geographically disaggregated indicators that provide information about the spatial distribution of inequality and poverty within a country. The present paper tries to explore and analyze spatial interlinkages of poverty in Hooghly district with the help of Twelve indicators such as distribution of SC (Schedule Caste) and ST (Schedule Tribe) population, literacy rate, gap in male-female literacy, marginal workers, agricultural labourers, availability of drinking water, availability of electricity, latrine facility, access to banking services etc. The entire study is based on the secondary sources of data obtained from District Census Handbook (2011), District Statistical Handbook (2014), District Human Development Report (2011) etc. For measuring spatial intensity of poverty among the rural blocks of Hooghly district various statistical methods like Dimension index (Di), Kendall’s ranking co-efficient method, Composite Index (Ci), Standard Score (Z score) etc. have been used. As the determinants of poverty have its own linkages with evolving nature of society and space, in the second half of the paper, social location and the genesis of poverty in Hooghly district are also examined vividly. The spatial pattern of poverty and its interlinkages with poverty determinants show positive but differential impacts and it is observed that high intensity of poverty persist in three blocks namely Pandua, Goghat-I and Arambagh. The study also reveals that the severity of poverty is mostly concentrated amongst the lower strata of the society i.e. SC (Schedule Caste) and ST (Schedule Tribe) population because they have been deprived of getting different amenities to sustain their life and livelihood.