82% Households in Rural India lack Basic Amenities [Statistics]


In the present day context of a changing economic scenario, increasing population pressure on resources and hence, the livelihood of poor people, has emerged as an important challenge especially in the remote rural areas.

For a government which thrives on the mandate of working for the aam-aadmi; certainly, the statistical figures which say that 82% households in rural India have no access to basic amenities, is a big disappointment.

Indian Households

Moreover, for the Congress-led UPA government serving its second consecutive term in the office, the disappointment is not so much on the misses in policy, but the image it has acquired of a government that has lost momentum and direction in working for the “inclusive” growth of the rural India.

Agreed, that the UPA government had to serve its first term by taking into stride the uncertainties of the coalition politics, but the hurdles that its ally parties created were against the proposed economic reform initiatives and not against development of the common people.

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) study on Housing Conditions and Amenities in India, 2008-09, reveals that just 18% households in rural India have access to basic amenities such as drinking water and electricity. Further, the social groups – STs (75%), SCs (76%) and OBCs (69%) – in rural areas don’t have sanitation facility in their households.

Bathroom facility was not available to nearly 64% of the rural households. In urban areas, only 22% of the households were deprived of bathrooms. Further, nearly 65% rural households had no latrine facility as against 11% for their urban counterparts.

The government survey highlights that only 30% of rural population had access to safe drinking water and 55% depend on tube well or hand pumps to meet their drinking water requirements. In fact, 15% of rural people were still looking for dependable source of water.

The significance of this fact can be further underscored by a recent statement by the Planning Commission head Montek Singh Ahluwalia that water crisis is a more serious issue than energy crisis and that the government is in the process of reviewing its water policy while some of its key elements could be incorporated in the 12th Five Year Plan.

Some important indicators of housing condition at a glance

Indicators rural urban rural+urban
Percentage of households with ‘tap’ as major source of drinking water 30 74 43
Percentage of households with ‘tube well/ hand pump’ as major source of drinking water 55 18 44
Percentage of households who got sufficient drinking water from first major source 86 91 88
Percentage of households who had access to drinking water within premises 41 75 51
Percentage of households with no latrine facility 65 11 49
Percentage of households with electricity for domestic use 66 96 75
Percentage of households who were residing in own dwelling 95 62 85
Percentage of households who were residing in hired dwelling 3 30 11
Percentage of households who lived in pucca structures 55 92 66
Percentage of households who lived in semi-pucca structures 28 6 21
Percentage of households who lived in katcha structures 17 2 13
Per capita floor area (sq. mt.) 8.39 9.45 8.67
Percentage of households with availability of separate room to each married couple 75 76 75
Average monthly rent (Rs.) payable for hired dwelling (excluding employers’ quarter) 560 1149 1045
Percentage of households who undertook residential construction* during last 365 days 12 4 10
Average number of residential constructions* undertaken per reporting household during last 365 days 1.02 1.01 1.02
Average cost (Rs.) per residential construction* 32000 69000 37000

Table Source

The incidence of poverty is another aggregate which reflects the prevailing conditions of poor livelihood scenario and lack of basic amenities in the rural areas. The SCs/STs, who constitute the bottom layer of the pyramid, remain backward in economic and social development and vulnerable to various forms of discrimination including in areas such as education, healthcare and social security measures.

Most of the migrant laborers are employed in the unorganized sector where the lack of regulation compounds their vulnerability and ability to bargain. Poor migrant laborers often suffer from longer working hours and poor living and working conditions.

In a nutshell, the UPA government has scored several brownie points on heralding an era of economic reforms – which is a positive aspect. But, in the broader process, it has failed to transform the lives of aam-aadmi in its bid to sustain double-digit growth for the country.

Can a reform process be called a transformation until it touches the lives of ordinary people?

  1. bhairav patil says

    Hello Ma’am / Sir,

    Wish you a good day ahead!

    This is Bhairav Patil, from CFII- Centre for Ideation & innovation, Pune.
    We are Pune based agency working especially in rural Maharashtra. we have our teams in every district of the state and also has robust database of rural consumers/ farmers.

    In some villages we have database of more than 20 consumers / farmers with their latest contact numbers while in some villages we have 2 or 3 contacts. But there is no any village out of 45000 villages where we do not have any contact.

    This can be utilized for implementing any kind of marketing campaigns / product promotions / BTL activities / marketing research / awareness campaigns / quick polls etc.

    We request you to provide us the email id of the marketing manager / brand manager / product manager / consumer relations manager from your organisation so that we could be of some help for them in Maharashtra.

  2. Pratik Rach says

    now that is not a good sign, the stats saz it all. What are we doing? I would just cut to the chase, since there are people here who are willing to help, herez what you can do . This NGO needs volunteers so that they can make sure people in rural india get drinking water facility for the poor. (http://www.jaagore.com/project/drinking-water-facilities-rural-poor). if you cant help, kindly share

  3. Rajat Khawas says

    Hi VD,
    I will like to offer my services to this blog.

    Its true about all the data you, Charu , Lalitha and so many more have collated. How many of you have actually contributed to the social structure improvement? Have we -each one of us leaving in the 6 metros and Top 20 state capitals- would have taken up just one house hold and contributed in terms of basic amenities, we would have made progress. This is not to side the govt for its lack of operational efficiency but the scale in which India needs change will happen when there is a PPP initiative -like the salt movement initiated by Bapuji. I am a skill committee member of National Vocational Qualification framework (NVQF) and number of other bodies The major challenge is posed due to the enormity of data and scale of operation. For our country’s NVQF-we had made comparative analysis of other countries who have done it successfully-UK, ScotLand, Germany and others but finally we settled for European Union frame work as it was closest to our profile. 27 Countries in EU framework will relate to atleast 27 states in the Indian Sub continent!! Hence, its always good to be critic but , if each one us , can contribute on its own, individually , we can bring about the change we all like to see.

    Thanking you,’
    Rajat K

    1. Viral says


      I appreciate your views and feelings expressed above. Moreover, the aim of this blog post is to pass on this crucial information and make people aware about poverty thriving into rural India.

      The article seeks to convey that though India is progressing economically, the jibes are not really spreading deep within in a sense of broader participation.

  4. Lalitha says


    We all concur with all the aspects where we are lagging behind in the development sector specifically relegating our priorities of reforming the rural sector through poverty alleviation by creating alternative livelihood opportunities. Our Government makes tall claims about some areas that are irrelevant for our immediate sustenance. We, a group of such social thinkers have developed and been working on a comprehensive project to tackle these problems and bring in equitable development.( please visit the above website link for more information), but to our dismay, we are not finding investors with such perspectives to implement such a project. And our Government would also not create space for the innovative concepts which will stand a model solution provider for our developmental issues.

    Please see whether there are any possible ways to moot such ideas and promote the Projects. Your ideas are always welcome.

  5. Charu says

    hey viral,
    i second your point of view, infact when i was doing my research on financial inclusion it said the government does the follow up by taking count of number of savings bank account without looking at its usage etc. That is so absurd. I really doubt if Indian Government will be able to even reach near to utopia, country officials truly lack will to make everything happen.

    1. Viral says


      In fact, I was shocked to read the above findings saying 82% of the rural population still lack basic amenities. In which era are we in? The Indian economy has developed at a brisk pace, but its fruits haven’t reached the bottom of the pyramid.

      As u said above, government is woefully short of meeting expectations of the people. The citizens have elected this government for the 2nd consecutive time with a much stronger vigour in terms of vote bank, but there is hardly anything to show for the Manmohan Singh & Company except for a few big economic reform inititives.

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