Exclusive: Lakshmi Bhandar-A game-changer for rural livelihood security in West Bengal

Exclusive: Lakshmi Bhandar-A game-changer for rural livelihood security in West Bengal

Biswabrata Goswami

MIDNAPORE, 4 AUG: In a groundbreaking study conducted over a year by researchers from a prominent academic institution – Raja Narendra Lal Khan Mahila Mahavidyalaya in Midnapore, the socio-economic conditions and livelihood security of rural households in West Midnapore and Jhargram, have undergone a miraculous transformation.

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The study, which surveyed a staggering 3200 rural households from 220 villages, sought to shed light on the impact of Lakshmi Bhandar on rural livelihood security. The findings have unveiled a significant and positive role played by Lakshmi Bhandar in enhancing the livelihood security of rural households, marking it as a potential game-changer for the region’s rural development.

Dr Pravat Kumar Shit, assistant professor who guided the survey, said, “The primary objective of the research was to assess the livelihood security levels of the participating households using six distinct security indices – food security, economic security, health security, educational security, social network security, and habitat/shelter security. These indices were meticulously measured and analyzed to understand the overall livelihood security of the households.”

The study’s timeline spanned from February 2022 to April 2023, during which the researchers collected primary data from the participating households. The data collection process was exhaustive, allowing for a comprehensive assessment of the factors influencing livelihood security in the region.

One of the most significant revelations from the study was the instrumental role of Lakshmi Bhandar in determining the livelihood security levels of rural households. Households that were beneficiaries of Lakshmi Bhandar showcased considerably higher levels of livelihood security compared to those who did not receive its benefits. The disparity in livelihood security between the two groups was statistically significant, as established by Welch’s t-test.

The researchers delved into the individual security indices to analyze the specific areas in which Lakshmi Bhandar made a discernible difference:

Food Security Index: Beneficiary households reported a significantly higher food security index (0.6970) compared to non-beneficiaries (0.5970). This indicated that Lakshmi Bhandar played a pivotal role in improving access to sufficient and nutritious food for rural households.

According to the survey reports, the economic security index for beneficiary households stood at 0.3350, while non-beneficiary households scored 0.2496. The program’s support seemed to empower households to enhance their economic stability and resilience.

Beneficiaries registered a health security index of 0.5230, whereas non-beneficiaries scored 0.4967. Lakshmi Bhandar’s contribution to health security suggested improved access to healthcare facilities and resources.

The program also positively impacted educational security, with beneficiary households recording a score of 0.4044 compared to non-beneficiaries at 0.3458. This implied that Lakshmi Bhandar played a role in promoting education among rural children.

The study found that households benefiting from Laxmshi Bhandar had a higher social network security index (0.6537) than non-beneficiaries (0.6020). This indicated increased social cohesion and support within beneficiary communities.

Lakshmi Bhandar had a discernible effect on habitat/shelter security, with beneficiaries scoring 0.6326 and non-beneficiaries scoring 0.6087. The program seemed to have contributed to better living conditions and shelter for rural households.

The Overall Livelihood Security Index, which encompassed all the mentioned factors, revealed a noteworthy difference between beneficiary households (0.5267) and non-beneficiary households (0.4975). This signified the comprehensive and positive impact of Lakshmi Bhandar on rural livelihood security.

The study’s findings have not only highlighted the importance of targeted interventions like Lakshmi Bhandar in rural development but also underscored the potential for such programs to drive positive change and upliftment for the vulnerable rural communities in West Bengal, said Dr Shit. He also said as the region moves towards inclusive growth, the role of government and non-governmental agencies in implementing similar schemes becomes even more crucial.

Tags: #LakshmiBhandar #Survey #gamechanger #westbengal #paschimmedinipur #jhargram

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