Kolkata - An in-depth study of three districts in the Indian state of West Bengal reveals that where you live can determine your well-being as there are wide variations in human development between districts and also between rural and urban populations.
According to recent surveys, in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal gender gaps in literacy have been narrowing faster than the state average and more than one-third of women own land. In North 24 Parganas, however, the picture is mixed – with a rise in income and purchasing power in the ever-spreading urban areas, acute distress in the rural areas (in nearly 30% of rural households) and severe malnutrition in the slums. In Uttar Dinajpur district, women’s political empowerment is noteworthy at 35 percent of seats in Panchayati Raj Institutions even prior to reservation of seats for women but fertility rates of 4.9 are significantly higher than the state average of 2.4.
It is also reported that the Sunderbans in South 24 Parganas is highly vulnerable to climate change and it is estimated that 15 percent of the region will be submerged by 2020. Neglecting the Sunderbans can have global implications.
These are among the findings of the three District Human Development Reports (HDRs), for the districts of North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Uttar Dinajpur, released by the Government of West Bengal, maintaining its lead as the state far ahead in incorporating the human development approach in planning at district-levels.
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