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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 19, May 11, 2024

Identifying and Assisting Karnataka’s Most Deprived Village Panchayats: Insights from Mission Antyodaya | Jos Chathukulam

Saturday 11 May 2024, by Jos Chathukulam



Here an attempt has been made to identify the most deprived /most vulnerable Village Panchayats in the State of Karnataka and recommends special assistance to these Panchayats from the Fifth Karnataka State Finance Commission [1]. It’s crucial to identify and support these areas to ensure equitable development across the state. How does the Fifth Karnataka State Finance Commission plan to provide special assistance to these Panchayats?

Keywords: Karnataka, State Finance Commissions (SFCs), Mission Antyodaya, Most Deprived/Vulnerable Panchayats, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

1. Introduction

With the objective of realizing the dream of a poverty free India, the Union government launched the Mission Antyodaya (Upadhyay, 2014, Tiwari and Vishnoi, 2015 and The Economic Times, February 1, 2017) [2]. The Union Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has been conducting the Mission Antyodaya Survey across all the Gram/Village Panchayats in the country since 2017 -18 (Chathukulam et al., 2021a, Joseph, 2021 and Chathukulam et al., 2021b). The primary objective of the Mission Antyodaya Survey is to monitor the progress in the development process in rural areas and to identify the gaps in basic needs at the local level. This annual survey helps to assess the various development gaps at the Gram Panchayat level by collecting data regarding the 29 subjects assigned to Panchayats by the Constitution. These subjects are further broken down into 112 parameters for data collection using detailed questionnaires with maximum score values awarded totaling 100 (on a scale of One to 100). Based on the inputs generated by the scientific Mission Antyodaya Survey 2020, we have identified 76 Village Panchayats in Karnataka as the most deprived and most vulnerable with a score value of less than 21. These 76 Village Panchayats are deprived in terms of infrastructure, access to basic amenities, and the overall socio-economic and human development. The most deprived /most vulnerable Village Panchayats are identified in terms of four major gaps in (i) infrastructure, (ii) access to basic amenities, (iii) the overall socio-economic and (iv) human development including gender development. This deprivation index has been constructed based on the performance of 29 subjects devolved to the Panchayats. In this context, we recommend the Fifth Karnataka State Finance Commission a special grant of Rs. 50 lakhs to each of the most deprived /most vulnerable Village Panchayat in Karnataka. A critical intervention from the part of Karnataka State Finance Commission is the need of the hour as the localization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and development at the grassroots level of these 76 Village Panchayat in particular and the overall progress and development of the State.

2. Mission Antyodaya (MA) Survey

Mission Antyodaya (MA) was first adopted in the Union Budget, 2017-2018. It is envisaged as an accountability and convergence framework for transforming lives and livelihoods on measurable outcomes on a panchayat /village base. The MA is a scientific yet novel initiative of the Government of India to converge as well as to manage the optimum resources allocated by 27 Ministries of the Union Government to accelerate development in rural areas. It strives to realize the vision of poverty-free India. It aims at the well-being of one crore households to make 50,000 Village /Gram Panchayats (VPs/GPs) poverty-free by addressing multi-dimensional poverty in India through convergence of programmes and schemes along with a saturation approach that focuses on raising income and institutional strengthening. That is, it involves the convergence of schemes to raise the income of households through a cluster approach and the VPs/GPs serve as the focal point of convergence. It also enables convergence, partnerships, and networking with professionals, institutions, and enterprises for the transformation of rural livelihoods. For instance, Self Help Groups (SHGs) are grassroots level networking groups that have been successful in social mobilization at the local level which has helped them to be successful when it comes to the convergence approach. Under the MA, priority is given to SHGs in Antyodaya clusters where they play a crucial role in strengthening agriculture, horticulture, and animal husbandry activities along with other developmental activities at the grassroots level. To ensure accountability, the MA framework stresses strengthening the capacity for social audit at the local level. Thus, the MA is built on the foundation of convergence, accountability, and measurable outcomes to provide sustainable livelihoods to the rural poor. In other words, it aims to converge government interventions in the form of schemes and programmes with VPs/GPs as the basic unit for planning and adopting a saturation approach by pooling human and financial resources to provide sustainable livelihoods. An annual survey of VPs/GPs across the country is an important aspect of the MA framework. Popularly known as the MA Survey, it ranks the VPs/GPs based on the score obtained on various parameters used in the MA Survey. Since its inception, the Survey has been carried out before the preparation of the Village Panchayat Development Plan (VPDP) / Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) (Chathukulam and Joseph, 2021 and Joseph, 2021, Chathukulam, 2023). The survey data and findings are used as a base to assess the gap in each VP/GP and village in terms of infrastructure, access to basic amenities, and the overall socio-economic and human development (including gender development). These gaps have to be addressed in the VPDP/GPDP as it is designed.

3.Primary Objectives of Mission Antyodaya (MA)

  • To ensure effective use of resources through the convergence of various government schemes with VPs/GPs as the basic unit of planning.
  • To build and encourage partnerships with a network of professionals, institutions, and enterprises to strengthen and transform rural livelihoods.
  • Conduct a nationwide MA Survey to assess the measurable outcomes at the VP/GP level and to assess the gaps that need to be addressed.
  • Support the process of participatory planning for VPDP/GPDP by addressing the gaps found in the survey and thus develop a focused micro plan for sustainable livelihoods by improving governance and service delivery at the grassroots level.

4. Methodology Adopted for Mission Antyodaya (MA) Survey

The MA Surveys are conducted at the VP/GP level, if a VP/GP has more than one village, the average will be taken as the score value for the VP/GP.

5. Mapping Progress: Unveiling Development Priorities through Mission Antyodaya Surveys 2017-2018

As a precursor to the preparation of the annual VPDP/GPDP, the Ministry of Panchayat Raj (MoPR) has directed all the States to undertake the MA Survey every year - a survey by which the VPs/GPs all over the country are ranked based on three indicators i.e., basic infrastructure, human development, and economic activity. By this exercise, the development gaps needing specific intervention are identified and the VPs/GPs prepare the VPDP/GPDP. In 2017 and 2018, the VPs/GPs were ranked based on 46 parameters but only six out of 29 subjects devolved were evaluated. In other words, 46 parameters connected to six subjects such as (i) health, nutrition, and sanitation (ii) economic development and livelihood (iii) financial inclusion (iv) basic parameters (v) key infrastructure (vi) women empowerment only were evaluated (Figure No. 1).

Figure No.1: Subjects Evaluated and Ranking Parameters in MA Survey 2017&2018

Source: Compiled and Computed by the authors based on the inputs from the MA Website

In 2017 and 2018, there were 46 parameters, and the maximum score was 100. The major limitation of the parameters and score value applied in the MA Survey 2017 and 2018 is that only limited association has been established between the questions in the parameters and the functional domain of the VP/GP. When all four questions in the MA Survey format of 2018 were distributed, it was found that there were no questions related to 12 subjects. Another major criticism against the MA Survey 2017 and 2018 is that it has not covered all the 29 subjects transferred to the VPs/GPs.

6. Parameters and Score Value for MA Survey 2019 and 2020

The MA Survey 2019 is a restructured one and some of the limitations of the earlier exercise were rectified. As in the case of the Survey in 2018 within the same methodological framework, the MA Survey 2019 was conducted at the village level. However, the number of the parameters and the score value were drastically changed. The parameters were increased from 46 to 112 to cover all the 29 subjects transferred to the VPs/GPs as per the Constitution (Figure no. 2).

Figure No.2: Subjects Evaluated and Ranking Parameters in MA Survey 2019 & 2020

Source: Compiled and computed by the authors based on the inputs from MA Website, MOPR.

However, out of the 29 subjects only 26 subjects were given a score value, and three subjects (social welfare, welfare of the weaker sections, and minor forest produce) were assigned zero value. Two subjects (i) land improvement, implementation of land reforms, land consolidation and soil conservation, and (ii) minor irrigation, water management, and watershed development) are clipped into one as ‘land improvement and minor irrigation’. One new subject namely ‘financial and communication infrastructure’ was included in addition to the 29 subjects transferred to VP/GP. Though the total score values have been fixed as 100, the value of each parameter has been changed as per the increase in the number of questions. In 2019, the number of parameters used for scoring has been increased from 46 to 112. Therefore, the VPs/GPs score value of 2019 may not be comparable with that of 2017 and 2018. However, the comparison may be possible only if all the methodological cautions in the background are taken seriously. Along with the comparison of the score value of the VPs/GPs in 2018 and 2019, the other level of comparisons such as the average score value of the VPs/GPs at the district and state levels also may be possible. The MA methodology as well as parameters and score value have remained unchanged since 2019. Attempts are being made to revise the parameters and score value for the MA Survey by incorporating more emphasis on drinking water by incorporating components of the Jal Jeevan Mission under the Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti. Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is also supporting the Jal Jeevan Mission as the installation of Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) in every rural household requires a skilled workforce in areas like masonry, plumbing, fitting, and electricity.

7. Design of Survey Tool for the MA Survey

The questionnaires that have been designed for the MA survey are classified as Part A and Part B. Part A deals primarily with the availability of the infrastructures under 29 subjects. VPs/GPs are expected to ensure economic empowerment and social justice for the rural poor through the implementation of development activities. Whereas Part B deals with the services availed by the rural poor under sectors like health, nutrition (Chathukulam, 2021), social security, water management, and efficiency for a decent living.

8. Mission Antyodaya in Karnataka

Two values (All India and Karnataka) are plotted in the graph (Figure No.3). The ‘X axis’ represents the score range of VPs/GPs and the ‘Y axis’ represents the percentage of VPs/GPs falling under the respective score range.

Figure No. 3: MA Survey 2020: Grouping of VPs/GPs Based on Score Range

Source: Computed and Compiled from the Mission Antyodaya Survey 2020
We have classified the VPs/GPs as ‘most deprived’ / ‘most vulnerable’ according to the score value in the MA survey 2020. The VPs/GPs with a score value less than 21 are treated as the most vulnerable groups and there are 76 VPs/GPs in this group. They are classified as the ‘most deprived /most vulnerable Villages Panchayats in the State of Karnataka’ in terms of infrastructure, access to basic amenities, and the overall socio-economic and human development.

9 Most Deprived /Most Vulnerable Village Panchayats’ (VPs) in the State of Karnataka

The 76 VPs/GPs coming under the most deprived /most vulnerable category are distributed among 21 various districts of the State. They are distributed as follows - Bagalkot (3 VPs), Bellari (2 VPs), Belgavi (1 VP), Chamarajnagar (5 VPs), Chikballapur (2 VPs), Chikkamanglur (2 VPs), Chitradurga (4 VPs), Davangere (5 VPs), Dharward (1 VP), Gadag(1 VP), Hasan (5 VPs), Kalaburgi (11 VPs), Koppal (3 VPs), Mandya(1 VP), Mysuru (4 VPs), Raichur (5 VPs), Shimoga (8 VPs), Tumakuru (4 VPs), Uttar Kannad (5 VPs), Vijayapura(3 VPs) and Yadgir (1 VP)

Table No. 1: Most Deprived /Most Vulnerable VPs According to MA Survey 2020 (Score Value less than 21)

Source: Computed and Compiled from Mission Antyodaya Survey 2020

10. Identifying Deprivation: A Holistic Approach to Assessing Vulnerability in VPs/GPs

The most deprived /most vulnerable VPs/GPs are identified in terms of four major gaps in (i) infrastructure, (ii) access to basic amenities and (iii) the overall socio-economic and (iv) human development including gender development. This deprivation index has been created based on the performance of 29 subjects devolved to the Panchayats as per the Constitution.

11. Empowering Karnataka’s Most Vulnerable: A Targeted Approach for SDGs Achievement

Addressing this deprivation will also provide a strategy to achieve SDGs in the most deprived /most vulnerable category of VPs/GPs in Karnataka. When we construct the SDGs in the local context of Karnataka by addressing the underlying causes of deprivation, a larger number of relevant SDGs will also be achieved. It would be interesting to evaluate the performance of the VPs/GPs and measure the changes in the context of SDGs after one year of implementation. Since what is proposed is a special grant, it should be tied to project-specific objectives which are not only locally specific but also address the relevant SDGs. A high-level monitoring committee at the state level can be constituted to monitor this intervention.

We suggest a special grant of Rs. 50 lakhs to each most deprived /most vulnerable category VPs/GPs (Table No. 1) The amount needed for the ‘most deprived /most vulnerable VPs’= 76x Rs. 50 Lakhs= Rs. 38.00 Crore

Figure No.2: ‘Most Deprived / Most Vulnerable’ VPs have been plotted in the Map of Karnataka.

Source:Table No.1

(Author: Jos Chathukulam is former Professor, Ramakrishna Hegde Chair on Decentralisation and Development, Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bengaluru and currently the Director of Centre for Rural Management (CRM), Kottayam, Kerala. )


  • Chathukulam, Jos and Joseph, Manasi. (2021). Integrating GPDP Into the District Plan, In Rajesh Kumar Sinha (Ed), Gram Panchayat Development Planning in India, pp: (71 -94). New Delhi: Abhijeet Publications.
  • Chathukulam, Jos. (2020, January 26). Child Malnutrition in Karnataka: A Worrisome Development, Deccan Herald.
  • Chathukulam, Jos. (2023). Political Economy of Decentralized Planning in Kerala, In N Sivanna, Narayana Billava, and Nayantara S Nayak (Eds), Decentralized Governance and Planning in India, pp: (181 -215). New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company
  • Chathukulam, Jos., Joseph, Manasi., and V Rekha. (2021b). Performance of Mission Antyodaya in Karnataka: Policy Lessons and Implications for Grassroots Level Development, Aarthika Charche, 6 (2): 54-68.
  • Chathukulam, Jos., Joseph, Manasi., V Rekha., Balamurali C, V and Thilakan, T V. (2021a). Mission Antyodaya: Well Envisioned but Poorly Understood, Gandhi Marg, 43(2): 151–186.
  • Joseph, Vanishree. (2021). Use of Mission Antyodaya Data for GPDP, In Rajesh Kumar Sinha (Ed), Gram Panchayat Development Planning in India, pp: (137 -161). New Delhi: Abhijeet Publications.
  • Tiwari, Ravish and Vishnoi, Anubhuti. (2015, July 20). Mission Antyodaya: NDA government begins work on plan to converge social schemes across ministries, The Economic Times.
  • The Economic Times. (2017, February, 1). Budget 2017: Government aims to bring 1 crore households out of poverty by 2019, The Economic Times.
  • Upadhyaya, D. D. (2014). Integral Humanism, New Delhi: Hindi Sahitya Sadan, Sixth Edition.

[1The Governor of Karnataka has constituted five State Finance Commissions (SFCs) in the years 1994, 2000, 2006, 2015, and 2023. The Fifth SFC was constituted on 11th October 2023 consisting of the following Members: 1. Sri. C. Narayanaswamy, Ex-MP as the Chairman, 2. Sri. Mohamed Sanaulla, IAS (Retd.) – Member, 3. Sri. R.S. Phonde, Controller (Retd.) – Member Karnataka State Audit and Accounts Dept. The Commission has submitted an Interim Report to the Governor on February 28, 2024.

[2The then Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley launched Mission Antyodaya during the Union Budget Presentation on February 1, 2017 (The Economic Times, February 1, 2017).

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