"In 1993-94, nearly 50 percent of the rural poor lived in seven states - Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. This rose to 65 percent in 2011-12," the report said. Only 18 percent of rural households have access to all three basic services - drinking water within the premises, sanitation and electricity - while 20 percent have none of these, it said. While releasing the report Rural Development Minister JairamRamesh said, "The story has not been positive in terms of social infrastructure like sanitation and drinking water." Poverty is markedly higher among the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes who together constituted 44 percent of the rural poor in 2009-10. The report highlighted the need to develop new strategies for farm livelihoods.
The report said that to enhance non-farm income, the MNREGA has become more important. The scheme holds huge potential, which can be unlocked by ensuring that good quality assets are built. Ramesh said, " To make more durable community assets, the government will shortly announce changes in the MNREGA. Rajeev Lall, Executive Chairman, IDFC said, "While rural consumption and aspirations are rising, we can no longer fail to provide our rural population basic services and opportunities to enhance their livelihoods.
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