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Technological Change in Agriculture and Rural Women

of Tripura : Two Village Studies


Amitabha Sinha* and Ruma Saha#
Abstract. One of the major routes through which globalisation impacts an economy is
technological innovation. This paper tries to investigate the linkages between technological change in
agriculture, and health and education status of rural females of agricultural households of Tripura. At the
macro level composite index results show that there is no one-to-one correspondence between agricultural
development and health and education status of females. Area-yield accounting and coefficient of
variation analysis reveal that technological change in rice production began in Tripura at a more rapid
pace from the Fifth Plan period. The technological change has been mainly ‘policy driven’ rather than
‘market driven’ and occurred mainly at production and processing level. The health and education status
of females of agricultural labourer households is lower than the status of females of owner cultivator
households. Like the agricultural labourer households, the cultivator households are dependent on health
services provided by the Government, which have high ‘implicit’ cost. The major conclusion of this paper
is that limited technological change in agriculture has failed to create a significant positive impact on
health and education status of rural females. Therefore, public spending on health and education is
crucial for a State like Tripura.
Key Words: Gender, Technology, Health, Education.
JEL Codes: J16, O33, P36.
I
Introduction
In recent years rural development has emerged as an area of concern. The major route
through which globalisation impacts on the economy is innovations in the arena of technology
(Gomory and Baumol, 2004). Technological change in agriculture is likely to become more and more
market driven leading to rise in efficiency in agriculture. Improvement in the standard of living of the
people in health and education status in rural areas may follow from this transformation of
agriculture. However, the human development approach argues that there is no automatic linkage
between the economic domain and the social sector domain consisting of health and education
(UNDP, 1990). The social sector is mainly driven by Government policy initiatives in India. If
globalisation leads to a withdrawal of state from its social sector commitments as measured by
expenditure in social sector then it may have a negative impact on health and education status of the
people. However, the market driven component of human development index is income. Here
technology plays an important role. Where the pace of technological change is slow the benefits of
globalisation are likely to be less1. It is in this specific context that this paper asks the question: what
about women? This question arises from a perception that the issue of globalisation is not only one of
economic exclusivity. Social exclusivity (in terms of community and caste), cultural exclusivity (in
terms of patriarchy) and political exclusivity (in terms of empowerment of women through
participation in political process) are also important parameters in the process of globalisation. This
paper tries to investigate the role of agricultural development in the specific area of gender dimension
of health and education status of females of agricultural households (Engels, 1884; Boserup, 1976;
Agarwal).
In the context of the regional disparity in rural development, apart from the rural-urban
divide, the paper tries to locate Tripura among the different States of India in terms of
technological change in agriculture, education status of females and health status of females. The
second objective of the paper is to analyse the trend of change in education and health status of
females and agricultural development of Tripura. The paper presents two village studies to identify
the linkages between technological change in agriculture and health and education status of females
in a specific topographical and socio-economic context.
*Reader, Department of Analytical & Applied Economics, Tripura University, Tripura
#
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Netaji Subhas Mahavidyalaya, Tripura

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This paper is divided into six sections. The present section presents the perspective of the
study and the major objectives of the paper. Section II is devoted in explaining database, design of the
study and method of analysis. Section III tries to locate Tripura from the perspective of agricultural
development, health and education status of females and public spending in social sector in terms of
cluster analysis. Section IV provides the nature, extent and impact of technological change in
agriculture, occupational pattern of rural males and females, the trend of change of health status and
education status of rural females of Tripura to provide the background of village studies. Section V
reports the village studies. Section VI presents the major conclusions of the study and tries to
decipher possible policy implications.
II
Database, Design of the Study & Method of Analysis
The focus of the study is rural females of Tripura. Thus it is necessary to locate Tripura first.
For locating Tripura an attempt is made to provide an All-India scenario of 21 States in terms of four
composite indices of: (a) agricultural development (ADCI), (b) rural female health (HCI), (c) rural
female education (ECI), (d) public expenditure on health and education (PECI).
Agricultural development is considered in terms of five indicators: (a) yield of foodgrains, (b)
percentage of area under HYV seeds in total rice area, (c) cropping intensity (d) irrigated area under
foodgrains and (e) consumption of fertiliser per hectare.
Health status is considered in terms of fifteen indicators : (a) rural total fertility rate, (b) rural
female infant mortality rate (IMR), (c) rural female-male ratio (FMR) in the age group (0-6), (d) rural
overall FMR, (e) median age at first birth for (40-49) age women, (f) median age at last birth for (40-
49) age women, (g) female age at effective marriage in the rural areas, (h) percentage of births
attended by health professionals in the rural areas, (i) percentage of birth delivered in medical
institutions in the rural areas, (j) percentage of no attendance received by mothers at child birth in the
rural areas, (k) percentage of mothers received attention of government appointed nurse/midwife at
child birth in the rural areas, (l) percentage of two doses or more of TT vaccination received during
pregnancy in the rural areas, (m) couple protection rate in the rural areas, (n) natural growth rate in
the rural areas and (o) contraceptive prevalence rate. In the case of deprivation indicators reciprocal
are taken.
Education status is considered in terms of two indicators: (a) rural female literacy rate and (b)
rural girls’ enrollment ratio.
Public Expenditure is considered in terms of three indicators: (a) public spending on health as
a percentage of total expenditure, (b) public spending on education as a percentage of total public
expenditure and (c) public spending on amenities as a percentage of total public expenditure.
For the construction of composite indices : first, percentage share (Pi) of States to All-India
for each indicators is calculated; second, first Principal Component is calculated using correlation
matrix; third, weight (Wi) for each indicators is calculated by using the formula [(loading / total
loading)*100]; fourth, composite index = ∑PiWi (i = 1 to number of indicators) is calculated.
For locating Tripura, ranking device is used in two ways: first, States are ranked in terms of
all four composite indices as 1 to 21; second, States are clustered in terms of composite indices as
high, medium and low rank. The term ‘high’ is used to mean ranks from (1-7), ‘medium’ to mean
ranks from (8-14) and ‘low’ to mean (15-21).
Design of the Village Study
Two villages of South Tripura District are studied. The basis is female work participation rate
in agriculture in the rural areas (FWPRAR). In this District, FWPRAR (79.39%) is highest among all
the four districts of Tripura. It is also higher than the Tripura average and slightly lower than the All-
India average.
Within the South Tripura District one development block is selected among the 10 blocks.
Blocks are arranged in 3 categories based on FWPRAR as shown in Table 1. One high participation
block, i.e., Kakraban Development Block was studied.

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Table 1 Block
Range FWPRAR
High (80 and above) Killa, Amarpur, Kakraban, Karbuk, Rupaichhari
Medium (70-80) Bagafa, Hrishyamukh, Satchand
Low (0-70) Rajnagar, Matarbari
Note: All-India average FWPRAR = 80.07%, Tripura average FWPRAR= 69.53%
Source: Computed from Census 2001 (reference 25).
Kakraban Development Block consists of 19 revenue villages as shown in Table2. Two high
participation revenue villages, i.e., Garjanmura and Hadra were chosen.
Table 2 Revenue Village
Range FWPRAR
High (80 and above) Hurijala, Balurpathar, Garji R.F. (part), Gangachhara, Amtali, Hadra, Garjanmura,
Upendranagar, Silghati, Rani, Palatana, Jitendranagar, Dhuptali, Murapara (part), Jamjuri
Medium (70-80) Samukchhara, Dudhpushkarini
Low (0-70) Kakraban, Rajdharnagar
Note : Same as Table 1.
Source: Same as Table 1.
From the Garjanmura revenue village Garjanmura Gram Panchayat and from the Hadra
revenue village Hadra Gram Panchayat were selected with the consultation of Superintendent of
Matabari Agri Sub-division under the South Tripura District, Panchayat Pradhans and local peoples.
Those Gram Panchayats were selected which have sufficient number of (a) cultivator and agricultural
labourer households and (b) both tribal and non-tribal agricultural households.
From the Garjanmura Gram Panchayat one village, i.e., Garjanmura Uttar Para and from the
Hadra Gram Panchayat one village, i.e., Hadrabari were selected. They have the features: (a) the
majority of villagers belong to scheduled tribe (ST) community in one village and in the other village
belong to other backward community (OBC)/scheduled castes (SC)/other communities (GEN)
community; (b) major economic activity of a large part of the head of the household is agriculture; (c)
both the villages have similar irrigation facilities provided by the State Government; (d) both villages
produce two crops of rice in a year; and (e) some females participate in agricultural work as wage
labour, family labour or both.
Two PRA tools were used for selection of village: (a) physical transact of one day with one or
two knowledgeable persons and (b) group discussion for (2-3) hours with a group of villagers
(Mukherjee, 2001).
Within the villages those households were selected for whom the major economic activity of
head of the household is agriculture. These households are either cultivators or agricultural labourers.
Cultivators are those who have both ownership and control on cultivable land and participate in
agricultural activities themselves. Agricultural labourers are those who work as wage labour.
In the Agriculture Census, cultivators are sub-divided into marginal farmers (0-1) hectare,
small farmers (1-2) hectare, semi-medium farmers (2-4) hectare, medium farmers (4-10) hectare and
large farmers (10 and above) hectare. However, in the context of the present paper the marginal
farmers are again sub-divided into three categories: subsistence marginal farmers (SMF) having 3 to 5
kani, near-subsistence marginal farmers (NSMF) having 1 to 3 kani and extreme marginal farmers
(EMF) having less than 1 kani.
The Comparative Method
Comparative method is used in this paper. ANOVA or test statistic based testing procedure is
not used in this study. Analysis and understanding in a comparative perspective is the essence of the
method of analysis of this paper.

III
Cluster Analysis of States of India
This section provides cluster and pattern analysis of States of India. This will help in locating
Tripura in the All-India context. Analysis based on composite indices show the following results:

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Table 3 : Agricultural Development, Female Health, Female Education and Public Expenditure : Cluster Analysis
Range Agricultural Health Rank Education Rank Public Expenditure Rank
Development Rank
High Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Kerala, Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat,
(1-7) Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu,
Uttar Pradesh, West Mizoram, Maharashtra, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka,
Bengal, Kerala Karnataka Manipur, Maharashtra Andhra Pradesh
Medium Bihar, Manipur, Gujarat, Gujarat, Himachal Meghalaya, West Mizoram, Arunachal
(8-14) Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Bengal, Gujarat, Pradesh, Rajasthan,
Pradesh, Tripura, Tripura, Haryana, Karnataka, Punjab, Meghalaya, Haryana,
Maharashtra Manipur, Orissa Orissa, Assam, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh
Low Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra West Bengal, Manipur,
(15-21) Meghalaya, Assam, Rajasthan, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Tripura, Orissa, Uttar
Rajasthan, Mizoram, Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar
Arunachal Pradesh Pradesh, Bihar, Pradesh, Rajasthan,
Meghalaya Uttar Pradesh, Bihar
Source: Same as Table 3.
It is observed that Tripura falls in the category of low public expenditure rank and medium health
and agricultural indices rank but high literacy rank.
IV
Agriculture, Occupation, Health and Education of Rural Females: Tripura
4.1 Impact of Technological Change
Impact of technological change in agriculture in Tripura is analysed in terms of area-yield
accounting and analysis of structural stability upto the end of the Ninth Plan period.
(a) Area-Yield Accounting of Rice
Noting the fact that growth rate of production is the sum total of growth rate of area and
growth rate of yield, one notices that till the end of Fifth Plan, growth rate of area had a positive
contribution to the growth rate of production. But after the Fifth Plan this contribution has become
negative. Thus the growth of production was mainly due to growth of yield after Fifth Plan. This
makes the end of Fifth Plan a watershed in technological change in agriculture of Tripura (Table 4).
Table 4 Growth Rate of Area, Production and Yield of Rice
Annual Compound Growth Rate of Rice*
Period Area Production Yield
End of 2nd Plan over 1st Plan 0.807 1.622 0.7
End of 3rd Plan over 2nd Plan 5.685 5.202 -0.297
End of 4th Plan over 3rd Plan 3.037 4.28 1.074
th th
End of 5 Plan over 4 Plan 1.097 5.463 4.48
End of 6th Plan over 5th Plan -1.13 1.468 2.593
End of 7th Plan over 6th Plan -1.904 2.836 4.792
End of 8th Plan over 7th Plan -0.425 0.769 1.177
End of 9th Plan over 8th Plan -0.736 2.407 3.098
Note: * based on data of three years moving average. For data of rice
production at the end of 1 st Plan two years moving average is taken
because production in 1954-55 is not available.
Source: Computed from references 27, 28.
(b) Structural Stability
With spread of irrigation and biochemical technological change variability in the annual
growth rate of production rice is expected to decline. This variability can be measured in terms of
coefficient of variation. The study of the coefficient of variation (C.V.) may provide an alternative
route in identifying the watershed period of technological change. However, the average of
coefficient of variation for Second, Third and Fourth Plan turns out to be 15.19 but it is 8.22 from
Fifth Plan to Ninth Plan. However, C.V. of Third Plan was 9.08. Seventh and Eighth Plans had similar
series.

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Table 5 Analysis of Stability of Annual Growth Rate of Rice Production
Indicator 2nd Plan 3rd Plan 4th Plan 5th Plan 6th Plan 7th Plan 8th Plan 9th Plan
C.V.* 11.52 9.08 24.98 5.30 6.66 10.10 10.78 8.26
Note: * coefficient of variation of average annual growth rate of production of rice.
Source: Same as Table 4.
Therefore, area-yield accounting and coefficient of variation analysis lead to similar
conclusion. Technological change in rice production began in Tripura at a more rapid pace from the
Fifth Plan period.
4.2 Occupational Pattern in Agriculture of Rural Males and Females
Table 6 shows that percentage of workers (main) out of total workers (main) has been falling
rapidly from 1981 to 2001.
Table 6 Percentage of Main and Marginal Female Workers in the Rural Areas
Indicators 1981 1991 2001
(in %) P M F P M F P M F
1. Main workers in agriculture to
total main workers 74.0 73.3 78.09 70.62 69.12 77.81 55.65 53.91 63.09
2. Main agricultural labour to total
main workers in agriculture 35.53 33.71 45.50 37.51 35.85 44.59 39.89 38.25 45.90
3. Marginal agricultural labour to
total marginal workers in agriculture NA NA NA NA NA NA 63.72 67.13 62.19
Source: Computed from references 14, 15, 25.
4.3 Health Status of Rural Females in Tripura
Six indicators of health status of rural females are considered in terms of their trend over
time, namely (a) FMR (0-4) age-group, (b) FMR (15-49) age-group, (c) FMR (60 +) age-group, (d)
AFS, (e) CWR, (f) IMR.
Indicator (a) shows whether there is pre-delivery sex based selection of children. Indicator (b)
is an indirect measure of reproductive health challenges faced by women. Indicator (c) indicates
social support needs based on gender perspective for the aged population. Indicators (d) and (e) carry
almost the same information like indicator (b). Their correlation matrix is reported in Table 7. The
correlation matrix shows that AFS and CWR are highly correlated. Indicator (f) reflects more the
health threats faced by infants. However, indirectly high infant mortality creates more burdens for
reproductive health status of females (Chaudhury, 1996). FMR (0-4) shows a declining trend in the
period 1971-2001. Since sex detection test of the embryos is not popular in Tripura, the trend is
difficult to explain. Moreover, IMR has also fallen rapidly in this period. FMR (15-49) has also
shown a declining trend. However, 60+ FMR has improved significantly. AFS and CWR have
declined in this period (Table 8).
Table 7 Correlation Matrix
FMR (15-49) AFS CWR
FMR (15-49) 1.000
AFS 0.843 1.000
CWR 0.799 0.959 1.000
Note: Calculated on rural females.
Source: Table 11.

Table 8 Health Status of Rural Females


Indicators 1971 1981 1991 2001
R U C R U C R U C R U C
1. (0-4) FMR 974 987 975 979 990 980 970 974 971 969 949 966
2. (15-49) FMR 946 890 940 939 932 938 933 947 936 934 961 939
3. 60+ FMR 847 955 857 903 1089 921 944 1156 974 1048 1142 1064
4. AFS 5.71 5.67 5.70 5.43 5.22 5.40 5.30 4.91 5.24 4.92 4.38 4.82
5. CWR 70.64 50.22 68.30 52.23 33.81 49.91 55.17 33.47 51.37 38.78 22.98 35.72
1971 1981 1991 2000
6. IMR NA NA NA NA NA NA 56.9 45.7 56.2 42 32 41
Note: R = Rural, U = Urban, C = Combined, AFS = Average family size, CWR = Child-woman ratio.
Source: Computed from references 12, 13, 16, 17, 20, 25, 26.

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4.4 Education Status of Rural Females in Tripura
Two indicators, namely (a) literacy rate (LR) and (b) primary level education rate (PLER) of
(15-59) age group of rural females are considered. It is seen that the overall literacy rate and literacy
rate for both males and females in the rural areas has rapidly increased in the period 1971 to 2001.
Female literacy rate is lower than male literacy rate. The gap between male-female literacy rate is
falling. Similarly, urban-rural gap in female literacy rate is falling. It may be noted that the rural
female literacy rate (2001 Census) in Tripura (60.50%) is higher than the national average (46.13%).
Table 9 Education Status of Rural Females
Indicators T/M/F 1971 1981 1991 2001
(%) R U C R U C R U C R U C
1. T 34.65 77.08 39.31 46.59 85.04 51.02 56.08 83.09 60.44 69.72 89.21 73.19
M 46.31 86.79 50.78 58.61 92.12 62.45 67.07 89.00 70.58 78.40 93.21 81.02
F 22.17 66.59 27.03 33.78 77.62 38.87 44.33 76.93 49.65 60.50 85.03 64.91
2. T NA NA NA 13.71 17.08 14.13 16.43 16.76 16.49 23.30 24.08 23.45
M NA NA NA 17.19 16.06 17.05 18.96 15.74 18.40 25.40 22.82 24.90
F NA NA NA 9.97 18.19 10.99 13.70 17.85 14.42 21.03 25.43 21.89
Note: 1 = LR excluding (0-6) age-group population, 2 = PLER at (15-59), age group, T = Total, M = Male, F = Female.
Source: Computed from references 12, 13, 16, 26.
4.5 Public Spending in Social Sector in Tripura
Public spending as a percentage of total public expenditure shows the following trend in
Tripura and All-India as shown in the following table.
Table 10 Public Spending in Social Sector
Unit Public Spending as a Percentage of Total Public Expenditure
1980-81 1990-91 1998-99
E H A E H A E H A
Tripura 11.60 4.57 1.03 17.62 5.91 4.34 17.23 4.69 7.09
All States 13.89 7.10 1.14 17.36 5.88 3.86 17.39 5.78 4.53
Central Government 2.70 1.40 0.40 3.50 1.50 0.40 3.90 1.80 1.00
Note: E = Education, H = Health, A= Amenities.
Source: NHDR 2001.
4.6 The Emerging Patterns
Some patterns may be discerned. First, public spending in health as a percentage of total
expenditure of Tripura has remained more or less static though ‘All States’ show a decline. Second,
AFS and CWR have declined from 1981 onwards. Third, technological change in agriculture showed
a structural shift from 1981 onwards. Whether this had any impact on health and education of rural
females in agriculture cannot be analysed without more detailed data. Only village studies can fill up
this gap in information. These are presented in the next section.
V
The Villages: Garjanmura Uttar Para and Hadrabari
This section provides a comparative study of two villages of Tripura. The objectives are:
(a) the nature and extent of technological change in agriculture in the studied area;
(b) the status of females with special emphasis on health and education of different categories of
agricultural households;
(c) the linkages between technological change in agriculture, health and education status of females
of different categories of agricultural households.
To understand the findings related to these objectives, location, demographic features and
infrastructure of the villages are discussed first.
5.1 Location
Garjanmura Uttar Para (GUP) village belongs to the Garjanmura Gram Panchayat. Hadrabari
village belongs to the Hadra Gram Panchayat. These two villages belong to Kakrabon Development
Block of South Tripura District. Villages are similarly situated in terms of the following aspects:
(a) B.D.O. office is 10 k.m. from GUP and 13 k.m. from Hadrabari.

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(b) There is a rural market (daily) near the GUP village, which is 3 k.m. from the Hadrabari village.
The nearest urban market is situated at Udaipur. Hadrabari is 8 k.m. and GUP is 11 k.m. from this
market.
5.2 Demographic Features
The demographic features of the two villages are summarised in Table 11:
Table 11 Demographic Features
Features GUP Hadrabari
1. Total population 568 660
2. Average family size 4.62 4.96
3. FMR (all ages) 1028.57 929.83
4. FMR (15-49) age group 1047.30 1061.54
5. ST households in total households (%) Nil 100.00
6. SC households in total households (%) 41.46 Nil
7. GEN households in total households (%) 58.54 Nil
Source: Field Study (Aug’ 2002 – Aug’ 2006).
The table shows that the average family size and female-male ratio for the reproductive age group are
higher in Hadrabari.
5.3 Infrastructure
General socio-economic development is linked with infrastructure, which is classified as
physical, health and education infrastructures for the purpose of the present study is shown in Table
12.
Table 12 Infrastructure of Villages
Type of Infrastructure Name of Village
GUP Hadrabari
Physical Nature of main road all-weather pucca but full of patches
within the village of degraded surfaces.
Households with 30.1 85
electricity connection (%)
Households with 3.3 13.5
telephone connection (%)
Mode of transport auto rickshaw, jeep and similar to GUP
bus services
Sources of drinking water kuchha well, tube well, similar to GUP
artisan well and tap.
Most of the villagers are
using artisan well.
Health Number of primary health 1 primary health centre same primary health centre
centre at 1.5 k.m. as GUP at 1.5 k.m.
Government hospital 1 hospital at 15 k.m. at 1 hospital at 12 k.m. at
Udaipur Udaipur
Education Number of anganwadi 6 1
centre within 1 k.m.
Number of balwadi school 1 2
within 1 k.m.
Number of nursery school 1 Nil
within 1 k.m.
Number of junior basic 1 nil
school within 1 k.m.
Number of senior basic 1 1
school within 1 k.m.
Number of high school 1 1
within 1 k.m.
The table shows that the villages are similarly situated in terms of infrastructure. In terms of
electricity and telephone connections, Hadrabari is in superior position.

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5.4 Nature and Extent of Technological Change in Agriculture
Nature of technological change in agriculture is defined in terms of adoption of biochemical
and mechanical technological changes in rice production and extent is defined in terms of adoption of
technological changes in processing activities. Both the villages have adopted biochemical and
mechanical technological changes.
5.4.1 Adoption of Biochemical and Mechanical Technological Changes in Agricultural Production
Table 13 shows that
(a) Biochemical technological change in terms of use of HYV seeds, use of chemical fertilisers,
expansion of irrigation and mechanical technological change in terms of use of power
tillers/tractors have taken place in agricultural production in both the villages.
(b) In the case of use of HYV seeds, all small farmers (SFs) are using HYV seeds for cultivation in
GUP village but 55% land in Hadrabari village is cultivated by using HYV seeds and the rest is
cultivated by using traditional variety (TV) seeds by the SFs. All EMFs are using HYV seeds for
cultivation in both the villages. Most of the SMFs and NSMFs are using HYV seeds for
cultivation in both the villages. From the group discussion, it is found that a tendency to cultivate
traditional seed exists in some agricultural households because of at least four reasons: (i)
traditional variety rice fetches higher price, (ii) traditional variety rice is palatable, (iii) lower cost
of cultivation for weeding activities of traditional variety seeds, (iv) the quality of land is suitable
for traditional varieties giving more or less equal yield.
(c) Area under irrigation in gross cropped area is highest among SFs in GUP village while it is
highest among NSMFs in Hadrabari village. This is due to the distribution of the plots of land
around the irrigated area covered by the Government. In the Khariff season the demand for water
is less. But in the Rabi season the demand for irrigation water is more. Due to irregular supply of
electricity the villagers take the service of a person if electricity comes after 5 p.m. by paying
Rs.20 per kani. However, the appointed person is a male rather than a female because it is a night
duty.
(d) All farmers are using NPK for cultivation in GUP village. But in Hadrabari village, some of the
SFs and near SMFs use manure because they have bullocks. But the proportion of use of NPK is
less than the All-India average in both the villages. They use NPK in one season and in the other
season they use NPK, if required.
(e) In GUP, all SFs, SMFs and NSMFs use power tillers for land preparation activity. However, some
of the EMFs use power tillers and some use spades. In Hadrabari, some farmers use power tillers,
some use plough, some use spade and bullock and some use only spade for land preparation. In
GUP, EMFs want to curtail cost of production by employing non-wage male family labour using
spades. In Hadrabari, some of the SF households have plough and bullock, which are employed
in land preparation because there is scarcity of power tiller in peak season. A few of the SMF and
NSMF households also have bullock and they want to curtail cost of production by employing
non-wage family labour or exchange labour using spade. In the case of EMFs, the reason behind
not using power tillers is similar to GUP.
Table 13 Nature of Technological Change in Agriculture
Indicators Villages SF SMF NSMF EMF
1. Area under rice using GUP 100.0 82.5 91.32 100.0
HYV seeds in GCA (%) Hadrabari 54.41 88.89 100.0 100.0
2. Cropping intensity GUP 2.0 1.93 1.85 1.35
Hadrabari 1.86 1.61 1.77 1.79
3. Area under irrigation of GUP 100.0 87.5 88.1 72.41
GCA (%) Hadrabari 89.71 71.11 91.05 86.92
4. Use of NPK among GUP 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
farmers (%) Hadrabari 60.0 100.0 72.22 76.67
5. Use of power tiller/ GUP 100.0 100.0 100.0 50.0
tractor among farmers (%) Hadrabari 60.0 50.0 55.56 53.33
Source: Field Study (Aug’ 2002 – Aug’ 2006).

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5.4.2 Adoption of Mechanical Technological Change in Processing of Paddy
Mechanical technological change in terms of use of power tillers/tractors, paddy boiling
machine and husking machine has taken place in processing of paddy in GUP. However, in Hadrabari,
boiling machine is not used.
5.4.3 Participation in Work
One of the linkages through which technological change in agriculture may impact on
education and health status of females of agricultural households is the nature of their participation in
agricultural work (Haq, 2003). Participation in work is categorised as ‘occupation’ in public domain
and ‘activity’ in private domain. Occupational pattern is considered for both males and females as
‘head of households’ and individuals.
(a) Occupational Pattern of Head of the Households
In the case of occupational pattern of the head of the households it is found that:
The percentage of head of the households employed in the farm sector (49.6%) is almost
similar to the non-farm sector (50.4%) in GUP. The percentage is higher in the farm sector (61.4%)
than the non-farm sector (38.6%) in Hadrabari.
The percentage of head of the households employed in the farm sector is higher in Hadrabari
compared to GUP. Not only this percentage is more in Hadrabari compared to GUP, but also: (i) the
percentage of households who own cultivable land (48%, including rent seeking land owners*) is
more and (ii) the percentage of households occupied as agricultural labourer is less. It is 37% in
Hadrabari and around 54% in GUP. It is found for the female-headed households also. Among the
female-headed households, all heads are occupied in the farm sector where 81.8% heads are
agricultural labourers in GUP. In Hadrabari, 80% female heads are occupied in the farm sector where
50% are agricultural labourers.
The percentage of head of the households in the farm sector employed as share-cropper is
less in GUP than Hadrabari. The percentage of rent seeking land owners is less in GUP (1.6%)
compared to Hadrabari (16%).
The percentage of service holders in the non-farm sector is less in GUP compared to
Hadrabari.
The occupational diversification is more in GUP. In the case of non-farm activity, petty
business predominates in GUP and government service predominates in Hadrabari. Around 90% head
of the households are government service holders in Hadrabari. It is around 13% in GUP.
(b) Occupational Pattern of Individuals in the Age Group (15-59) Years
An almost similar pattern is found in the case of occupation of individual as well as
occupation of head of the households. It is found that:
The percentage of individuals occupied in the farm sector is more in Hadrabari compared to
GUP. The percentage of individuals occupied as agricultural labourer is less in Hadrabari.
In the non-farm sector, 80% are employed as government service holders in Hadrabari. In
GUP, it is around 11%. Petty business and wage labour predominate in this area.
(c) Occupational Pattern in Public Domain
Work participation is considered as wage labour in agricultural production and processing
activities in the case of public domain. Other forms of work participation like exchange labour@ and
share cropping are also taken into consideration.
(i) Participation of Females in Agricultural Production Activities as Wage Labour
No female of small farmer and subsistence marginal farmer households is working as
agricultural labourer in GUP. No female of small farmer households is working as agricultural
labourer in Hadrabari. There is only one old lady in a small farmer family in Hadrabari who is
involved as exchange labour due to customary habits that she still maintains. The participation of
females of NSMF and EMF households as agricultural labourer is higher in Hadrabari than GUP
(Table 19).
* rent seeking land owners are owners of land who do not operate the land themselves but lease it out for rent.
@
exchange lanour is a customary exchange of labour in tribal villages where there is no wage payment but a simple quid
pro quo relationship.

Page 9 of 17
Landless agricultural labourer households are working as wage labour or/and share-croppers
in both the villages. Female labour force participation rate as wage labour is higher in the agricultural
labourer households compared to the owner cultivator households in both the villages.
(ii) Participation of Females in Agricultural Processing Activities as Wage Labour
Activity of females in processing is very limited in nature. Females of agricultural labourer
households participate only for (a) threshing, boiling, drying and storage activities of paddy and (b)
winnowing as wage labour.
(iii) Gender Concerns
An indicator of gender gap in work participation in agriculture is the wage gap (WDIs, 2001).
Technological change in agriculture is likely to have asymmetric impact on females due to wage gap.
Another aspect which has to be considered in this connection is the survival strategies of females in
the lean seasons which can be taken as a proxy variable of opportunity cost of female labourer. This
also influences wage-gap. Domestic responsibilities tend to restrict the female mobility of labour
force which contributes to their availability at lower wages. The mobility of female labour is ofcourse
influenced by other factors also like transport and communication. The village study shows that:
 Male-female Wage-gap
During the field study it was found that the wage rate varies in Hadrabari for males from
Rs.60 to Rs.70 and from Rs.40 to Rs.50 for females. In GUP the wage rate varies from Rs.40 to Rs.60
for males and from Rs.30 to Rs.50 for females. In absolute terms, the male-female wage gap is
around Rs.20 in Hadrabari and Rs.10 in GUP. Therefore, the wage-gap is higher in Hadrabari.
However, due to scarcity of female labour in Hadrabari, the female wage rate is slightly higher. From
the perspective of gender gap, the gap seems to be more in Hadrabari which is a tribal village.
 Survival Strategies
Due to technological change with better irrigation facilities the boundary between lean
seasons and peak seasons is getting blurred. Yet, in those months when agricultural activities are less
(mid August – mid October) females of agricultural labourer households of the two villages adopt
slightly different survival strategies or types of work. The females of the tribal village remain within
the village showing very little mobility. Production of country liquor and loin loom activity to supply
pachra, which is procured by Government, are the main strategies adopted by the females of the tribal
village, i.e., Hadrabari. In the non-tribal village, i.e., GUP, there is more mobility of female labour
between villages in search of wage employment. If such employment is not available then the family
takes loan from owner cultivator households, which they repay by doing work in the peak seasons.
(d) Activity Pattern in Private Domain
Females do strenuous activity at home, which often remain unrecognised. These activities
can be broadly divided into two parts – (i) domestic activities and (ii) unpaid economic activities.
(i) Domestic Activities of Females
Both in GUP and Hadrabari females participation is high in cooking, cleaning utensils,
washing cloth, taking care of babies and collection of drinking water. But there is a difference in the
case of brooming.

Table 14 List of Domestic Activities of Females


Household Activity Participation by Females and Males Frequency
GUP Hadrabari GUP Hadrabari
H L N H L N
1. Cooking F - M F - M at least twice per day twice per day
2. Cleaning Utensils F - M F - M at least 4 times per day twice per day
3. Washing Cloth F - M F - M once/ twice per day once per day

4. Brooming F - M M - F once/ twice per day once per day

5. Taking Care of Babies F - M F - M cannot be clearly cannot be clearly


quantified quantified
6. Collection of Fuel Wood F - M - - M/F normally twice a week normally purchased

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7. Collection of Drinking Water F - M F - M once/ twice per day once/ twice per day
Note: H = High, L = Low, N = Negligible, M = Male, F = Female.
Source: Field Study (Aug’ 2002 – Aug’ 2006).
(ii) Unpaid Economic Activities
These activities can be divided into two parts – farm related and non-farm activities.
It is observed that in the case of paddy cultivation females are basically engaged in (i)
weeding, (ii) reaping and harvesting and (iii) threshing, boiling, drying and storage activities of paddy
in both the villages. But females of Hadrabari do transplantation activity also where as in GUP
females do not do such activity. Again in GUP, females are engaged in frying puffed rice in family
based business as a full time activity. Moreover, females are engaged in animal husbandry (piggery in
Hadrabari and milch cow and goat in GUP) as a family business in both the villages.
It is observed that females of Hadrabari do not work in any kind of non-farm related unpaid
economic activity. In GUP, females are engaged in activities related to selling of used cloth and
chanacur in family based business.
Table 15 Female Unpaid Economic Activities
Name of Village Farm Related Activity Non-farm
Related Activity
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
GUP No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hadrabari Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes Nil
Note: 1 = Transplantation, 2 = Weeding in the field in operational holding, 3 = Reaping and harvesting crop in
operational holding, 4 = Cleaning, boiling, drying and related activities of paddy, 5 = Threshing Manual, 6 =
Storing paddy, 7 = Frying Puffed Rice, 8 = Grinding of rice, turmeric, chilly using husking pedal (dheki), 9 =
Animal Husbandry, 10 = Cleaning, drying, stitching and ironing of used cloth for selling.
Source: Field Study (Aug’ 2002 – Aug’ 2006).
5.5 Status of Females
Status of females is analysed in three dimensions: social, health and education.
5.5.1 Social Status of Females
(a) Usual Living Arrangements: Strong preference for nuclear family is revealed in Hadrabari from
the analysis of the schedule of questions related to family particulars. However, both nuclear
family and joint family co-exist in GUP.
(b) Marital Mobility System: Both matriarchic and patriarchic marital mobility system exists in
Hadrabari. In GUP, only patriarchic marital mobility system exists. Thus security of ownership
and control over land of females seems to be more in Hadrabari compared to GUP.
(c) Dowry System: Dowry system prevails in GUP. No dowry death is reported in this village. This
system is negligible in Hadrabari. Moreover, the village elders call a family which is reported to
have taken dowry for bichar or social inquiry to discourage such practices.
(d) Inheritance Property Rights: Legally females have equal property right according to the law
(Hindu Succession Act, 1956). But in reality inheritance of property rights both on homestead
land and cultivable land exists partially in Hadrabari whereas it is negligible in GUP.
5.5.2 Health Status of Females
Health Status of females is considered as general and reproductive. Health status is
considered for different categories of agricultural households.
(a) General Health Status of Females
General health status is related to workload in public and private domains.
The workload of females of owner cultivator households is less compared to agricultural
labourer households in GUP. Workload related health stress is much more visible among the females
of agricultural labourer households. In the case of Hadrabari, a similar pattern is revealed. Some of
the ailments suffered by the females engaged in physical labour related to agricultural activities are
headache, chest and back pain etc.
Females of small farmer households do not participate in wage labour. They do domestic
work and farm and non-farm related unpaid economic work in both the villages. But at present a
generation gap is seen among the young couples. Females are not willing to participate in farm

Page 11 of 17
related unpaid economic activity. This tendency is comparatively higher in GUP than Hadrabari. They
are willing to participate in non-farm paid economic activities like private tuition, tailoring,
government service etc.
(b) Reproductive Health Status of Females
This study considers three aspects of health status: (i) access (ii) outcome and (iii)
perceptions. This analysis ultimately helps to highlight the reproductive health burden of females.
(i) Access aspect:
Regarding access for health care of villagers is narrated below from group discussion and
field visits.
Government Initiative:
There is one government primary health centre within 1.5 kilometer for the two villages.
There is no designated doctor at the primary health centre. There is one government hospital at
Udaipur, which is 15 kilometers away from GUP and 12 kilometers away from Hadrabari. A doctor
comes from the Udaipur hospital to visit during the time of vaccination to children.
Other Health Care Options:
(1) In Hadrabari, many villagers take homeopathic medicine for the general treatment of children
from a village quack. He gives medicine to the villagers in credit also. In GUP, villagers normally
approach the local chemist for minor diseases and private medical practitioners for more serious
diseases.
(2) During the time of pushing vaccination to children villagers go to the primary health centre in
both the villages.
(3) For delivery care except a very little percent of women, all women gave birth at home assisted by
mid-wife to curtail cost of child delivery. Only when midwives tell that the health condition of the
pregnant women is serious then the villagers go to Government hospital.
(4) For the general treatment of males and females villagers take homeopathic and allopathic
medicine. For allopathic medicine they consult local medicine shops and medicine shop at
Udaipur, private Doctors at Udaipur and at Agartala and Government Hospital at Udaipur and at
Agartala on the basis of degree of illness in both the villages. The villagers also try to get their
treatment in specialised medical colleges in the case of severe diseases. Such a cancer patient is
found in Hadrabari who is a male. In GUP, one such female patient was found. Both of them have
received treatment from Shilchar Medical College.
(ii) Outcome Indicators:
A comparative profile of outcome indicators of reproductive health status is given in Table
16.
Table 16 Reproductive Burden for Females for the Current Age-Group (15-49) Years
Indicators GUP Hadrabari
Child woman ratio for the current age-group (15-49)* L (27.10%) H (29.95%)
Gross reproduction rate for the current age-group (15-49)* H (2.94%) L (2.66%)
Motherhood among ever married women for the current age-group (15-49) years L (88.24%) H (92.13%)
Motherhood among fertile women for the current age-group (15-49) years* H (67.74%) L (56.52%)
Age of mother at the first child birth for the current age-group (15-49) years L ( 24.76%, H ( 26.55%,
highest in the highest in the
age-group 22- age-group 22-
24 years) 24 years)
Median age at first child birth 19.76 years 20.98 years
Births of order 3 and above among women for the current age-group (15-49) H (42.72%) L (36.75%)
Number of children ever born per ever married woman L (2) H (2.2)
Spacing of child births of less than 24 months L (9.52) H (22.22)
Methods of family planning
Pill H (39.5%) L (5.26%)
Female sterilization H (39.5%) L (26.32%)
No techniques L (21%) H (68.42%)
Male sterilization L (0 no.) H (1 no.)
Women reporting gap of less than 24 months for children ever born L (9.5%) H (15.39%)

Page 12 of 17
Women gave birth at home assisted by mid-wife (%) H (83.5%) L (48.72%)
Note: * means a deprivation indicator. H = High, L = Low.
Source: Field Study (Aug’ 2002 – Aug’ 2006).
From simple enumeration of highs and lows of the indicators reported in the table one notices that the
reproductive burden for females is higher in Hadrabari compared to GUP.
(iii) Perceptions on Health Care:
(1) In Hadrabari, poor households consult a village quack for the general treatment of children to
curtail cost of consultancy fee and cost of medicine. Moreover, village quack gives them
medicine on credit.
(2) For pre-natal and post-natal care and at the time of delivery, villagers approach local midwives to
curtail cost.
(3) Male and female sterilisation is an important method of family planning. However, due to
emergence of some legal hazards the medical practitioners do not feel safe to provide this service
at primary health centres.
(iv) Reproductive Health Burden
It has been pointed out above that mobility of female labour is constrained by the
responsibilities of private domain. Reproductive health burden is measured by two indicators (a)
CWR and (b) delivery place. It is found that CWR is quite high for EMFs. This is higher in Hadrabari
compared to GUP for all categories of agricultural households. In the case of delivery place, all
females of the EMFs gave birth at home assisted by midwives in both the villages. In the case of
owner cultivator household this proportion is lower.
Table 17 Health Status of Females of Agricultural Households
Indicators Village SF SMF NSMF EMF AL Total
(a) CWR GUP 25.0 0.0 40.0 33.3 10.0 17.91
Hadrabari 7.14 42.86 20.59 100.0 40.5 31.58
(b) Delivery Place (%)
GH GUP 25.0 Nil 12.5 Nil 6.1 7.0
RH 75.0 100.0 62.5 100.0 90.9 87.7
GH & RH Nil Nil 25.0 Nil 3.3 5.3
GH Hadrabari 20.0 25.0 25.0 Nil 7.7 14.0
RH 60.0 75.0 66.7 100.0 80.8 76.0
GH & RH 20.0 Nil 8.3 Nil 11.5 10.0
Note: GH = Government Hospital, RH = Respondent’s Home, AL = Agricultural Labourer.
Source: Field Study (Aug’ 2002 – Aug’ 2006).

5.5.3 Education Status of Females of Agricultural Households


The Table 18 shows that education status as indicated by drop-out children is clearly lower for
agricultural labourer households in both the villages. The dropout rate is higher in GUP.
Table 18 Educational Status of Females
Indicators Village SF SMF NSMF EMF AL Total
(i) Primary Level Complete GUP 100.0 37.5 11.77 6.67 8.62 15.53
(current age 11 and above) Hadrabari 66.67 80.0 58.14 60.0 42.86 63.16
(ii) Madhyamik Complete GUP 0 0 0 0 0 0
[current age (16-25)] Hadrabari 83.33 0 28.57 0 5.56 45.0
(iii) Out-of-School Children in GUP (a) 0 25.0 12.5 9.1 4.8 9.3
the Age Group (6-14) Years (b) 0 0 0 18.2 26.2 24.1
(a) Dropout Hadrabari (a) 0 0 0 0 22.2 14.3
(b) Never Gone to School (b) 0 0 0 0 0 0
Source: Field Study (Aug’ 2002 – Aug’ 2006).

5.6 Impact of Technological Changes


The impact analysis is carried out on the basis of both revealed preference approach and
stated preference approach. Revealed preference data were collected through semi-structured
questionnaire format. Stated preference data were collected through focused group discussion.

Page 13 of 17
(a) Impact on Owner Cultivator Households
The impact of technological change on participation of women of owner cultivator
households in agricultural work is summarised in the following table:
Table 19 Participation of Females in Agricultural Production
Activities as Unpaid Family Labour and Wage Labour
Name of Participation of Females in Agricultural Production
Village Activities as Unpaid Family Labour (%)
SF SMF NSMF EMF
GUP 0.0 0.0 25.0 50.0
Hadrabari 50.0 57.14 85.71 100.0
Participation of Females in Agricultural Production
Activities as Wage Labour (%)
GUP 0.0 0.0 8.33 40.0
Hadrabari 14.29* 28.57 34.29 33.33
Note : * = exchange labour and not wage labour
Source: Field Study (Aug’ 2002 – Aug’ 2006).
The table shows that participation of women in agricultural work tends to be higher in those
families who own and control smaller quantity of cultivable land.
(b) Impact on Agricultural Labourer Households
Impact on agricultural labourer households is classified in terms of participation in
(i) production and (ii) processing.
(i) Participation of Females in Agricultural Production Activities
In production, the use of power tiller/tractor has reduced the workload of male labour but not
of female labour. But the use of power tiller helps in crop diversification which in turn has increased
indirectly the demand for male and female labour. However, some parts of cultivable land are not
suitable for cultivation with power tiller. In this kind of land the demand for male and female labour
is not effected.
(ii) Participation of Females in Agricultural Processing
The introduction of husking machine for paddy processing has reduced the use of husking
paddle (dheki). The husking machine has reduced the workload of female family labour. Males
operate the machines. Thus the use of husking machine has reduced the demand for female labour.
The introduction of boiling machine has reduced the workload of females. The boiling
machine takes less time for boiling paddy. In this work female wage labour is used to reduce cost
because the male wage rate is higher and also it has been found in the village studies that in those
activities where males and females can participate equally, normally, female labour is choosen due to
the wage gap. However, it also depends on availability of female labour, opportunity cost of male
labour, job opportunities in non-farm sector, formation of self-help groups etc.
The Linkages
Similar technological change has taken place in both the villages. The nature and extent of
technological change is marginal and not strongly driven by market forces. Government policy
interventions are the major impulse of technological change found in these villages. But production
for self-consumption, limited technological change and absence of commercial organisation of
agriculture have kept the agricultural households of the two villages in a tradition bound and stagnant
form.
It may be mentioned that one of the major objectives of the village studies is to trace the
linkages, which may exist between technological change in agriculture and health and education
status of females of the households whose major occupation is agriculture. One expects that
technological change in agriculture shall have a positive impact on income of agricultural households.
This in turn will lead to an improvement in education and health status of females. The village studies

Page 14 of 17
show that technological change as measured by different indicators has been limited in its nature and
extent. The technological change, which has taken place, has been mainly ‘policy driven’ rather than
‘market driven’. This aspect of technological change is intimately linked with the extent of
technological change. Technological change to be effective needs integration of production,
processing and marketing. But in the villages studied, no technological change of significance was
noticed at marketing level. Technological changes have occurred mainly at production and processing
level. Even at these levels, technological change has remained limited to use of HYV seeds with weak
irrigation support and shortages in the supply of nutrients. It is observed that ownership of cultivable
land is an important determinant of the distribution of benefits of technological change among female
members of the households in terms of health and education status. Except for the ‘extreme marginal
farmers’, the female members of small farmers and other marginal farmers do not participate even as
family labour for agriculture activities not to speak of wage labour. The female members of
agricultural labourer households participate as wage labourers. They bear the ‘double burden’ of
heavy manual work in private and public domains. Thus their general and reproductive health status
as well as education status is lower than the status of female member of owner cultivator households.
Consequently at the macro level one-to-one correspondence may not be found between agricultural
development and health and education status of females. However, the difference in reproductive
health status of females of owner cultivator households and agricultural labourers is not very
significant in the case of the surveyed villages. The reason behind this phenomenon is not very
difficult to identify. First, the amount of ownership of land even among the owner cultivators is not
much above 6 kanis. Second, technological change is not yet market driven. As a result, considerable
improvement in the level of income has not occurred even for owner cultivator households.
Therefore, like the agricultural labourer households, the cultivators are dependent on health services
provided by the Government, which have high ‘implicit’ cost. In the case of educational status also a
similar economic logic is in operation.
VI
Concluding Remarks
One can summarise the conclusions of the study in terms of the three objectives of the paper
as indicated in Section I.
Tripura falls in the category of low public expenditure rank and medium health and
agricultural indices rank but high literacy rank among the 21 States of India.
Fifth Plan period is a watershed in technological change in agriculture of Tripura. From the
Fifth Plan period biochemical technological change in rice production began at a more rapid pace in
Tripura as indicated by area-yield accounting and stability analysis.
The benefits, which accrue to farmers, depend on their ownership and access on land. The
landless can gain only through higher employment opportunities. For cultivators who own land, even
if it is very little land, the impact is qualitatively different. Within these households, the situation of
the females again differs due to the gender-based division of labour. Females belonging to landless
agricultural households do low-skill manual work. They get lower wages than males. They have to do
unpaid economic activities at home. They have to bear the extra load of the domestic activity and face
reproductive health risk mainly due to weakness in public health care system in the rural areas.
Therefore, specific policy initiatives are necessary for females belonging to landless agricultural
households with a special focus on reproductive health, education, skill formation, capacity building,
awareness programmes, participation in PRIs and creation of bonds through self-help groups. It is a
matter of some satisfaction that these initiatives already exist in Tripura. What is to be stressed upon
is qualitative improvement of these initiatives. It is going to be a difficult uphill task. A task which is
of great importance to make the development process ‘inclusive’ and therefore, meaningful for all
segments of our society.

Page 15 of 17
Note: 1. An exploratory multiple regression analysis carried out for the study to quantify the impact of
technological change and social sector expenditure on an aggregate index of health and education
shows that it is the coefficient of technological change which is statistically significant.

Appendix 1
The regression equation is
HCI & ECI = - 0.14 + 0.489 ADCI + 0.567 PECI
Predictor Coefficient Standard Deviation t p
Constant -0.139 4.418 -0.03 0.975
ADCI 0.4893 0.1959 2.50 0.022
PECI 0.5666 0.3323 1.71 0.105
S = 0.2559 R-Sq = 25.8% R-Sq(adj) = 17.6%
Note: HCI & ECI is simple average of their composite indices.
Source: Same as Table 3.

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