Does Social Connectivity Influence Tap Water Access? Evidence from India
Contemporary assessment of water availability in India predicts that by 2020 close to 600 million Indians would be under water distress. The threat is more potent for the rural households as more than 80% of them are yet to have tap water within their premise. Public authorities have scaled up the rural water supply schemes and have set the target of universalizing indoor tap water in rural areas by 2024. In this background, using a panel of rural household water use data from 2005 and 2012 rounds of India Human Development Survey (IHDS), this paper attempts to empirically investigate whether the extent of social network influences the households’ access to the public water supply via tap water connection. Our paper shows that even in water-scarce areas the planners might fail to tap the potential demand for tap water if community ties are weak and households are not well integrated into social network. We find that if access to public water schemes is contingent on the intensity of social ties, it might exclude asset poor and socially disadvantaged groups from its ambit. Our result, thus, suggests that strengthening networks including poor households and scaling up of information and communication activities might be effective strategies to ensure increased access to piped water.
KeywordsDrinking water India human development survey PROBIT Recursive bivariate PROBIT
JEL ClassificationsC35 H44 Q58
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