2.5 Consumer durables
Ownership of consumer durables can also be taken as an indicator of the material well-being of households. To some extent, this aspect is implicit in the income and other indicators we have already discussed. Nevertheless, the contrast in the ownership of such consumer goods between the highest and the lowest quartile of households is quite striking and well worth noting. Table 5.5 shows that households in the lowest quartile own very little of even such goods as radio, table, chair, etc.
Table 5.5 Per Cent of Households Possessing Consumer Durables in Lower and Upper Per Capita Income Groups in Two Districts of Nepal
The discussions so far suggest fairly widespread and high levels of poverty in Nepal. How is this to be seen in the context of overall resource endowment? What potentials are there for improving the economic well being of the people? Attempts to answer these questions confront one with the fact that Nepal is basically a resource-poor country in fairly difficult circumstances. There are no known frontiers for easy exploitation except hydropower where the costs of development have been prohibitive. Land resources are being exploited as far as practicable. Although there is room for increasing agricultural productivity, this is not going to be easy given the difficulties of transport and marketing. While available distribution of land indicates very high levels of inequality, it is doubtful how far it can be used to alleviate poverty given the need to determine some minimum size of holdings by the different ecological zones. The overall picture is thus fairly dismal for Nepal even for the future.
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