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Indian Human Development Survey, 2015 (IHDS)-Trust on govt. institutions

  • 15 April, 2021

  • 8 Min Read

Indian Human Development Survey, 2015 (IHDS)-Trust on govt. institutions

Importance of trust

  • There is a positive relationship between trust and the development of financial markets.
    • Operation of these markets is contingent on the trustworthiness of debtors, as legal methods of recovery of dues are fraught with delays and heavy expenses.
  • Turning to labour markets, higher trust manifests in ‘higher levels of cooperative relations between labour and management and higher levels of unionisation.
    • In fact, firms that have unions representing their employees are better able to adapt to new management methods and show better productivity.
  • Evidence suggests a strong positive correlation between trust and the quality of the legal system.
  • There is a similar correlation between trust and the quality of governance.

The key term is confidence

  • A unique feature of the 2005 and 2012 rounds of the IHDS is that they ask a question on trust.
  • Trust in public institutions is measured in terms of levels of confidence: a great deal of confidence, only some confidence and hardly any confidence.

About Indian caste hierarchy:

  • Caste hierarchy reflects socio-economic status. Brahmins are at the top, followed by High Castes, Other Backward Classes/OBCs, and then the deprived including Scheduled Castes/SCs and Scheduled Tribes/STs.
  • The residual category of Others is mixed but akin to High Castes. Hence, General combines Brahmins, High Castes and Others, while other castes are as stated.
  • Although affirmative action (e.g., quotas for SCs, STs and OBCs in education and public sector employment) has benefited these groups, segments of SCs and STs are still among the most deprived and vulnerable to poverty.

Level of confidence among the govt. institutions

  • A vast majority of households surveyed lacked confidence in State governments in 2012.
  • A large majority reported a great deal of confidence, a moderate proportion had only some confidence and an extremely small proportion had hardly any confidence on Judiciary.
  • A low proportion had a great deal of confidence in the police, a majority had only some confidence and a more than moderate proportion had hardly any confidence.

Thus among these institutions, the most trusted was the judiciary, followed by State governments and then the police.

Confidence on institutions among different caste groups

  • In the composite caste category, General, the highest proportion (under half) had only some confidence, under 30% had a great deal of confidence while about a quarter had hardly any confidence.
  • A high proportion of OBCs also reported a great deal of confidence, a much higher proportion displayed a great deal of confidence and a much lower proportion had hardly any confidence.
  • In sharp contrast, among SCs, the highest proportion (under 45%) displayed a great deal of confidence, a smaller proportion had only some confidence and a much smaller proportion with hardly any confidence.
  • STs, however, display a pattern not dissimilar to OBCs.

About IHDS

  • The IHDS is a unique resource for researchers, policymakers and journalists. 
  • IHDS 1 was conducted in 2005-2006, and IHDS 2 in 2011-2012
  • There is an 85% interview rate between the two surveys. India has experienced two decades of breathtaking transformation and IHDS has * documented the concurrent demographic change. 
  • IHDS 3 will be slated for release in 2023.
  • IHDS 1 and 2 were designed to complement existing Indian surveys by bringing together a wide range of topics in a single survey.
  • This breadth permits analyses of associations across a range of social and economic conditions.
    • For example, studying children's outcomes (e.g., learning, immunizations) requires joint consideration of the role of poverty, family structure, gender relations, community context, and the availability of facilities.
  • IHDS 3 is currently under construction and we are pleased to announced it will be a Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) survey. 
    • CAPI facilitates skip patterns, logic checks, and validations throughout the interview process. 
    • We believe we will see an enormous improvement in the quality of data collected.
  • IHDS is a collaborative project from the University of Maryland, College Park; the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in Delhi; Indiana University and the University of Michigan.


Quota as a reason

  • SCs display so much confidence in State governments because of quotas.
  • While those higher-up in the socio-economic hierarchy are likely to have other options (stemming from relative affluence), SCs are largely reliant on state munificence.
  • STs, in contrast, while also dependent on quotas, are so isolated that they have limited experience of social safety nets.
  • Yet another striking contrast emerged for the police as a law enforcement agency.
    • A great deal of confidence varied within a narrow range of 13%-18%, with the lowest among STs.
    • Over 30% displayed hardly any confidence, with the highest among SCs and STs.
    • This is not surprising given rampant corruption and discrimination against lower castes.

Need for inclusion

  • One component of trust is shaped by beliefs inherited from earlier generations, and another by a contemporaneous environment.
  • Trust in these institutions rose between 2005 and 2012.
  • However, recent accounts indicate a sharp erosion of trust, presumably because of State government policies that are far from inclusive, judicial verdicts that do not conform to high standards of autonomy and fairness, and police actions that violate the rights of citizens, and are often brutal.
  • While inculcation of initial beliefs is bound to be slow, the transition to a policy environment that is inclusive and transparent is daunting too but growing awareness among the citizens is likely to facilitate it.

Source: TH


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