Kishanganj block was one of the first blocks where DD started its work in June of 2001. However, Kishanganj remains a challenge to development planners. Situated in the Aravali mountain range, it receives fair rainfall. Nearly half of the land of the block is covered by forest/degraded forest. Apart from a small number of better-off communities, the inhabitants of Kishanganj block are economically impoverished and socially reclusive.
More than 47% of the population consists of SC and ST communities who live in deeper poverty than the rest. Saharias, which comprise about 32% of the population, are characterized as 'primitive tribes'. They survive on the verge of destitution and seem comfortable only in each others' company, Residing in separate locations in each village, often on a hilly slope, their belongings are few and they rarely have access to potable drinking water. Smaller groups of Kheruas and Banjaras are in similar condition. Living hand-to-mouth, they migrate each year to neighbouring areas in search of food and work.
The literacy rate for rural Kishanganj was only 52.88% in 2001, compared to that of Baran district’s 60.37% and Rajasthan state’s 60.41%. Deprived of educational opportunities, women show a literacy rate of only 35.83%, whereas the figure for men is 68.36%. The block has a comparatively high participation rate in elementary education for the 6–14 age group (77.86%), as compared to the district's rate (83%) and the state's rate (81.74%). This, however, hides the data for people from marginalised communities.
Table: Literacy rate
· Though the block lacks in the educational facilities provided by State Government, the effect of Shiksha Karmi and Lok Jumbish Project, which was run with the financial support of SIDA, can be seen. In 1994 the participation rate of students through school mapping came out to be 50.52% for boys and 34.67% for girls. Similarly the achievement level (through the study conducted by Lok Jumbish) of students of grade I and II was below 30%
Gender and Health Scenario:
The ratio of females to males in the block is 901:1000, much lower than the state's proportion. The mean age of 15.4 years for female marriage in Rajasthan is already alarmingly low, but in Baran district it is 14.4 years. Health and reproductive health information can be seen in data relating to vital rates. The situation in Baran district is similar to that in all Rajasthan, but the state indicators are also very low. The report of the NFHS indicates that the introduction of empowering processes for women has a bearing on their health and attitude towards family size. The NFHS points out that although in Rajasthan a large number of persons in the 15–19 age group are married and living together, there is practically no inter-spouse communication and hardly any knowledge about family planning.