This paper is intended to provide a much needed social grading for rural India. The problems in defining a rural socio-economic classification in India are presented and the previous efforts in this direction are discussed. The drawbacks of these attempts are highlighted and a novel approach is adopted to identify the powerful discriminators. Based on this approach a socio-economic classification is recommended. Using two large databases of rural India the discriminating power stability and other desirable features of our proposed classification are assessed. Rural SEC as defined by us emerges as a clear winner when compared with other potent and promising candidates. It is believed that this classification will fulfill the requirements of both research users and practitioners for years to come.