Kerala best, UP worst, Odisha in between

By Dr. Santosh Kumar Mohapatra*

With assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh approaching nearer, the Yogi Adityanath government has resorted to advertisement blitzkrieg. Thousands of crores of rupees are being spent daily on the hideous and repulsive colour advertisement with Modi-Yogi faces spreading dishonest claims of Uttar Pradesh’s matchless progress.

Never any religion or mythology has preached that any ruler should spend such huge money for self-publicity, and aggrandisement when crores of people are languishing under poverty, starvation, unemployment and inequality. When lives and livelihood of people have been ravaged by the covid pandemic, such obsession for publicity and power is an insult to entire humanity. What is reprehensible is the brazen communal polarisation made to influence the electorates spurred by incendiary hatred, revulsion, violent campaigns, superstitions and religious fanaticism.

Hence, this is imperative to study whether UP has progressed or regressed under Yogi Adityanath. Before Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, there was a lot of debate between his Gujarat model and the Kerala model. Now Gujarat model is almost extinct and lost its significance and UP’s double engine model (BJP ruling both Centre and state) is projected as paradigm of progress. However, if the performance of Kerala and UP government is critically analysed, one can conclude that Uttar Pradesh is the worst, while Kerala is the best. Gujarat stands in between both Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.

The ruling BJP has been attempting to portray that Uttar Pradesh has transformed under the Yogi Adityanath government. But Uttar Pradesh has been ranked as the state with the worst governance among big states as per the latest Public Affairs Index, released in November 2021, a measure of states’ governance prepared by the Bengaluru-based think-tank Public Affairs Centre.

Uttar Pradesh ranked 18th rank, last along big states, while Gujarat obtained the fifth position for the quality of its governance. Kerala has once again been ranked as the state with the best governance, a position it has held ever since PAC started publishing the index five years ago. Non-BJP state governments- Tamil Nadu and Telangana – being ranked just after Kerala in the list belies double engine concept. Odisha has been ranked second-worst among 18 large states in India in governance

Public Affairs Index (PAI 2021) ranks the states and Union Territories based on three pillars of equity, growth, and sustainability along with 5 themes, 14 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and 43 indicators. Uttar Pradesh has not always featured at the bottom of the governance table, though. In 2016, when the PAC launched the first edition of the rankings, Uttar Pradesh ranked 12 (at that time PAC hadn’t included Telangana in their analysis) and its scores were better than Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Bihar.

In both equity and sustainability parameters, Uttar Pradesh has ranked last among big states this year. The rankings are based on data that the state and central government publish at regular intervals. Only in the growth parameter is Uttar Pradesh just better off than its neighbour Bihar. Growth mostly depends on health, sanitation, financial performance, and government expenditure on infrastructure and development. Uttar Pradesh’s efforts in countering air pollution are much worrisome.

Similarly, according to Niti Aayog’s Health Index report for 2019-2020- surveyed 19 large states, eight small states, and seven Union Territories- released on 27 December 2021, Kerala has again ranked as the top state in overall health parameters among larger states while Uttar Pradesh has been ranked as the worst-performing state. This is the fourth consecutive time that Kerala has emerged at the top of the list in overall performance. Other non-BJP state governments -Tamil Nadu and Telangana- have emerged as the second and third best performers, respectively, on health parameters. Odisha has slipped by two ranks compared to the previous year to be placed at 14th among the 19 larger states.

The survey ranked states on indicators such as neonatal mortality rate, under-five mortality rate, the sex ratio at birth, maternal mortality ratio, modern contraception prevalence rate, full immunisation coverage, antenatal care, identification and cure of TB, etc. Kerala was the best performer in several categories, including neonatal mortality rate and under-five mortality rate.

The India Justice Report (IJR) is an initiative of Tata Trusts in collaboration with the Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS-Prayas, Vidhi Centre for legal policy and how India lives. The maiden IJR was announced in 2019. These rankings were based on 53 indicators mainly ranking across police, prisons, judiciary, and legal aid, among others, reflecting the overall delivery of justice.

According to the India Justice Report (IJR) 2020, among 24 large and mid-sized, and smaller states, Uttar Pradesh came at the bottom among (second-worst) with a score of 3.15 out of 10 just ahead of Meghalaya (3.11). Gujarat is ranked sixth. Maharashtra fared the best with a score of 5.77 out of 10 followed by Tamil Nadu (5.73), Punjab (5.41), Kerala (5.36), Chhattisgarh (5.13), Gujarat (5.17), Haryana (4.94), and Odisha (4.90). This shows that non-BJP states are performing better than BJP ruled states.

Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite index that takes into consideration (1) health, (2) Education, and (3) per capita income. This is considered a substitute for GDP growth. In the HDI as of 2019, among the Indian states and union territories, Kerala tops the list while Uttar Pradesh is ranked second-worst with a rank of 35 just ahead of Bihar which is ranked 36th position. Gujarat is ranked at 21st while Odisha is ranked at 32nd position.

The report on ‘Household Social Consumption: Education in India as part of 75th round of National Sample Survey – from July 2017 to June 2018’ provides for state-wise detail of literacy rate among the persons aged seven years and above. According to the report, with 96.2 %, literacy, Kerala has once again emerged as the most literate state in the country, while Andhra Pradesh featured at the bottom with a rate of 66.4%. Out of 22 big states, Uttar Pradesh with 73%, the literacy rate is behind 17 states and paced at 18th rank. While Gujarat with a literacy rate of 82.4 %, ranked in 8th position, Odisha with a literacy rate of 77.3% ranked in 12th position

In December 2021, the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) released the report on the “State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India Index”. This Index is based on five pillars and 41 indicators within it. The five pillars are educational infrastructure, access to education, basic health, learning outcomes, and governance. In the ‘Small States’ category, Kerala grabbed the top spot while non-BJP ruled West Bengal topped the chart in the ‘Large States’ category on the ‘Index on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy’.

There is a huge gap between the scores of Kerala and the rest of the states of India. As per the scorecards, Kerala with a score of 67.95 and West Bengal with a score of 58.95 are the top-scoring regions in small and large states, respectively. Uttar Pradesh is the second-worst performer just better than Bihar. Gujarat (49.84) is placed at 5th rank.

The Niti Aayog’s Sustainable goals index: (SDG I) India Index 2020-21 was released on June 3, 2021. Since its inaugural launch in 2018, the index has been comprehensively documenting and ranking the progress made by States and Union Territories towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Index evaluates the progress of states and Union Territories on various parameters including health, education, gender, economic growth, institutions, climate change, and environment.

The SDG India Index 2020–21 is more robust than the previous editions. The 115 indicators incorporate 16 out of 17 SDGs, with a qualitative assessment on Goal 17, and cover 70 SDG targets. Among 28 states, Kerala retained its rank as the top state with a score of 75. Both Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu took the second spot with a score of 74. Gujarat placed at 10th position. Uttar Pradesh (being ranked 25th) is among the bottom 5 states and only better than Assam, Jharkhand, and Bihar. The Odisha State slipped four places in the SDG rankings from 15th to 19th place. Though, the composite score has improved from 58 to 61,

Net state domestic product (NSDP) is the state counterpart to a country’s net domestic product (NDP), which equals the gross domestic product (GDP) minus depreciation on a country’s capital goods. In 2019-20 Kerala occupies 9th position with a per capita income of Rs 2,45,323 against the national average of Rs 1,34,432, whereas Uttar Pradesh with a per capita income of Rs 74,141 occupies the second-worst position being ranked 32nd position, just ahead of Bihar whose per capita income of Rs 50,735. Gujarat with per capita income of Rs 2,43,761 occupies 10th position, while Odisha with Rs 1,19,075 occupies 26th position.

According to the latest India Corruption Survey (2019) conducted by the Local Circles and Transparency International India, Uttar Pradesh was ranked third worst corrupt in the list where 74% of citizens admitted to paying a bribe to get their work done.  Rajasthan tops the corruption chart in India, 78 % people in Rajasthan, participating in the survey, admitted to paying a bribe to get the work done. According to the list, Kerala is one of the least corrupt states, where only 10% of people admitted to paying a bribe to get their work done. Besides Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi are the least corrupt states. Bihar follows Rajasthan and was placed in the second spot. In Bihar, 75 % of citizens admitted to paying a bribe to get their work done.

According to India’s first-ever Niti Aayog’s first Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), Kerala (0.71%) has registered the lowest poverty across India, while UP has third highest poverty ratio (37.79%). Kerala has improved further as it had second lowest poverty ratio as per Tendulkar Committee report in 2011-12. Gujarat has poverty ratio of 18.6%. Bihar (51.91%) has highest poverty ratio followed by 42.16 % in Jharkhand. Odisha is ranked eighth from the bottom with 29.35% population found to be multi-dimensionally poor. While Madhya Pradesh (36.65 %) has been placed fourth in the index, Meghalaya (32.67 %) is at the fifth spot. Since, this MPI measure is based on the reference period of 2015-16 of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), Yogi Adityanath cannot be blamed till poverty ratio of his regime are unravelled.

If the allocation of expenditure on important sectors as a proportion of total budget outlay is considered, Uttar Pradesh is far behind many other states in 2021-22 as per the budget analysis of PRS India. If amount as a proportion of Budget allocated towards education is considered, in 2021-22, Delhi had the highest allocation with 25 % of the budget, while Kerala 15 %, Odisha 15%, Gujarat 14%. Uttar Pradesh is behind many states with only 13%. In the case of allocation towards health, Kerala had allocated 6.5%, Odisha 6.4%, Uttar Pradesh 6.3%, and Gujarat 5.7%.

In the case of social welfare and nutrition, West Bengal has the highest allocation of 15.6 %. While Kerala had allocated 6.9%, Odisha 6.7%, Uttar Pradesh 4.8%, and Gujarat 3.6%. In the case of agriculture and allied activities, Kerala had allocated 5.6 %, Odisha 7.4 %, Uttar Pradesh 2.8%, and Gujarat 4.4%. In the case of allocation on the welfare of SC, ST, OBC & minorities, Andhra Pradesh had the highest with 13.1%, Maharashtra 4.8 %, and Gujarat 2.4%. Kerala had allocated 2.2%, Odisha 2.3%, and Uttar Pradesh 1.1%. Only 9 states have lower allocation than Uttar Pradesh.

What is abominable is that, when Uttar Pradesh is sliding into the economic abyss, the crime rate has been increasing. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2020, Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of murders from 2016 to 2020. During this, 20,816 people were killed in the incident in different cities. From 2017 to 2019, 58,222 cases of kidnapping have been registered here. According to the National Commission for Women (NCW), 19,953 complaints of crimes were received against women from January to August last year. The number is up from the 13,618 complaints reported in the same period of time in 2020. More than half of these complaints (i.e., 10,084) came from the state of Uttar Pradesh alone. Hence, instead of resorting to publicity, BJP must improve the various indicators of UP and overall standard of livings of people apart from reducing criminal activities.



The author is an Odisha-based eminent columnist/economist and social thinker. He can be reached through e-mail at [email protected]

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of Sambad English


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