Three southern states, led by Kerala, have emerged at the top of the rankings of 29 Indian states in a new good governance index for the country released by Public Affairs Centre, an NGO in Bengaluru.
The first Public Affairs Index on good governance, measuring aspects like economic, social and infrastructure development in states, was released by former Chief Justice of India M N Venkatachaliah Saturday.
The index has ranked Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat as the top five states in terms of governance after measuring them against 10 parameters comprising 25 subjects and 68 development indicators.
“The balancing of all 10 themes, including economic, social, infrastructure and other aspects of governance, has given an edge to this small coastal state,’’ the Public Affair Index (PAI) report on governance has stated about Kerala’s ranking.
“The social balance in the population in terms of religious groups and the high place that it has traditionally accorded to women, the huge advancements made in the areas of health and education, accessibility of the state to influences from across the seas, the slant in political environment towards a leftist and socialistic economy, etc., have all contributed to the special nature of the social and economic backdrop against which the people of the state have evolved,’’ the report stated.
“Significantly, as opposed to the Kerala model of development, the contrasting model of development of Gujarat, while still significant in the ranking, falls below the top states because of the comparatively lesser rank it holds in certain social indicators,’’ added the report.
The PAI also ranked a dozen states with a less than 2 crore population separately and found that Mizoram had the best governance among small states, followed by Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.
“The PAI is an honest attempt to create a device to measure governance,’’ C K Mathew, senior fellow at the PAC and one of the main architects of the report, said.
The data for the index was obtained from central government agencies that collate them. “Only secondary data has been used. The two exceptions are the variables related to underweight children and education learning levels, sourced from UNICEF and ASER reports,’’ Mathew said.
“It has been noted that states that do well in health also almost necessarily do well in education as well, as also in issues related to the well-being of women,’’ the PAI report has stated.
Kerala Chief Secretary Jiji Thompson, who was present at the release of the government index, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had heaved a sigh of relief, as a World Bank report had slotted the state at number 18 for ease of doing business a few months ago.