Friday, September 15

The Real State of the State

India Today's 'State of the States' poll, indicating ranking of states, ranked Punjab as the number one state of India. This led to a very predictable media campaign by the state government touting the ranking. But the state government had so much to hide going by the special report of the newsmagazine.

The story begins with an ominous headline The Leader' Last Hurrah with a subhead suggesting that the ranking of states points to a clear upset in the making. "Toppers beware!" it exclaims. "The question is not whether Punjab will cease to be India's most prosperous is when will other states overtake" reads the opening of the analysis of the data.
The fourth annual India Today study done by economists Bibek Debroy and Laveesh Bhandari is at pains to mark out that while ranks are more eye-catching, one should not read too much into them. Ranks aren't a good indicator of states' performance over the years either. So we had Punjab ranked first on the strength of combined score in eight areas: budget and prosperity, agriculture, consumer markets, primary education, primary health, law & order, infrastructure and investment environment. Each of these included six-eight key variables ranging from percentage of population above poverty line to inflation, from area under cash crops to loans extended to farmers, from number of policemen per lakh people to the infant mortality ration, from the teacher-pupil ration to per capita bank branches. Punjab is a clear winner mostly because of its past performance. Barring agriculture, infrastructure, consumer markets, Punjab's score has slipped on all other indices in 2003-06. Punjab along with Bihar is at the bottom of the physical capital index that includes percentage growth in households electrified and in road length and fixed capital. In fact, along with Orissa and Bihar, Punjab has been termed as the slowest growing state, notwithstanding its good ranking overall.

Punjab's ranking on different parametes out of 20 big states, it's score for the current year and change in 2006 score from last year's score respectively

Parameters Rank Score Change
Overall First 2.65 0.14
Law & Order Thirteenth 0.48 -0.10
Agriculture First 5.38 1.35
Primary Education Sixth 2.72 -0.07
Primary Health Fifth 1.67 0.05
Infrastructure First 3.37 -0.40
Consumer Market First 2.60 0.16
Investment Environment Sixth 2.02 -0.05
Budget & Prosperity First 2.96 0.20

Some more findings of the study:

  • Punjab ranks last but one on physical potential parameter. At 2.37% growth in physical capital index (%growth in households electrified, road length and fixed capital) the state has only Bihar below it.
  • On Human capital index, Punjab ranks sixth at 3.14%. This took into account percent growth in share of graduates in total population and share of 26-40 year old in population.
  • On the measure of states growth according to their potential, Punjab ranks ninth.
  • Punjab is eleventh in the governance rank.
  • On growth chart, Punjab ranks eleventh with 4.54% annual growth in gross domestic product in the 1990s.

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