Santosh Kumar Mohapatra
With the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections around the corner the BJP government has resorted to advertisement blitzkrieg. An attempt is being made to portray that UP has transformed under the Yogi Adityanath government. What is reprehensible is the brazen communal polarisation made to influence the electorate spurred by incendiary, hate, violent campaigns, and religious fanaticism.
Before Modi became Prime Minister, there was a lot of debate between the Gujarat model and the Kerala model. Now the Gujarat model has lost its significance and UP’s double engine model is being projected as a paradigm of progress. However, if the performances of Kerala and UP are critically analysed, one can conclude that UP is the worst, while Kerala is the best.
UP 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 Bangalore-based think-tank Public Affairs Centre (PAC). UP ranked 18th, last among big states, while Gujarat secured the fifth position. 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 states – Tamil Nadu and Telangana – being ranked just after Kerala in the list belies the double engine concept.
Similarly, according to Niti Aayog’s Health Index report for 2019-2020, Kerala has again ranked as the top state in overall health parameters among larger states while UP 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 states – Tamil Nadu and Telangana – have emerged as the second and third best performers, respectively, on health parameters.
According to the India Justice Report (IJR) 2020, an initiative of Tata Trusts in collaboration with others, among 24 large, mid-sized, and smaller states, UP came at the bottom (second-worst) just ahead of Meghalaya. Maharashtra fared the best followed by Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Kerala, Chhattisgarh Gujarat, Haryana and Odisha. This shows that non-BJP states are performing better than BJP-ruled states.
In the Human Development Index (HDI) of 2019, among the Indian states and Union territories, Kerala tops the list while UP is ranked second-worst with a rank of 35 just ahead of Bihar which is ranked 36th.
The report on ‘Household Social Consumption: Education in India as part of 75th round of NSS – from July 2017 to June 2018’ provides for state-wise details of literacy rate among the persons aged seven years and above. According to the report, with 96.2 per cent literacy, Kerala has once again emerged as the most literate state in the country, while UP with 73 per cent was placed at 18th rank.
In December 2021, the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister released the report on the ‘State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India Index’. This index is based on five pillars such as educational infrastructure, access to education, basic health, learning outcomes, and governance. In the ‘small states’ category, Kerala grabbed the top spot while West Bengal topped the chart in the ‘large states’ category. There is a huge gap between the scores of Kerala and the rest of India. Uttar Pradesh is the second-worst performer just ahead of Bihar.
The Niti Aayog’s Sustainable Goals Index 2020-21 was released June 3, 2021. The index evaluates the progress of states and UTs on various parameters including health, education, gender, economic growth, institutions, climate change, and environment. Among 28 states, Kerala retained its rank as the top state followed by Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. UP (being ranked 25th) is among the bottom five states. In 2019-20, Kerala had occupied the 9th position with a per capita income of Rs 2,45,323 against the national average of Rs 1,34,432, whereas UP with a per capita income of Rs 74,141 occupied the second-worst position (32nd), just ahead of Bihar whose per capita income was Rs 50,735.
According to the India Corruption Survey (2019) conducted by the Local Circles and Transparency International India, UP was ranked third-worst corrupt state, while Rajasthan tops the chart followed by Bihar. Kerala is one of the least corrupt states. Goa, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi are the least corrupt states.
According to the Niti Aayog’s first MPI Index, Kerala (0.71 per cent) has registered the lowest poverty rate across India, while UP has third-highest poverty rate of 37.79 per cent. Kerala had the second-lowest poverty rate behind Goa as per the Tendulkar Committee report.
If the allocation of expenditure on important sectors as a proportion of the total Budget outlay is considered, UP is far behind other states in 2021-22. What is abominable is that when UP is sliding into the economic abyss, the crime rate in the state has been increasing. According to the NCRB 2020 report, UP had the highest number of murders (20,816) from 2016 to 2020. From 2017 to 2019, 58,222 cases of kidnapping have been registered in the state.
According to the National Commission for Women, 19,953 complaints of crimes against women were received from January to August this year across the country. More than half of these complaints (10,084) came from UP alone. Instead of resorting to publicity, the BJP must improve the various indicators of UP and overall standards of living of people apart from reducing criminal activities.
The writer is an Odisha-based economist and columnist.
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