New Delhi: With less than six months left for the assembly elections, the Yogi Adityanath government has received some less than flattering news, as Uttar Pradesh has been ranked the big state with the worst governance.
According to the latest Public Affairs Index, a measure of states’ governance prepared by the Bengaluru-based think-tank Public Affairs Centre, Uttar Pradesh has scored the last rank (18) for the quality of its governance.
The index is a composite score for three broad factors — growth, equity and sustainability — which are based on 43 indicators.
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.
ThePrint Thursday afternoon reached Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary for Information Navneet Sehgal by text for a comment on the report. This article will be updated when a response is received.
Timeline of bad governance
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 2017, however, the state’s ranking slipped to the 14th position, which it retained in 2018. But it slipped again in 2019, when the state ranked 17, just ahead of Odisha.
Since 2020, UP has been stuck at the bottom.
The ranking comes even as the ruling BJP has been attempting to portray that Uttar Pradesh has transformed under the Yogi Adityanath government.
Why so bad?
Since the first report came out, the PAC has changed its methodology of ranking the states. In 2016, the report was based on 10 themes derived from 68 indicators, which have come down to three ‘pillars’ based on 43 indicators.
Back in 2016, Uttar Pradesh had been ranked number 1 in fiscal management, which was based on how a state spent (per capita) on development and how it managed its financial performance, such as keeping the financial deficits in check.
The state also ranked among the top 10 in having essential infrastructure, social protection, delivery of justice, transparency and accountability, and economic freedom.
Since 2019, the index has become more comprehensive focusing on three broad parameters — growth, equity and sustainability.
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.
Equity scores for the states were based on five themes — voice and accountability (social protection, malnutrition, women representation in power, real wages and slum population); effectiveness of government (infant mortality rate, rural indebtedness, deprivation); rule of law (prevalence of homicides, unsentenced detainees in prisons, crimes against SCs, STs, children and women); regulatory quality and control over corruption.
“The state performing consistently in the bottom over the years under the Equity Pillar in the large states category is Uttar Pradesh. The state places itself in the bottom of the rankings under SDGs (sustainable development goals) 5 (Gender equality), 3 (good health and well-being) and 10 (reduced inequalities),” said the report.
It also wrote in detail about the specific statistics pulling UP’s ranking down.
“Apart from these SDGs, Uttar Pradesh also ranks last in terms of dowry deaths per 10 lakh population (2,410 cases reported against the national average of 244 cases) as per the statistics released by National Crime Records Bureau in 2019,” the report added. “Rate of crimes against ST is registered at 63.6% in the state. Infant mortality is as high as 64% in the state; this is also attributed to the state’s high stunting (46.3%), wasting (17.9%) and underweight (39.5%) in children below five years of age.”
Sustainability parameters were scored on the basis of share of cleaner energy, solid waste management, and control over environmental pollution and corruption.
“Ranking last in the sustainability pillar is Uttar Pradesh, performing second last in SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), sufficient to drag down its performance significantly,” the report reads.
The report also said that SDG 11 alone has the potential to change a state’s performance significantly.
“With annual PM10 levels of 198, Uttar Pradesh’s efforts in countering air pollution are much worrisome,” it stated.
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.
This report has been updated to reflect ThePrint’s request for comment from the UP additional chief secretary for information.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)