Recently, Public Affairs Index (PAI) - Governance in the States of India- 2021 has been released. The research work is done by Public Affairs Centre (PAC). In addition to this, the PAC has been using many innovative Social Accountability Tools (SAT). These tools are used to decipher the concept of governance and to measure the quality of public services. By considering the magnitude of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as a benchmark, the PAC is focusing its research on India as a country as well as its States and Union Territories as a whole.
We understand that our country is an amalgamation of many cultures, beliefs, mannerism, political ideologies and different social stratifications. Each State is featured with its own uniqueness and separate socio-economic-political background. So this action based research tries to uncover the perplexed individual State driven governance activities. In short, the PAI-21 is all about measuring the governance.
The PAI-21 is a rigorous strategic research report having 29 States and 6 Union Territories in its umbrella. The States are categorised in two folds on the basis of population such as large States and small States. The quality of governance has been analyzed on the basis composite index. This is pyramidal in nature. On top of the pyramid, the governance is measured on three pillars such as Equity, Growth and Sustainability. Each pillar is regulated by five governance themes. The five themes are Voice and Accountability, Government effectiveness, Rule of law, Regulatory Quality and Control of Corruption. At the bottom of the pyramid, there are 43 composite indicators which are mapped by 14 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are relevant to the Indian States and UTs.
In the overall governance performance on large State division, Kerala ranks the top position amongst 18 States while UP is in bottom. In small State category, Sikkim stands as rank one out of 11 small States and Puducherry as number one in UTs division. Odisha is in large State division. It jumps to 16th rank in 2021 as opposed to its 17th rank in 2020. The poor governance performance is still a worry for Odisha. By contrast, its neighbouring State Jharkhand shows alacrity to improve its governance performance. In the year 2020, Jharkhand rank in PAI was 15th but in 2021, it is on 9th position.
As stated earlier, the performance of governance is broadly measured on three pillars. On the Equity pillar front, Gujarat tops the list the PAI-21 ranking in large State division. Whereas Sikkim and Puducherry are on first positions in the small State and UT segments respectively. The performance of equity in governance in Odisha is alarming as stated by this research report. In Equity principle ranking, Odisha slips two positions. We find Odisha on 17th rank as compared to its 15th rank last year. The equity pillar in governance measures the inclusiveness impact in State level. Equity is all about accessing and providing equal opportunities to all groups of society.
These are meant to improve the wellbeing and quality of life. It can be achieved when welfare is internalised with government policy.
Equity should not delimit its scope within health, education, housing or transportation.
In terms of growth rankings, second pillar of governance performance, Odisha shows a vertical move. Odisha is placed at 13th rank in 18 large States in PAI-21 as compared to its 16th rank in 2020. It shows that governance in Odisha is keen to utilise its resources.
These resources include human, physical and economic resources. Further it is also observed that Odisha is improving in capacity building, enhancing skill training and reducing unemployment. Similarly, growth of informal economy and non-farm employment has helped to improve Odisha ranking in growth based performance in governance.
In the national level large State division, Telegana has ranked Ist in this category. In small States, Goa and in UTs , Puducherry are in top positions.
In the last category of Sustainability pillar, Odisha shows a remarkable progress. It jumps four spots. Odisha ranks 12th position in PAI-21 as opposed to its 16th position in PAI-20. The Sustainability pillar analyses the access to and usage of resources that has an impact on environment, economy and humankind. The pillar finds that the Odisha Government has been putting efforts with regard to sustainability. Kerala, Mizoram and Puducherry are in top positions in large States, Small State and UT categories, respectively.
There is much good news for Odisha in the last two findings. One segment is Delta analysis. The PAC has taken another parameter named as Delta analysis to measure the State Government performance on year-on-year improvement. It is analysed under 12 key development indicators with last 10 years data. The PAI-21 has categorically mentioned that Odisha and Nagaland have shown the best year-on-year improvement under 12 Key Development indicators. In terms of growth, equity and sustainability, Odisha has shown a largest growth and has been performing well in delta analysis. In the last one decade, the State has been achieving many milestones under the leadership of CM Naveen Patnaik despite many natural calamities and catastrophes.
Last finding is overwhelming for Odisha. Final segment is the Scheme segment analysis. It adds another dimension in the State and UT rankings in PAI-21. There are some Centrally Sponsored Schemes such as the National Health Mission (NHM), Integrated Child Development Services scheme (ICDS), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SmSA) and Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS), which are included in the Governance Model to understand whether better performance of States in schemes reflect in better governance. There are two divisions 60:40 and 90:10. It means the funding for Centrally Sponsored Schemes that is divided between the Centre and States in the ratio of 60:40 for general States and 90:10 for special category States respectively. Odisha falls under 60:40 division. In NHM scheme, Odisha ranks itself in 8th position.
In Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) , Odisha is the topper. Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) scheme also brings good news for Odisha. As per PIA-21, Odisha has ranked 5th place in large State divisions. Odisha is placed in 2nd position in Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SmSA). Despite a hue and cry, in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Odisha ranks itself in 3rd position.
However, it6 is expected that these PIA-21 findings will compel the Naveen Government to act more on governance front.
(Dr Parida is an Assistant Professor in Sociology. Email:email@example.com)