Despite the political instability and the public protests seen in the recent past, Tamil Nadu continues to be ranked second in terms of governance, according to Public Affairs Index
2018. The index, which has been developed by Bengaluru-based think tank Public Affairs Centre, is based on 10 themes. These include essential infrastructure, support to human development, social protection, women and children, crime, law and order, delivery of justice, environment, transparency and accountability, fiscal management and economic freedom.
The latest index released by PAC shows that Kerala has been ranked as the number one state in terms of governance for the past three years, followed by Tamil Nadu. Four out of the five states in southern India have scored among the top five states in the country in terms of governance. The index shows that Telangana, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka follow the top two states.
Tamil Nadu has shown an improvement in overall ranking on crime, law and order (from 3rd in 2017 to 2nd in 2018), transparency and accountability (from 27 in 2017 to 17 in 2018), social protection (from 18 to 9), women and children (from 15 to 7) and support to human development (from 13 to 7). It has slipped on essential infrastructure (from 4 to 5), delivery of justice (from 2 to 5), fiscal management (from 9 to 18) and economic freedom (from 8 to 12), but has maintained ranking on environment at two.
The ranking comes on the heels of claims by Opposition parties that the state has been facing challenges in the form of a spate of agitations. The ruling All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has been facing various issues after the death of its leader J Jayalalithaa, following which the party has split into more than two factions.
Meanwhile, Telangana, which had an overall ranking of 20 in 2017, has shot up to third place in the new index. It has also been the best in fiscal management in 2017 and 2018, where the financial responsibility, including optimal resource allocation and enhanced productivity of public revenue and expenditure to achieve efficiency, economy and equity has been guaged using various parameters, said the index.
Karnataka has slipped from third position in 2016 to fourth in the overall index in 2017, but has stayed put in 2018. Andhra Pradesh has improved its position from an overall ranking of 14 in 2017 to nine in 2018. Karnataka also rose to number one on environmental parameters, heading past Arunachal Pradesh, while Tamil Nadu held second spot for the third consecutive year. The total number of indicators for this were seven, namely suspended particulate matter, SO2 and NO2 emissions, environmental violations, addition and depletion in forest cover and renewable energy as a percentage of total energy generated.
Among smaller states, Jammu and Kashmir held its position as the best in terms of governance for the second consecutive year, followed by Himachal Pradesh.
"In the current edition of PAI 2018, our special focus subject is 'The Children of India'. We examine issues related to their health and education, right to life, and institutional framework within the governmental structure that sustains and protects this precious resource," said the Public Affairs Centre.
"The overall picture is somewhat dismal and disappointing: as a people, we need to shed more than a few tears for them. It is our hope that our examination of issues related to welfare and development of children, the sensitive issues that continue to plague them, the crying need to see them as our future citizens, shall attract the attention of the states and force them to invest in them in a manner that they grow to be productive and empowered citizens of the country," it added.