New Delhi: Punjab, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra are the most developed states in terms of the quality of life index, according to the findings of latest study published on ‘Pattern of Development’ by Ajit Kumar Singh, economist and ex-director, Giri Institute of Developmental Studies.
On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh is among the least developed states in terms of quality of life. Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Assam are in the same league, the study adds.
The study has analysed the inter-state differences in the quality of life and levels of living across the major states of India. A composite quality of life index has been prepared using 17 indicators, covering various aspects like income and consumption level, quality of housing, health status and educational attainment of the population.
Himachal Pradesh, ranked first in 1990-91, has slipped to third rank in 2010-11. Kerala has jumped from second to first place and Punjab from third to second place.
Maharashtra remains in fourth position. Tamil Nadu has risen to fifth position from the sixth one. On the other hand, West Bengal and Assam have showed a decline in their rank over time, the study says.
“Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and Assam, according to the study, have occupied the lowest five positions in the quality of life index during these years,” Singh says, referring to his findings.
Thus, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir show a remarkable improvement in health status. Tamil Nadu and Kerala show a big jump in its position in the housing index, whereas Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra show a decline, according to the study.
Andhra Pradesh has improved in income levels and housing status, but has gone down in health and education status. Gujarat has shown improvement in education index. The study says Rajasthan shows a better performance in income levels, but a decline in the health and education index.
Uttar Pradesh and Assam have done poorly in case of educational status, the study says, adding, Bihar shows a decline in rank in the housing and health status.
“In general, the quality of life is better in richer states though there are some important exceptions,” he says, adding, “For instance, Kerala, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal enjoy a higher rank in terms of quality of life as compared to their rank in per capita state income. On the other hand, in case of Haryana, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, the reverse position is found, that is, their rank in quality of life is much lower as compared to their rank in per capita income.”
These, Singh says, reflect the differences in the development priorities in these states. Kerala, for example, was known to have done much better in terms of social development as compared to other states of the country, he says. On the other hand, states like Gujarat, which rank high on economic development, are lagging behind in social development indicators, the study says.
Singh says the states enjoying a better level of quality of life are relatively more urbanised as compared to the states which have a lower level in quality of life index.