Four Union Territories (UTs) feature among the top-10 performers in the inaugural edition of the Social Progress Index (SPI) with Puducherry bagging the top rank. It is followed by the UTs of Lakshadweep (second), Chandigarh (eighth) and Jammu & Kashmir (tenth).
Among the states, Goa (third), Sikkim (fourth) and Mizoram (fifth) have found place in the top-10 pecking order.
The index, released on Tuesday, has been prepared for the states, UTs and districts of the country by the Institute for Competitiveness and Social Progress Imperative. It was mandated by the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (EAC-PM).
The index uses 12 components across three critical dimensions of social progress to make the assessment. They are Basic Human Needs (like nutrition and basic medical care, water and sanitation, personal safety and shelter), Foundations of Wellbeing (access to basic knowledge, access to information and communication, health and wellness, and environmental quality), and Opportunity (personal rights, personal freedom and choice, inclusiveness, and access to advanced education).
Puducherry has the highest SPI score of 65.99 in the country. It is attributed to its remarkable performance across components like personal freedom and choice, shelter, and water and sanitation.
Lakshadweep and Goa closely followed with scores of 65.89 and 65.53, respectively.
Based on the SPI scores, states and districts have been ranked under six tiers of social progress. They include ‘Very High Social Progress’, ‘High Social Progress’, ‘Upper Middle Social Progress’, ‘Lower Middle Social Progress’, ‘Low Social Progress’ and ‘Very Low Social Progress’.
Among major states, Tamil Nadu and Kerala feature in the top-10 pecking order. On the other hand, Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand feature at the bottom of the rankings. Among districts, Aizawl — with a score of 72.9 — tops the chart.
For the dimension of ‘basic human needs’, Goa, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, and Chandigarh are in the top four.
Under the ‘foundations of wellbeing’, Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, and Goa have emerged the best-performers.
Lastly, Tamil Nadu has scored the highest in the ‘opportunity’ dimension.
In addition, the report also highlights progress made by the 112 aspirational districts in the country. This will help them track their social progress journey and understand the areas that require attention.
Michael Green, chief executive officer (CEO), Social Progress Imperative, said that the SPI report unleashes the power of benchmarking. It also offers a tool that is relevant to governments at the national and state levels.
According to him, scalable and practical actions can be taken to deliver to the people of India.
“It can act as a common language for the government, businesses and civil society to work towards bringing inclusive growth by focusing on economic and social progress alongside,” he added.