Karnataka scores on growth, fails in equality

Karnataka scores on growth, fails in equality

When it comes to “growth” Karnataka scores a rank of 1.22 on the index

While Karnataka is third in the country in terms of growth, it badly lags behind other states when it comes to equality and sustainability, a nationwide assessment of states and Union Territories has found.

The findings were disclosed on Friday in the annual Public Affairs Index report which assesses the adequacy and quality of governance. It was published by the Karnataka-based think-tank, the Public Affairs Centre (PAC).

The data lays bare the often-contradictory growth pattern of the state when compared to other states. The assessments consider three primary “pillars” upon which the sustainability development of states and territories are judged: equality, growth and sustainability.

When it comes to “growth” Karnataka scores a rank of 1.22 on the index –- making it second in the country among large states (behind Kerala, which has a growth index rank of 1.42).

However, among small states, Goa has the top index rank of 1.93.

In contrast, when it comes to “equality”, Karnataka’s index value is an abysmal -0.609, which ranks it 12th among the large states, below states like Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Telangana. In fact, apart from Telangana, Karnataka is the only state in south India to have a negative ranking on the parameter of equality.

Aparna Sivaraman, Programme Officer at the think-tank and Team Lead for the index explained that states’ and UT data was standardised using either gross domestic product, population or geographical area to ensure that all states are competitive. 

She explained that “growth” is assessed in terms of gross state domestic product, employment levels and infrastructure improvements such as school buildings…etc. “Equality” is measured in terms of access to services, malnutrition, social inequalities, teacher-to-student ratios and other similar factors.

Gender imbalances in labour also play a role with a low female worker population ratio having a negative relationship to growth.

This indicates that the state economy is growing at the cost of widening gender disparities. 

“Interestingly, the data shows that while Karnataka has invested heavily in buildings and other infrastructure, it has invested less in human development and human capital,” Aparna said. She added, however, that there had been some improvement. “Last year, it ranked last among the large states – at 18th position,” she added.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) strongly correlate to “equality” such as SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (clean and affordable energy) and SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities).

Sustainability slip

On the matter of “sustainability,” Karnataka ranks fifth in the country among large states with an index value of 0.793. In contrast, the top small state, Goa, ranks 2.181.  

PAC said that the parameters of sustainability significantly influence overall performance in large and small states and Union Territories. Last year, Karnataka was at top place among large states with an index value of 1.45