The Uttar Pradesh Paradox

The Uttar Pradesh Paradox: why do states which send the highest proportion of female MPs to parliament also have such high gender inequality? Date of Release: January 14th, 2015 Published in: The Political Indian Since his election, our Prime Minister has made the promotion of gender equality a central policy priority. On October 11th, he declared “[L]et us pledge to create an atmosphere of equality for the girl child. There is no question of any discrimination based on gender.” How does this political goal translate into implementation? Women’s increased representation in political office is often seen as a crucial step to increasing gender equality more broadly, besides being an important shift in and of itself. Indeed, the Rajya Sabha has already passed a bill that would amend the Constitution to reserve 33% of seats in the Lok Sabha and in state legislatures for women. An analysis of states that currently send comparatively high proportions of women to the Lok Sabha reveals an unusual paradox: many states that perform well nationally in terms of female representation in Parliament have some of the highest levels of gender inequality. Nevertheless, in absolute terms women’s representation in the Lok Sabha is still extremely low. Women in Parliament during the 16th Lok Sabha.[Link] As the Swaniti Initiative’s JIgyasa heatmap from the 16th Lok Sabha shows, there is no particular pattern to which states have high representation of women in parliament and which do not. Some states with high representation, like Kerala, are widely regarded as having greater gender equality. However, what is seemingly incongruous is the comparatively high proportion of female MPs in states like...

Lessons from North-East for Harnessing Renewable Energy Sources

Date of Release: November 11th, 2014 Published at: Indian Express Earlier this month, Piyush Goyal, the Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy, pledged to make India a “renewable superpower” over the next few years, with a renewed commitment to solar power. India’s Central Governments have long pledged a ‘greener grid’, and undertaken efforts such as the institution of the National Action Plan on Climate Change, commitments to supply electricity to over 300 million citizens by leveraging renewable sources, and the organization of India’s First Global Renewable Energy Investors Summit in early 2015, in an attempt to develop the nation’s renewable energy potential. However, with all our good intentions and ambitious plans, is India prepared to reduce its dependency on traditional sources of energy? Swaniti Initiative examined our country’s commitment to clean energy by conducting a state-wise analysis of the percentage of total installed electricity capacity based on renewable sources from 2004 to 2012. Renewable energy sources included in this analysis refer to solar, wind, small hydro, biomass, and urban and industrial waste. ANALYSIS The state-wise analysis revealed renewable energy sources to account for a much higher percentage of overall state installed capacity in the North Eastern states, with Nagaland (65%), Sikkim (64%), and Arunachal Pradesh (62%) leading the pack. The graph below indicates that in these three states, electricity generated from renewable sources has on average accounted for more than 60% of the overall amount of installed electricity capacity in the state between 2004 and 2012. With a high potential for wind energy and consistent investment over the years, Tamil Nadu (39%) has the fourth highest...

Fixing sanitation to improve retention in schools

Date of Release: September 9th, 2014 Published in: Times of India Statoistics India’s sanitation infrastructure in schools continues to be poor. Nationally, 19.15% of primary schools do not have separate girls’ toilets, 6% of all primary schools do not have facilities for drinking water while 58.4% of all primary schools do not have a hand-washing facility near toilets. While enrolment rates at the primary education level have increased significantly in all states in the past few years, retention of students enrolling remains a challenge. At the all-India level, more than 17% of students who enrolled in Class I in 2009-10 did not enrol in Class V in...

UP & Bihar have the lowest incidence of rape in India – What does it tell us?

Several brutal rape cases in different parts of the country continue to shake our collective conscience. Multiple incidents in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh (Badaun and Lucknow), and the most recent case of brutality in Bangalore are a stark reminder of the enormity of the problem that confronts us. A closer look at the rape statistics can give us a better sense of the problem. Swaniti Initiative carried out an analysis of reported cases of rape in different States over a 20 year period between 1992 and 2012. The analysis is part of Swaniti’s effort to consolidate various developmental metrics such as security, health, livelihoods, education and infrastructure and overlap them with administrations in office, on a single user-friendly platform. The first striking aspect of the rape numbers is that the North-Eastern States have the highest incidence of rape (per 100,000 people) among all States. In 2012, the 5 States with the highest rape incidence were Mizoram (9.21), Tripura (6.15), Sikkim (5.51), Assam (5.42) and Meghalaya (5.41, all belonging to the same region.  However, Arunachal Pradesh (3.26), Manipur (2.15) and Nagaland (1.06) have much lower incidences of reported rape. What is most surprising however, is that Uttar Pradesh has one of the fewest reported cases of rape among all Indian States. With only 0.97 rape cases registered in UP for every 100,000 people in 2012, only Bihar (0.87) and Gujarat (0.77) had a lower incidence among the 28 States. These figures can be partly explained by the fact that patriarchy as an institution is less entrenched in tribal societies, which allows women to report cases without fear. In contrast, the...

Poverty and Prosperity in India: A Story of 28 States

Date of Release: June 17th, 2014 Published at: India Spend “The Government’s work should be to listen to the poor, to work for the poor, and live for (the poor)”, said our Prime Minister in his first speech in the 16th Lok Sabha. This was just a day after the President said in his address at the joint session of Parliament that “my government will not be satisfied with mere ‘poverty alleviation’ and commits itself to the goal of ‘poverty elimination’ “. The mandate for Mr Modi is being seen above all, as a mandate for development –   development which is inclusive and which leads to empowerment of the poor and downtrodden. So, how has India done on poverty alleviation in the last few years? Are there regional differences in the pattern of poverty alleviation? Is rapid economic growth a prerequisite for poverty alleviation? Which States in India have been most successful at bringing people out of poverty? Swaniti Initative, a development consulting firm which works with legislators, has tried to answer some of these questions.  Swaniti also tracks other metrics related to development and governance including health, education, livelihoods, women’s security and social inclusion on its online user-friendly data platform Jigyasa. Their analysis on poverty and growth throws up results which are interesting and thought provoking.  Some of the highlights are presented below. Good performance overall Between 2004-05 and 2011-12, most States did well at poverty alleviation. 19 out of the 28 States managed a reduction in poverty by 10 percentage points or more. In other words, 19 States managed to pull out more than 10% of their total...

Human resources in health, critical to improving outcomes

With the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) just a year away, improving health indicators is an important part of the new government’s agenda. With the BJP manifesto promising that “high priority will be given to address the shortfall of healthcare professionals (in India)”, we try and examine the impact of inadequate human resources on health outcomes in India. The analysis reveals a direct correlation between health outcomes and human resources in public health institutions. The four southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu alone account for 42% of all medical colleges in India; thereby producing most of India’s doctors. Not surprisingly, these states also have the best Doctor Population Ratio (DPR). Also, these states shows no shortfall of doctors at Primary Health Care (PHC) level, they have already met the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target of 27. This clearly reflects in the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) of these states as well.   In comparison, north Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh have very few medical colleges, a fact which reflects in their DPR. What does this mean for health outcomes in these States? Unsurprisingly, most states with poor DPR also had a relatively high shortfall of doctors at the PHC level. This translated into poor health outcomes in these states. As an example, in Madhya Pradesh as on 2011, PHCs were short on doctors by 35% of the required number, which contributed to M.P having the worst IMR of 59 among all 28 states. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha with PHC shortfalls of 27% and 14.3% had poor IMR...