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Special Content


Issue no 41, 07 - 13 JANUARY 2023

Social Progress Index A Holistic Understanding of Progress

 

 

The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) recently released the Social Progress Index (SPI) for States and Districts of India. The index is prepared every year by the Institute for Competitiveness and Social Progress Imperative and presented to the EAC-PM. The goal of the SPI is to help policymakers achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth through improved outcomes in areas such as health, climate resilience, and access to education. As social progress becomes an increasingly important issue for governments, businesses, and civil society around the world, it is crucial that our economic development aligns with social goals in order to promote prosperity for all regions of the country.

 

What is Social Progress Index? : SPI contributes to emphasizing the significance of equitably sharing economic and social gains and creating an inclusive India. The report ranks 36 States/Union Territories and 707 districts of India based on their performance across various social progress indicators. SPI is an actionable tool that draws attention to areas requiring intervention by bringing out data-driven insights which helps state and district-level officials to formulate strategies for inclusive growth and prioritise public investments. Further, the index acts as a guide for development partners and donors to identify and invest in the appropriate areas. The index is a measurement tool that focuses exclusively, comprehensively and systematically on the non-economic dimensions of social performance with transparent and actionable data. This approach aligns with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which envisages a future of inclusive and sustainable growth and development. SPI rigorously measures country performance on many aspects of social and environmental performance which are relevant for countries at all levels of economic development. It enables an assessment of not just absolute country performance but also relative performance compared to a country's economic peers.

 

Social Progress Index Methodology: The SPI report defines 'social progress' as the "capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential". This definition, established in consultation with a group of academic and policy experts, drives the framework of the SPI. It alludes to three broad elements of social progress, which we refer to as dimensions: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity. Under each dimension are four components.

·         Basic Human Needs assess the performance of states and districts in terms of Nutrition and Basic Medical Care, Water and Sanitation, Personal Safety and Shelter.

·         Foundations of Wellbeing evaluates the progress made by the country across the components of Access to Basic Knowledge, Access to Information and Communication, Health and Wellness, and Environmental Quality.

·         Opportunity focuses on Personal Rights, Personal Freedom and Choice, Inclusiveness, and Access to Advanced Education. Thus, the index is structured around 12 components and weighs 89 indicators at the State/UT level and 49 at the district level. The framework not only provides an aggregate country score and ranking but also allows benchmarking on specific areas of strength and weakness. This comprehensive tool serves as a holistic measure of a country's social progress at the national and sub-national levels.

 

Findings: Globally, India is currently ranked 110th in the world on the Social Progress Index, scoring 60.19/100, in the fourth tier of performance. Since 2011, India has improved its score by 8.49 points, the third greatest. India's biggest gains, by 37.79 points, have been in Access to Information and Communication. Alongside this, access to online Government services has soared. The next biggest gains have been in Shelter, by 20.99 points. Since 2011, the use of clean fuels in households has doubled, rising from 32.4% to 64.2% of the population. Water and Sanitation has also seen a significant improvement since 2011, by 18.8 points. The most significant gains have been in access to sanitation, from 44% of the population in 2011 to almost 72% in 2022. Nutrition and Basic Medical Care has improved by 9.66 points and the access to essential healthcare, which increased to 51.5% since 2022. State-wise, Puducherry has the highest SPI score of 65.99 in the country, attributable to its remarkable performance across components like Personal Freedom and Choice, Shelter, and Water and Sanitation. Lakshadweep and Goa closely follow it with scores of 65.89 and 65.53, respectively. Jharkhand and Bihar scored the lowest, 43.95 and 44.47, respectively.

 

For the dimension of Basic Human Needs, Goa, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, and Chandigarh are the top four with the best performance in Water and Sanitation and Shelter, as compared to the other States and Union Territories. In addition, Goa has the highest component score for Water and Sanitation, followed by Kerala, scoring the highest across the Nutrition and Basic Medical Care component. For Shelter and Personal Safety, Chandigarh and Nagaland have emerged as the front-runners, respectively.

 

Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, and Goa have emerged as the bestperforming States/UTs for the Foundations of Wellbeing. Within the dimension for the Access to Basic Knowledge component, Punjab has the highest component score of 62.92, while Delhi has topped the list for Access to Information and Communication with a score of 71.30. For Health and Wellness, Rajasthan has the highest component score of 73.74. For Environmental Quality, the top three states belong to the northeast region, namely, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Meghalaya.

 

Lastly, Tamil Nadu has achieved the highest component score of 72.00 for the Opportunity dimension. Within this dimension, Andaman and Nicobar Islands have the highest component score for Personal Rights, while Sikkim has topped the list for Inclusiveness.

 

According to the SPI score, the report has categorised the States and UTs into six tiers:

 

Tier 1 (Very High social progress. SPI scores in the range of 62.05-65.99)

State

SPI

Rank

Puducherry

65.99

1

Lakshadweep

65.89

2

Goa

65.53

3

Sikkim

65.10

4

Mizoram

64.19

5

Tamil Nadu

63.33

6

Himachal Pradesh

63.28

7

Chandigarh

62.37

8

Kerala

62.05

9

 

Tier 2 (High social progress. SPI scores in the range of 58.76 - 60.76

State

SPI

Rank

Jammu and Kashmir

60.76

10

Punjab

60.23

11

Dadar & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu

59.81

12

Ladakh

59.53

13

Nagaland

59.24

14

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

58.76

15

 

Tier 3 (Upper Middle social progress. SPI scores in the range of 56.27 - 58.26)

State

SPI

Rank

Uttarakhand

58.26

16

Karnataka

56.77

17

Arunachal Pradesh

56.56

18

Delhi

56.28

19

Manipur

56.27

20

 

Tier 4 (Lower Middle social progress. SPI scores in the range of 50.69 - 54.15)

State

SPI

Rank

Haryana

54.15

21

Gujarat

53.81

22

Andhra Pradesh

53.60

23

Meghalaya

53.22

24

West Bengal

53.13

25

Telangana

52.11

26

Tripura

51.70

27

Chhattisgarh

51.36

28

Maharashtra

50.86

29

Rajasthan

50.69

30

 

Tier 5 (Low social progress. SPI scores in the range of 48.11 - 49.16)

State

SPI

Rank

Uttar Pradesh

49.16

31

Odisha

48.19

32

Madhya Pradesh

48.11

33

 

Tier 6 (Very Low social progress. SPI scores in the range of 43.95 - 44.92)

State

SPI

Rank

Assam

44.92

34

Bihar

44.47

35

Jharkhand

43.95

36

 

Similarly, the districts have been accorded scores in line with the component of the index. To read the full report, scan the QR code

The Need for Social Progress Index: As stated in the aforementioned report, there has been a growing realisation that GDP alone is unable to transform the lives of people around the world has led to a surge in initiatives trying to address this concern and supplement the "moving beyond GDP" debate. "GDP was not designed to measure the quality of life, so over-reliance on GDP and other economic measures can lead to flawed policy choices that do not respond to the actual needs and requirements of the people. Similarly, it also needs to provide access to economic opportunities with skilled human capital, better financial inclusion and transportation and connectivity, among others," the report says.

 

Indices such as Human Development Index, Genuine Progress Indicator, Happiness Index, provide an alternative to GDP by shifting the focus to people-centered policies rather than income measurement techniques. Social Progress Index (SPI) developed by Social Progress Imperative is also a step in the same direction but with a different approach than rest of the indices. It is a tool focused on providing a robust and comprehensive measure of social progress, based on social and environmental indicators that can complement GDP as a measure of well-being.

SPI is conceived on the understanding that economic growth without social progress will lead to exclusion, environmental degradation, and social discontent. The index is the first holistic tool that is designed to measure social progress independent of GDP. SPI, by separating the measurement of social progress from economic development, also helps in providing an empirical relationship between the two concepts and hence, offers citizens a better picture of how their country is developing. It helps in informing our understanding of how economic development drives social progress and vice versa. A better understanding of this relationship can help policymakers make strategic choices that can lead to inclusive growth.

 

Compiled by Annesha Banerjee & Anuja Bhardwajan

 

Source: PIB/www.socialprogress.org