These 10 charts show how Indian states fare in terms of governance

The study by the Public Affairs Centre ranked the states on the basis of the Public Affairs Index
These 10 charts show how Indian states fare in terms of governance
These 10 charts show how Indian states fare in terms of governance

A study conducted by a Bengaluru-based NGO rates the three south Indian states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as the three best governed states in India.

The study by the Public Affairs Centre ranked the various Indian states on the basis of the Public Affairs Index computed on 10 equal parameters including human development, law and order situation and basic infrastructure.

The rankings divide the various states into two categories, large states with populations over two crore, and small states with a population below that number.

Maharashtra occupies the fourth position in the rankings followed by Gujarat, Punjab and West Bengal.

Among the large states, Bihar is the worst-ranked state, with Jharkhand and Odisha coming in just ahead at 16th and 15th.   

Among the smaller states, Mizoram occupied the top rank, while Delhi stood third and Tripura ranked the lowest.

The rankings are based on government sources of data such as the NCRB, state and central government websites of various different departments and the RBI.

Each of the 10 parameters are calculated taking various sub-factors into account.

For example, for infrastructure, percentage of electrified households, ratio of total irrigated area to the total agricultural area, and existence of ground water regulation laws are taken into account.

Human development

In terms of human development, Kerala fares best for larger states with Sikkim faring best among smaller states. Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra are the other states in the top five. Among smaller states Manipur and Mizoram rounded out the top three.

For this parameter, PAC used education and health indicators, with factors like Infant Mortality Rate, the percentage of GDP spent on health and education, and ASER learning levels taken into account.

Social Protection

On the count of social protection, PAC finds Mizoram to be the top-ranked state. Among the bigger states, Karnataka does better than all others, followed by West Bengal, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.

For social protection, data on public distribution systems, old age pensions and crimes again SC/STs were taken into account among other measures.

Law and Order situation / Delivery of Justice

On the question of law and order and delivery of justice too, Kerala and Tamil Nadu occupy the top two positions alternatively among the bigger states. With Meghalaya, another state from the north-east doing better than all states.

Pendency of cases, crime rates and police violence were studied to form the rankings for the law and order situation.

The other parameters included environment, economic freedom, fiscal management, transparency and accountability, situation of women and children.


Arunachal Pradesh trumps all the smaller states in terms of protecting the environment. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are the larger states doing well on the environment front.

The rankings are based on pollution levels and environmental violations, amount of forest cover in the state and the percentage of renewable energy used compared to fossil fuels.

Transparency/ Accountability

Again, Kerala tops the ranking with Karnataka at second place.

Transparency and accountability among the states were graded according to the state’s adherence to Section 4 of RTI, e-governance, formation of Lokayukta/ ACB and the percentage of cases disposed by them. Percentage of gram panchayats scrutinized by Social Audit under NREGA and Panchayat Devolution Index Score were also studied.

Fiscal Management

Delhi is the best small state in this regard followed by Meghalaya and Manipur, while UP is the best among the larger states.

Fiscal management among the states was stratified by studying the percentage of revenue surplus/deficit, per capita development expenditure and revenue growth.

Economic freedom

Gujarat leads the state rankings by a large margin on this parameter, followed by Maharashtra. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu occupy the third and fourth positions respectively.

Economic Freedom was calculated using the number of industrial Entrepreneurs Memoranda filed, Ease of Doing Business and Value of MSMEs assets (% of GSDP).

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