Assam has been awarded as the ‘Most Improved Big State (Overall)’ in the annual State of the States survey carried out by India Today Group.
Notably, Assam has been dominating the top spot for the fourth time excluding the year 2021 in which it was ranked in the second spot.
For the years 2020, 2019 and 2018, the state of Assam managed to retain the top spot in the “Most improved big states” category.
For the year 2022, Assam scored 1,185.3 out of a score of 2,000 points followed by Andhra Pradesh at 1,165.2 points and Madhya Pradesh at 1,165.2 points.
It is to be mentioned here that, apart from Assam, Manipur grabbed the top spot for the third consecutive time in the smaller state category surpassing other northeastern states with its performance in eight out of 12 categories.
Assam has not only emerged as the most improved big state overall, but it has also improved rankings in the categories of infrastructure, agriculture, education, law & order, inclusive development, tourism and environment over the previous year.
Earlier on December 14, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at the India Today NE Townhall while replying to a question on late work culture adopted by the administration, to this the CM said, “For me, it is inspiring, everybody’s messenger will be on at least upto 2-3 AM and we restart our work at 6:30 – 7:00 AM in the morning…this is the new Assam”
The Chief Minister also asserted that the state of Assam is growing at 12 per cent GDP which is better than many Indian states and the government is trying to develop an Assam model for growth.
To demarcate the big states from the smaller ones, a benchmark of 35,000 sq. km of area and a minimum of 5 million population has been taken to define a ‘big state’.
‘The Best State’ is based on an evaluation of key parameters as they stand, and ‘The Most Improved State’ is selected on the basis of the Compound Annual Growth Rates (CAGR) of these parameters for the past five years.
Indicates improvement of the state in the past five years- Based on positive changes (outcome-based) in the past five years. The states were also divided into two broad groups—big states and small states—based on geographical area and population.
Deliberations revealed that bigger states have their own advantages and disadvantages vis-à-vis the smaller states.
States with an area of over 35,000 sq. km and a population of over 5 million were clubbed as the big states and the rest as small. Jammu & Kashmir was not considered due to the change in its status.
Notably, twelve categories were identified for comparing the performance of the states.
In each category, several parameters on which the states needed to be competitive were fixed.
Based on inputs from experts—academia, policymakers and policy influencers such as representatives from the NITI Aayog, think tanks, policy research organisations, sociologists and economists—125 parameters were finalised for evaluating the best performing states and 89 for the most-improved states. The relative weights of the parameters were finalised in consultation with the experts, India today editors and the MDRA team.
Based on the parameters and attributes, a comprehensive data collection exercise was undertaken. MDRA researchers cross-examined the data collected from highly credible sources such as the Census, Reserve Bank of India, NITI Aayog, respective ministries and departments and state governments. To ensure a fair comparison, it was ensured that no state got an unfair advantage on account of size, population or any other aspect.
It was necessary therefore to normalise the data based on population or geographical size, as required. The data collected for each attribute was cleaned, normalised and standardised to make it comparable. The most recent data for each state (mostly 2021-2022, 2020-21, 2019-20, 2018-19 and 2017-18) was taken and analysed to evaluate the best-performing states. To compare and rank the most improved states, compounded annual growth rates (CAGR) on each attribute for the past five years were used.
Based on the weights determined for each attribute, sectoral rankings were arrived at. Parameter-level weights were used to determine the overall best-performing and most improved states.
A large MDRA team, led by Abhishek Agrawal (executive director), Abnish Jha (project director), Vaibhav Gupta (assistant research manager), Aditya Srivastava (assistant research executive) and Manveer Singh (senior executive-EDP) and assisted by statisticians and econometricians, worked on this voluminous project from July to November 2022.