#ActiveBengaluru : On The Making Of Public Affairs Index #PAI2020

What is Public Affairs Index?

The Public Affairs Index (PAI), in simple layman terms, is a data-driven framework which ranks the States and Union Territories of India on various parameters of governance. The Public Affairs Centre (PAC) initiated the publication of this flagship project in 2015. Data available in the public domain is used to measure, compare and evaluate the performance of the sub-national governments.  The PAI 2020 highlights the role of the states in being responsible for the overall development and stresses on the fact that the Centre is not the only entity.

PAI 2020 measures the development across various human development parameters of education, health, crime, gender equality etc. across three main pillars of Equity, Growth and Sustainability. It also addresses the challenges faced by all the States and Union Territories across various indicators of governance. PAI 2020 has also explored the performance of the states in the overall Index and how each state has addressed the growth rate over a five-year period of time since the first PAI report was launched.

PAI 2020 has included a chapter on Delta Analysis to identify if there is a steady state of growth in the long run and to measure the inter-state disparities. A chapter titled the State of States provides a holistic view of the states on their performance and identified indicators that needs to be focussed to improve their performance.

Data Model

A four tier model with 3 Pillars, 5 Themes, 13 Sustainable Development Goals and 50 indicators has been used. The 3 pillars at the apex of the PAI model are the cornerstones of sustainable development- Equity, Growth and Sustainability. To measure these 3 broad pillars, the model consists of 5 themes adopted from the World Governance Indicators, namely, Voice and Accountability, Government Effectiveness, Rule of Law, Regulatory Quality and Control of Corruption. Below these 5 themes are 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are crucial from the perspective of sub-national governance. This is also in line with India’s development in achieving the UN 2030 SDG Agenda. Finally, at the bottom of the model are 50 indicators that comprehensively help to measure sub-national governance in its various facets.

Data Methodology Once the data model was finalised, the Composite Index was calculated at each level, namely SDGs, themes and pillars. While at the SDGs and themes levels, Principal Component Analysis (PCA) technique was applied to develop the Composite Index, a simple averaging method was used at the Pillar level. The initial variables were standardised using the Z-Score method to eliminate the skewness and outliers in data.   Next the computation of covariance matrix was conducted to identify how the variables of the input data set were varying from the mean with respect to each other. The number of PCs when the technique was applied was equivalent to the number of variables. However, only components sufficient to explain 80% of the variations were used.  The loadings are the covariance/correlations between the original variables and the unit-scaled components. Once the score for each component was calculated, the components were aggregated using the Manhattan method to arrive at the final Index.

Overview of PAI 2020

As far as the rankings go Kerala topped the ranking for the 5th consecutive year, followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In the case of the small states, Goa, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh are at the top and Chandigarh is the top Union Territory. The state of Himachal Pradesh slipped in performance from the 1st in PAI 2016, 2017 and 2018, to 2nd in PAI 2019 and to 3rd rank in PAI 2020. At the pillar level too, Kerala remains at the top in all 3 pillars. Interestingly, in the case of Growth the top 5 large states were the South Indian states. 

Next Steps

It is hoped that an area for further research may be to look at what these states are doing differently.

Public Affairs Centre (PAC) engages in action research focussing on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of India. PAC is a not for profit Think Tank established in 1994 with a mandate to improve the quality of governance in India. The Centre is also a pioneer in deploying innovative Social Accountability Tools (SAT) to measure the quality and adequacy of public services. Over the years, its scope of work has expanded to include the whole gamut of research-advocacy-action to lead evidence-based research on governance across sectors, geographies and populations in India. PAC ensures that gender is an over-arching theme in all its focus research areas.

  1. To get a copy of the report, kindly go to www.pacindia.org-download the Google Form and Submit it. On receipt of the form you will receive a soft copy of Public Affairs Index 2020.
  2. Link to the Virtual launch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p-tSkiFS6A&feature=youtu.be

Listen in!

Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander

Head-Policy Engagement and Communication

Public Affairs Centre

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