If you want to rank states, there are two broad roads to fol­low. First, you can ad­min­is­ter ques­tion­naires and re­spon­dents re­ply to spe­cific ques­tions. This route, how­ever, pre­sumes that re­spon­dents know about all the states you wish to rank. Sec­ond, you can use ob­jec­tive data. There’s a third al­ter­na­tive of splic­ing sub­jec­tive and ob­jec­tive, but that’s nei­ther here nor there. We used the ob­jec­tive route, re­ly­ing solely on data from Cen­tral sources, so that non-com­pa­ra­bil­ity of data across states was not an is­sue.

The next step is to iden­tify the pa­ram­e­ters. We picked eight heads. Pros­per­ity and bud­get (per­cent­age of pop­u­la­tion above poverty line, per­cent­age of ur­ban pop­u­la­tion, in­fla­tion, per capita cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture, per capita debt, per capita Gross State Do­mes­tic Prod­uct or GSDP, per capita rev­enue of state elec­tric­ity board); law and or­der (num­ber of po­lice­men per lakh peo­ple, ra­tio of cases filed to pend­ing cases in courts, share of mur­ders, kid­nap­pings and rapes to to­tal cog­nis­able crimes); health (in­fant mor­tal­ity ra­tio or IMR, ra­tio of male IMR to fe­male IMR, per­cent­age of births as­sisted by trained per­son­nel, reg­is­tered doc­tors per mil­lion pop­u­la­tion, sex ra­tio and per capita ex­pen­di­ture on health and fam­ily wel­fare by state govern­ment); ed­u­ca­tion (lit­er­acy rate, pro­por­tion of 10-plus chil­dren hav­ing com­pleted pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion, ex­pen­di­ture on ele-

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