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-