Data | Karnataka lags in social measures, rank worsened in recent years

On majority of social indicators, the State’s ranking worsened between 2015-16 and 2019-21

Updated - April 28, 2023 12:32 pm IST

Published - April 28, 2023 12:26 pm IST

Karnataka elections: On a majority of social indicators, Karnataka’s ranking worsened between 2015-16 and 2019-21

Karnataka elections: On a majority of social indicators, Karnataka’s ranking worsened between 2015-16 and 2019-21

An analysis of economic, social and environmental indicators of poll-bound Karnataka shows that the State features at the bottom half of many measures and also its performance relatively worsened between 2015-16 and 2019-21. While the State’s per capita GDP has improved leaps and bounds over the years, the growth has not translated to better outcomes in educational, health-related and sanitation-related measures. Moreover, the State’s relatively better economic performance has come at a cost with Karnataka lagging behind on environment-related indicators.

Table 1 | The table lists Karnataka’s rank on social indicators and its actual score in a parameter in 2019-21, 2015-16 and 2005-06. It shows the change in Karnataka’s rank in 2019-21, compared to 2015-16. 

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The top three States in a parameter are also given for comparison. For instance, in Karnataka, 35.4% of children were stunted (low height-for-age) in 2019-21 and ranked 24 out of the 30 States analysed. On this indicator, Karnataka’s ranking fell three spots in 2019-21 from 2015-16. In 2005-06, the State’s rank was even better — 16 out of the 28 States analysed. 

The share of women aged 20-24 years, who married before turning 18, was 21.4% in 2015-16 (ranked 18 of 30), which marginally decreased to 21.3% in 2019-21 (19 of 30). In the share of households with any member covered under a health insurance/financing scheme (%), the State ranked 3 of 28 States in 2005-06; in 2019-21, it ranked 20 of 30. In infant mortality rate, the State’s rank worsened from 8 of 30 States in 2015-16 to 13 of 30 in 2019-21. In fact, on majority of the social indicators analysed, the State’s ranking worsened in the 2015-16 to 2019-21 period, as can be seen in table 1. A similar slide can be observed between 2005-06 and 2019-21 as well. 

Table 2 | The table shows Karnataka’s per capita net state domestic product and its change in rank in 2020-21, compared to 1993-94

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However, Karnataka’s economic performance has improved vastly in the last two decades. In 1993-94, it was ranked 14 out of 27 States and in 2020-21, it jumped to the fourth spot (behind Goa, Sikkim and Delhi) in per capita net state domestic product (current prices) as shown in table 2. In fact, among major States, Karnataka leads the nation in this indicator. However, it is important to note that Karnataka’s economic growth may have not equally benefitted the entire State’s population and concentrated only in urban areas. For instance, the % of the population in the two lowest wealth quintiles was 27.3% in 2015-16, ranked 15 out of 30. In the same year, the headcount ratio as per the Multidimensional Poverty Index was 17.3% in the State, ranked 14 of 30.

While the State leads the country in terms of economic performance, it lags behind on environment-related indicators (table 3).

Table 3 | The table shows Karnataka’s rank in environment-leading indicators

In terms of hazardous waste generated per capita, the State was ranked 19 out of 28 (18 States had lower waste generation). In terms of fossil fuels consumed per capita, Karnataka ranked 24 of 30 (23 States had lower consumption). Only 87% of industries complied with wastewater treatment norms (ranked 23 of 30). 

Among educational indicators, Karnataka features among the bottom-half of the States (table 4). 

Table 4 | The table shows Karnataka’s rank in indicators related to education 

Table 5 | The table shows Karnataka’s actual score in the human development index (HDI) and the change in rank in 2019, compared to 1990 and

Source: National Family Health Surveys, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the Global Data Lab, NITI Aayog

Also Read |Poll-bound Gujarat ranks among the lowest in socio-environmental measures, regressed in last 15 years

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