Source: Economic Times
Person matters more than party
In the run up to 2014, both the Congress and the BJP are pitching their economic credentials. An ET study of their state-level performance for the five years to 2012 shows that neither follows an approach that is homogenous.
And neither is a cut above both their portfolios have leaders and laggards. Broadly agreeing with the results, Ajay Shah, professor, National Institute for Public Finance and Policy, says: "There is nothing much that separates the two. There is no nationwide template on governance. Each state has to come with a solution that is different."
Person matters more than party
The states that have taken the biggest strides have one thing in common: a strong leader. For example, Andhra Pradesh, a Congress state, bested the all-India average on 9 of the 10 parameters, a testament to the tenure of the late YSR Reddy from 2004 to 2009. This was matched by only one state: Gujarat, where BJP's prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi has had a 12-year run.
"The result shows it narrows down to how effective a chief minister when it comes to having control over the state unit and how innovative that person is," says Sumita Kale, chief economist with Indicus Analytics. "States that witnessed political turmoil (chief ministers were often changed) have performed lower than other states."
There are nuances, which also mirror the national narrative. For example, the Congress states have done better in poverty alleviation, while the BJP is pumping more money into creating capital assets. But overall, neither party makes a compelling case for itself.
ALL-INDIA - 8.0% | CONGRESS - 8.4% | BJP - 8.5%
The party homogeneity argument is busted right here. The BJP's sweeps the top three, including two large economies (Gujarat and MP). But the other three are in the bottom four. The Congress, by comparison, dominates the middle â€” five of its six states, including four middle or large economies, were above the national average.
All-india - 2.5% | Congress - 3.5% | BJP - 5.0%
Three of the BJP states are in the top four, with Gujarat, pulled by cotton and foodgrains, being a cut above even the second-placed Madhya Pradesh. In terms of outperformance to the national average, the count is four for BJP and three from Congress. Two of the Congress states below the national average were big states, Andhra and Maharashtra, the latter showing negative growth.
ALL-INDIA - NA| CONGRESS - 7.0% | BJP - 7.3%
This proxy for the manufacturing sector is also a divided house. The story of contrast is between Maharashtra (Congress) and Gujarat (BJP) Gujarat grew almost twice the rate of Maharashtra during the period.
The infant mortality rate is the number of deaths per 1,000 live births. No state is even close to developed-world standards â€” for example, Sweden (2.74) or Japan (2.21). Goa has the lowest IMR rates among the states compared. In terms of sharp improvement, three states managed a drop of 25% or more - one from Congress (Maharashtra) and two from the BJP (Karnataka and Uttarakhand).
When incomes increase, so does power consumption, making it a good proxy for a state's progress. This is a rare metric that throws a clear leader: the BJP, which not only holds the top three spots, but do so with an emphatic margin. By comparison, three of the six Congress states languished even below the national average, with Haryana being the worst.
The BJP states enjoyed a historical advantage, showing a high completion rate at the primary school level â€” kids who join school and complete class five successfully. By comparison, four of the Congress states entered this period with a low score, but showed the maximum improvement.
Another rare metric that shows up a winner of sorts: Congress. Barring Assam, all Congress states showed a significant drop in number of people below the poverty line, led by three large states - Rajasthan, Mahrashtra and Andhra. In the BJP states, the rate of change was relatively smaller.
A hallmark of good fiscal management is to keep fiscal deficit in check. And if there is a deficit, the borrowings should be creating capital assets that yield future benefits, rather than towards spending that don't. So, the higher the capital outlay as a percentage of fiscal deficit, the better. It's what a majority of the BJP states seem to be doing and the Congress not.
Crime and riots
ALL-INDIA3.9% | CONGRESS3.8% | BJP1.8%
If one discounts the limitations of this parameter â€” it excludes crimes not being reported or registered â€” the BJP inches ahead. Three of the five states with the smallest growth in cases registered under the Indian Penal Code are from the BJP. By comparison, all the bottom states belong to the Congress. But when it comes to riots as a percentage of IPC crimes, the BJP dominates both ends of the spectrum.
Six states are above the national average in their growth in per capital income â€” three apiece from each party. The two states with the highest per capita income both belonged to the Congress, one of which was placed second in growth (Haryana) and the other last (Goa).