ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Missing the Rigour

NITI Aayog’s Health Index

Based on a critical review of the NITI Aayog’s recently published “Healthy States, Progressive India,” it is argued that the report provides only a superficial insight into the overall health attainment. Much deeper and careful analysis is required if one aims to unfold the complexity and varied contexts provided by Indian states, let alone ranking them on health attainment. The method of calculating the index in the report compromises scientific rigour, and the inferences drawn are highly misleading.

 

Once again, the NITI Aayog has come up with its Health Index for Indian states—the first in the series was published a year ago (NITI Aayog 2018). The latest Health Index released in late-June, titled “Healthy States, Progressive India,” provides a snapshot of the current status of the health sector across Indian states and union territories (UTs) (NITI Aayog 2019). For the most part, the report is similar to the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report for Indian States (UNDP 2011). The report will come handy if one wants to understand how the states are doing in public health at any given point. However, to assess whether one is making progress or not (as this report does) would be erroneous, as no time-series data is available.

Certainly, the NITI Aayog’s attempt to construct a health index is not the first of its kind. As early as in 2016, three professors at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad took the first dig at constructing a health index for Indian states (Sinha et al 2016). Two years later, the NITI Aayog’s current report, or even its first report, has not acknowledged or even consulted those pioneers in the field. As all research is built on an existing knowledge base, the reasons for this oversight are anyone’s guess.

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Updated On : 24th Jun, 2020

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