India's COVID-19 case load has declined significantly after reaching its peak on September 16, which indicates that the country has done a fairly good job on controlling the spread of the deadly virus. However, state-wise performances varied widely in terms of COVID-19 management, with North East topping the list, followed by Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, a recent report by SBI Research Desk showed. Meanwhile Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh stood at the bottom of the chart, according to the analysis. The agency has combined all northeastern states into one.
The latest SBI Ecowrap report used monthly data from April to November 2020 to rank states on the basis of performance on three broad categories - COVID management, macro parameters (fiscal parameters and CPI), and performance on central government schemes. The agency constructed a two stage least square (2SLS) panel model where tests were first regressed on population to arrive at estimated number of tests given the population of a state as a control variable which were then used to arrive at the model estimated number of cases for each state.
In terms of COVID management, North East, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Jammu & Kashmir were the top ten performing states. Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal were the worst ten in term of managing the pandemic, the SBI report noted.
For assessing COVID management, the agency primarily used four indicators, namely gap between the actual number of cases and estimated cases, possible underreporting of cases, recovery rate and death rate.
On macro indicators, North East, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh performed better during COVID-19 times, while West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar and were at the bottom. For macro indicators, the deviation of GST collection from state budget estimates, market borrowing and CPI inflation were used as parameters.
Ranking of states on the basis of central government schemes indicated Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra were at the top, while, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, and Goa were at the bottom. For performance in central government schemes, state-wise performance was taken for five schemes - One Nation One Card, PM Svanidhi, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) and Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS).
Best on the combination of scores attained on each of the three parameters, states ranking reveals that northeastern states were at the top, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh came at the bottom.
"While Chhattisgarh and West Bengal have fared consistently worse in all 3 parameters, Himachal Pradesh has done quite well in macro management but seems to be lagging in central schemes' implementation and COVID management," the SBI report highlighted.
In fact, the hilly and unfamiliar terrain of Himachal Pradesh is holding back the recovery rate and that is acting as a huge deterrent to COVID management. Regarding implementation of central schemes, again the nature of the state in terms of inhospitable terrain may be acting as a deterrent, the report noted.