Fr Frazer Mascarenhas, the principal St Xavier’s College, one of Mumbai’s top institutes, may know a lot about society and economic models of growth.
However, it may be worth mentioning here one of the most comprehensive reports on ‘The Economic Freedom of the States of India’, brought out by Cato Institute, Friedrich Naumann Friedrich Foundation, Indicus Analytics and Academic Foundation. The authors are some of India's best economists, agronomists and social development experts – Bibek Debroy, Laveesh Bhandari, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, and Ashok Gulati.
The report concludes that considering both economic and social indicators, Gujarat ranks number one on the list. Some of the major facts brought out by the report are:
- The top state in India in economic freedom in 2011 was Gujarat.
- It displaced Tamil Nadu, which had been the top state in 2009.
- Gujarat’s freedom index score has been rising fast, and at 0.64 it is now far ahead of second-placed Tamil Nadu (0.56). Madhya Pradesh (0.56) is close behind in third position, Haryana (0.55) retains fourth position and Himachal (0.53) retains fifth position.
- Earlier the median score for economic freedom for all states had declined from 0.38 in 2005 to 0.36 in 2009. But it has now improved substantially to 0.41 in 2011. This is good news. Still the median score lags way behind Gujarat’s 0.64, so other states have a long way to go.
- As many as eight states have registered a decline in rank. These include some of the most industrialised states, such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
- A special chapter on the labour market highlights the lack of reform in labour laws, and their adverse impact on economic freedom and growth. Among the states, Maharashtra has the best labour regulation, followed by Karnataka and Punjab. The worst states are West Bengal, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Assam.
- The report tells you things that Fr Fraser has chosen not to talk about.