Digital Conqueror - Logo
Close this search box.

2017 Social Progress Index: States of India


  • ScoreScore Card for India



  • The study released by Institute for Competitiveness, India in collaboration with Social Progress Imperative is the first edition of a sub-national Social Progress Index for India.
  • The global Social Progress Index ranks India at the 93rd position. However, the country-level insights are not sufficient to devise a plan of action as the conditions vary significantly within the country. Therefore, a regional study is conducted.
  • Kerala emerges as the top performer by making remarkable progress across social indicators. Other states that demonstrate strong social progress performance include –Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, and Goa.
  • The top performers on social progress reveal that there are several ways to achieve world-class social progress, economic growth being one of them.
  • The state scores range from low 40s to high 60s on a scale of 0-100, exemplifying the immense scope of improvement for even the best performing states.
  • Inclusion of high – income states, like Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, in the tier of Middle Social Progress reflects that social progress not only depends on the economic development but also on the use of revenues generated by economic expansion.
  • Social progress over the period of eleven years has improved in every state. The group of states that have registered the highest improvement are the ones that were categorized as Very Low Social Progress States in 2005. This demonstrates that states at a relatively low level of social progress may be able to improve more rapidly since they have both more opportunities for improvement and can also draw on lessons and approaches that have been implemented elsewhere. 

The research released by Institute for Competitiveness, India is the first edition of Social Progress Index: States of India. It is conducted in collaboration with Social Progress Imperative and Professor Michael E Porter of Harvard Business School. Professor Porter declaring about the creation of Indian level index at his lecture said, India is set to create a social progress index (SPI) that will mirror the track record of individual states on various counts which is likely to emerge as a tool for accountability in governance and politics.
It analyses social progress of twenty-eight Indian states and one Union Territory (Delhi) for the period 2005–2016 by applying the Social Progress Index framework. The framework outlines three broad categories of social progress, Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing and Opportunity that focuses on capturing what matters to societies and people. For instance, whether the citizens have access to safe and livable housing facilities; the water and sanitary conditions up to the standards or people are prone to diseases like typhoid; is the medical system in place benefitting all the sections of society or citizens still lack in basic nutritional values; do they feel protected in their home place, or there is a need to tackle security concerns in a better way; can they have a prolonged life or are their actions deteriorating the environment; does the prevalence of prejudices prohibit people from making their personal decisions.
The Index is more than just a measurement tool and is aimed towards helping the government and businesses to make strategic choices. It can help the policymakers by not only guiding the public investments but also by providing a rapid-assessment approach to help capture the spirit of the SDGs as there is a strong coherence between the SDGs and the Social Progress Index. It can thus help in supporting SDG implementation by playing a complementary role to the official monitoring systems that are being put in place. It can also facilitate CSR investments by identifying key focus areas where investments can be made.
Bibek Debroy, Chairman, EAC-PM, in his opening essay pointed out that to Social Progress Index: States of India pointed out the holistic approach of the Social Progress Index. He wrote, “In many respects, the present Social Progress Index (SPI) is different. It is much more comprehensive than most inter-State studies.”
Scott Stern, Professor, MIT, in his contribution to Social Progress Index: States of India pointed out the importance of this study in the Indian context. In his view, “By bringing this powerful tool to India with the Social Progress Index, States of India, Amit Kapoor and the team at the Institute for Competitiveness, India have taken a critical step towards ensuring that one of the world’s fastest-growing economies matches its economic development with social progress.”
Michael Green, CEO, Social Progress Imperative stated that This Social Progress Index for India can be a powerful tool for state governments, working with business and civil society to, manage progress towards achievement of the SDGs by 2030.
The consolidation of the state level results that provides country level results reveal that India scores 54.90 on social progress. The scores are highest on Water and Sanitation, reflecting significant progress is made in an area that has been a focus of the Global Goals as well as the Indian Government. Access to Information & Communication and Access to Advanced Education are the two areas that require attention. According to the latest data, internet penetration in the India is as low as 31%, and access to television is just 51%. The advanced education ecosystem of the country faces the dual issues of quantity and quality. Addressing these challenges at the national level is fundamental to drive further improvements in social wellbeing. Although the analysis over time shows that significant improvements have been made in the area of access to communication during the last few years.
At the state level, Kerala emerged as the best performer. The success can be attributed to the systematic state investments in social sectors like education and health over a long period of time.
The most notable entry among the best performers is Mizoram, a middle-income state. Amidst all the issues prevalent in the state it has managed to provide its citizens with living standards comparable to those of high-income states indicating the strength of social capital.
On the other hand, the inclusion of many high-income states like Andhra Pradesh in the middle social progress tier elucidates that a region’s social progress is the result of choices that its government and businesses make about social investments. It thus becomes important for regions to chalk out strategies focused towards addressing the real needs of the citizens.

Very High Social Progress Value High Social Progress Value
Kerala 68 Delhi 60
Himachal Pradesh 65 Karnataka 60
Tamil Nadu 65 Maharashtra 58
Uttarakhand 64 Chhattisgarh 57
Goa 63 Gujarat 57
Mizoram 63 Haryana 57
Sikkim 63 Nagaland 57
Punjab 62    
Middle Social Progress Value Low Social Progress Value
Andhra Pradesh 56 Tripura 53
Arunachal Pradesh 55 Odisha 52
Jammu & Kashmir 55 Rajasthan 52
Madhya Pradesh 55 Uttar Pradesh 51
Manipur 55 Assam 49
Meghalaya 54 Jharkhand 48
West Bengal 54 Bihar 45

The research also presents the evaluation of social progress overtime for an eleven-year period, i.e., 2005-2016. Overall, social progress is improving; the scores have improved by approximately 8 points since 2005. Average performance is better on components of Basic Human Needs and worse on components of Opportunity reflecting that creating a society with equal opportunity for all still remains an elusive goal for most of the states.
State level trends depict that all the states have improved since 2005, which is promising. The group of states that have registered the highest improvement are the ones that were categorized as Very Low Social Progress States in 2005. This includes Tripura, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, and Bihar. The improvements demonstrate that states at a relatively low level of social progress may be able to improve more rapidly since they have both more opportunities for improvement and can also draw on lessons and approaches that have been implemented elsewhere.
The research also investigates the linkages between social and economic progress and discloses that GDP is not the sole determinant of social progress. Despite the correlation between the two a considerable amount of variability in social progress is observed among states with comparable levels of income. For instance, Manipur and Maharashtra have a difference of two points on social progress when the former belongs to the category of low-income states while Maharashtra has one of the highest per capita incomes in the country. 
Commenting on the results of Social Progress Index: States of India, Dr. Amit Kapoor, Honorary Chairman, Institute for Competitiveness said, Our regions have the potential to do better. The results reveal that we are underperforming on social progress compared to what the average GDP per capita suggests. This illustrates that economic growth alone is insufficient to drive social progress. Regions must prioritize social issues such as education, health, safety etc. as the failure of regions to enhance social progress will drive down their future economic performance.”
Manisha Kapoor, Senior Researcher, Institute for Competitiveness, who led the project said, “The index has the ability to help the government and the businesses to make strategic choices that will lead to inclusive growth.”

About Institute for Competitiveness
Institute for Competitiveness, India is an independent, international initiative centered in India, dedicated to enlarging and disseminating the body of research and knowledge on competition and strategy, pioneered over the last 25 years by Professor M.E. Porter of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School (ISC, HBS), USA. Institute for Competitiveness, India works in affiliation with ISC, HBS, USA to offer academic & executive courses, conduct indigenous research and provide advisory services to corporate and Government within the country. The institute studies competition and its implications for company strategy; the competitiveness of nations, regions & cities; suggests and provides solutions for social problems. Institute for Competitiveness, India brings out India City Competitiveness Report, India State Competitiveness Report, and funds academic research in the area of strategy & competitiveness. For more information, visit
About the Social Progress India
Social Progress India is a presentation of Institute for Competitiveness and Social Progress Imperative. SPI produces the Social Progress Index that is a holistic and robust measurement framework for national, social and environmental performance that can be used by leaders in government, business and civil society at the country level as a tool to benchmark success, improve policy, and catalyse action.

Editor’s Notes: The complete 2017 Social Progress Index: States of India findings, methodology, state profiles and other resources are available online at