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Smaller states offer better lifestyle

May 05, 2003 13:00 IST

If you are looking for quality of life, Goa is the place to be, followed by Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

Unless, of course, you live in Delhi, Chandigarh, Pondicherry or Daman and Diu, which rank high in terms of ownership of assets like televisions, telephones, cars and scooters and access to amenities like banking, electricity, tap water and permanent houses.

Rankings on the basis of the house-listing operations of Census 2001 show that after urban centres, these smaller states provide the most in terms of quality of life.

They also reveal an East-West lifestyle divide. Among states in the east, only Tamil Nadu manages to come in the top 15 on most counts. Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim do better than the others, but come in the second half of the list.

Goa is among the top five states in terms of the proportion of households reporting ownership of most of these assets and access to most of these facilities.

The difference between urban centres like Delhi and states like Goa is however fairly sharp. For instance, while 74.5 per cent of households in Delhi own television sets, only 63.5 per cent of those in Goa do so.

Punjab figures in the top 10 in all categories, except in access to tap water. Only 33.6 per cent of households in the state had drinking water on tap against 84 per cent in Himachal Pradesh. HP is ranked fairly high on all counts, barring ownership of two wheelers and cars, where it slips to 26th and 19th ranks, respectively.

Among the larger states, Kerala does the best in terms of ownership of these assets and access to amenities, followed by Maharashtra. Kerala ranks in the top 10, except in case of TV ownership, where it is 14th, ownership of two wheelers where it ranks 22nd and access to taps as a source of drinking water, where it is ranked 29th. Only 20.4 per cent of households used taps as a source of drinking water in Kerala.

However, that could be on account of the large number of wells in the state.

Maharashtra is in the top 15 except in the proportion of households using electricity as a source of lighting, where it ranks 16th among 35 states and Union Territories. Gujarat is also in the top 15 in all rankings except in ownership of telephones, where the state ranks 16th.

Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are in the top 15 on five of the seven counts considered. While Karnataka is 16th in terms of TV ownership and 17th in terms of the percentage of households living in permanent houses, Tamil Nadu is 24th in terms of car ownership and 30th in terms of access to banking.

Andhra Pradesh's ranks range between 15 and 25 except in car ownership, where it is at 31st position. Mizoram's ranks range between 11 and 20, except in case of access to tap water, where it ranks 22nd, and ownership of television sets, where it ranks 30th. Sikkim's ranks vary widely, but remain above 25 on all counts.

At the bottom of the list on most counts are states like Bihar, Orissa, Assam, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.

Mamata Singh