Human Development in MP: the role of fiscal policy and governance (and history?)

A team of scholars from NIPFP have this one pager on Human development in Madhya Pradesh.

In spite of massive economic growth, Madhya Pradesh has been classified as ‘off-track’ in most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) along with a wide divergence between the growth and human development indicators across different districts within the state.

At the district level, Dindori, Sidhi, Singrauli, Panna, Umaria are at the bottommost and Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Hoshangabad, Gwalior are the topmost districts in human development achievements. Human development is not only dependent on public expenditure, but also on other factors such as governance. For example the public expenditure on health and health achievements, many districts are performing better in spite of lower expenditures and some are lagging behind even though expenditures are higher.
Health achievements are found to be better in 16 districts in spite of lower per capita expenditures. The districts are Katni, Chhindwara, Seoni, Harda, Sehore, Ratlam, Mandsour, Khargone, Rajgarh, Morena, Dhar, Bhind, Dewas, Betul, Shajapur and Neemuch. Five districts are lagging behind in health outcomes in spite of higher per capita expenditures. The districts are Shahdol, Sagar, Mandla, Rewa and Raisen. Other 21 districts are lagging behind in health outcomes due to lower expenditures and other reasons.
These trends could suggest that public expenditure alone may not result in better human development outcomes. Sectoral public expenditure could be just a necessary condition and may not be sufficient enough to bring improvements in human development outcomes. In addition to public expenditure, other factors such as governance could also influence the human development.
What caught my attention was the names of top 5 districts-  Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Hoshangabad, Gwalior. Out of these, three were essentially princely states –  Indore, Bhopal and Gwalior. These three continue to be better placed amidst most Indian cities. It is interesting and not completely surprising that they top the human development charts in MP.
The rulers of these 3 were seen (based on my very limited reading) as progressive compared to other rulers. Could it have been that these districts continue to enjoy the institutional benefits laid years ago?
How do they compare with other districts? MP has multiple such princely states. Do we see some historical patterns in these? Say yesterday’s progressive states continue to be progressive today? Or is it the other way round? Or it is a mixed bag.
Will be interesting to see through these historical connections.

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