What the latest NFHS data says about the New Welfarism

News: Recently released National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) shows remarkable improvement in New Welfarism.

Must readNFHS-5 and its findings – Explained, pointwise
What is New Welfarism?

According to the authors, New Welfarism does not prioritise the supply of public goods such as basic health and primary education as governments have done around the world historically.

Instead, New Welfarism has entailed the subsidised public provision of essential goods and services, normally provided by the private sector. Such as bank accounts, cooking gas, toilets, electricity, housing, etc.

How do NFHS-5 data show the success of New Welfarism?
Source: Indian Express

Firstly, striking improvements in household access to improved sanitation, cooking gas and bank accounts used by women.

Secondly, Improvement in case of stunting and diarrhoea on child-related outcomes.

The interesting pattern is that nearly all the phase 2 states show large improvements, whereas most of the phase 1 states exhibited a deterioration in performance.

Note: The survey for the latest data was conducted in two waves, the first before the pandemic and the second during the peak of the second wave.
Source: Indian Express

On child stunting, the old BIMARU states (except Bihar) are no longer the laggards.

If true, then India is seeing not catch-up but the great switch between some of the BIMARU states and the mid-peninsular/western states.

Thirdly, India witnesses a non-monopoly of any political party in regional performance. For instance, The improvements in Rajasthan have happened under the Congress, in MP and Haryana under the BJP, in Odisha under the BJD, and in UP under both Samajwadi Party and BJP. On the other hand, stagnation has occurred in Gujarat (BJP), West Bengal (Trinamool), and Telangana (TRS).

Source: This post is based on the article ”What the latest NFHS data says about the New Welfarism” published in Indian Express on 3rd December 2021.

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