The NITI Aayog is all set to come up with a nationwide index that would objectively assess and rank states on the basis of how they fare in terms of gender equality, ThePrint has learnt.
The gender index, the “Women in Socio-Economic” (WISE) Index, would be on the lines of the Good Governance Index recently released by the government.
Some of its criteria will include women’s access to healthcare, household infrastructure such as toilets and LPG cylinders, among others, educational and professional avenues, decision-making abilities within the family and economic empowerment, etc.
Sources in the think-tank said official communication to ministries of women and child development, health and human resource development, were sent last week, and that they have been asked to send their inputs within three months.
This is the first exclusively gender-based index being prepared in India. While the Economic Survey and Sustainable Development Goals Index of the NITI Aayog dwell extensively on gender, no index has been exclusively dedicated to assess the degree of women empowerment in the country.
“For now, no new data is being compiled, and ministries are required to send in existing data on the decided criteria,” said a government official. “All states will be ranked on the basis of that data.”
The idea was first recommended by the NITI Aayog in its strategy document earlier this year, where it proposed that a gender-desegregated data be generated and states be ranked on key indicators.
In the document, it was proposed that a dedicated unit within the Ministry of Women and Child Development be established for this purpose.
“The unit should focus on data gathering, conducting regular reviews with other ministries on explicitly defined gender targets (e.g. under the POSHAN Abhiyaan, reduce anaemia rates among adolescent girls and women in the 15-49 years age group by at least one-third by 2022-23), ensuring optimum budgetary resources for women’s welfare and evaluating the effectiveness of gender-based budgeting,” it said.-The Print