ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Do Indian States Converge?

Infant Mortality Rate

Infant mortality rate has been improving in India for a considerable time now. From 2009 to 2018, India has improved the IMR from 50 to 32. This article aims to understand the underlying improvement in the IMR at the state level and establish whether there is convergence. For this exercise, the article uses health inequality measures like standard deviation, coeffi cient of variation, rate of improvement differences, β convergence and Gini coeffi cient. The fi ndings reveal that all states show improvement in IMR over 10 years, but the rate of improvement is varying amongst state and there is no convergence amongst the states. Small states and union territories improve the IMR at a higher rate compared to that of the national improvement rate.

The infant mortality rate (IMR) has been one of the most important indicators to track the health status of any society. The IMR has been reducing over last few decades with substantial amount of investment in maternal and child health, with India being no exception. However, the literature on global health inequality shows that countries show convergence in terms of the life expectancy, but not in terms of the IMR (Clark 2011; Goli et al 2019). However, in the Indian context, Goli and Arokiasamy (2013) and Jain and Jain (2017) showed that there is convergence in IMR, and Hembram and Haldar (2020) showed there is convergence in overall health amongst states of India.

The IMR data in India shows a significant improvement over the last few decades. All states, too, show improvement in IMR over time but it is imperative to understand that the rate of improvement in all states may not be the same. If the rate of improvement is not same for all states, there is a need to analyse which states are faring better than others. The states that were already better placed in terms of IMR and further improving at higher rate than the national rate may result in divergence amongst states and under­lying inequality may rise. This article tries to analyse the convergence of IMR amongst Indian states from 2009 to 2018. The article employs standard in­equality measures like coefficient of variation (Hembram and Haldar 2020), ­deviation of rate of improvement from the national rate, σ and β convergence (Goli and Arokiasamy 2013; Jain and Jain 2017), and Gini coefficient (Gakidou et al 2000; Spinakis et al 2011). The study intends to triangulate inferences deri­ved from all these health inequality measures and establish the convergence or divergence of IMR amongst Indian states.

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Updated On : 6th Sep, 2021


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