Kerala is the best governed state in the country, according to a survey released by a Bengaluru think-tank, Public Affairs Centre.

The Public Affairs Index 2018, released on Saturday, says Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat are among the top five states delivering good governance. Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha ranked the lowest on the index, indicating higher social and economic inequalities.

Among smaller states – with population less than two crore – Himachal Pradesh topped the list of states with good governance, followed by Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura. Meghalaya performed the worst in this list. Manipur, Nagaland, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir were the other poor performers.

The organisation, which tries to mobilise the demand for better governance in the country, studied all states and ranked them on 10 themes such as essential infrastructure, support to human development, social protection, women and children as well as law and order. Thirty focus subjects and 100 indicators were measured to derive the index, relying solely on government data, it said, adding that it did not want to access private data sources that may be interpreted as “biased”.

This year’s index also measured how child-friendly each state is. Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram topped this index.

“The index provides a multi-dimensional and comprehensive matrix that attempts to capture the complexities of governing the plural and diverse people of this sub-continent,” said Senior Fellow at Public Affairs Centre CK Mathew.

“The PAI 2018 is one example of a data-based framework that provides some basis, even if rudimentary, to assess the performance of states in India,” said former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation K Kasturirangan.