Health and Deprivation: A Suggested Application to the North-Eastern States of India

  • Atanu SenguptaEmail author
  • Parnasudha Karmodak
Part of the India Studies in Business and Economics book series (ISBE)


Health is an important dimension of social upliftment. In the usual discourse of health, all focus seems to be on the achievements side. It reports on the improvement of life expectancy of reduction of infant mortality, increase of public hygiene and so on and so forth. The government is usually inclined to project this as its arena of achievement. NGOs and other bodies are also interested in the positive story of expanding health facilities to the common populace. Unfortunately, this approach does a serious injustice to those who are outside this hallowed circle. The point is beautifully put forward by “Basu and Foster” (Econ J 108(451):1733–1749, 1998) in their study of isolated and proximate literacy. The plight of an illiterate person increases more if he/she lives in a family where everybody is illiterate. The opposite happens if some of its family members achieve literacy. A somewhat similar effect may be argued in the case of health. We have tried to construct Health Index that tries to capture this effect. We first provided a theoretical axiomatic structure for constructing this index. It is observed that the index satisfies some well behaved social utility function. We have then applied the index at the state level data for North-East India across two time points. Our aim is to understand the relative dynamics of our constructed index in the light of the state level data for North-East India. We hope the exercise will be fruitful for policy makers and researchers particularly those who are interested in the health of the poor.


Health index Social utility function Two-dimensional aspects of health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economics DepartmentBurdwan UniversityBurdwanIndia

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