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Bare Necessities Index (30 January 2021)

Bare Necessities Index (30 January 2021)


Economic Survey 2020-21 constructs a Bare Necessities Index (BNI) at the rural, urban and all India level.


In 2018, access to bare necessities was the highest in states such as Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, and Gujarat, and lowest in Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Tripura.

In terms of urban-rural divide, all states barring Delhi, Punjab, Goa, Kerala, and Sikkim had medium or low access to bare necessities in their rural areas.

In 2012, only rural Delhi had high access to bare necessities.

Summary of the Debate

About Bare Necessities Index:

  • This BNI uses 26 indicators on five dimensions of basic necessities:

    • Water

    • Sanitation

    • Housing

    • Micro-environment

    • Other facilities

  • The index has been created for all states based on data collected by the National Statistical Office (NSO) in 2012 and 2018.

  • The index classifies areas on three levels of access — high, medium, low — to bare necessities.

  • The index has a range of 0 to 1 where 1 represents the best access to the basic necessities.

Key Takeaways:

  • The earlier chapter discussion which the survey does which is on the

    • Relationship between economic growth

    • Poverty reduction

    • Income distribution

  • Inequalities in access to bare necessities like drinking water, sanitation, hygiene and housing conditions continue to exist between urban and rural India despite widespread improvements in each of these aspects.

  • The BNI builds on the idea of Thalinomics in the Economic Survey for 2019-20, through which it had sought to examine the access to food in the country.

  • The Survey has underlined the need to focus on reducing variations in the access to bare necessities across states, between rural and urban areas, and between income groups.

  • These indices are useful as a summary measure, if we want to compare one state performance over time or comparing one state with another state or other state.

  • They provide a summary and draw attention when somebody is performing very well or badly etc.

  • Such an index is highly very useful to draw attention to things which should receive more attention.

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What has been done to provide these bare necessities?

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Grameen:

  • Objective: Providing a pucca house, with basic amenities, to all houseless householder and those households living in kutcha and dilapidated house, by 2022.

  • Target: Construction of 2.95 crore houses with all basic amenities by the year 2022.

  • Beneficiaries: People belonging to SCs/STs, freed bonded labourers and non-SC/ST categories, widows or next-of-kin of defence personnel killed in action, ex-servicemen and retired members of the paramilitary forces, Disabled persons and Minorities.

  • Selection of Beneficiaries: Based on housing deprivation parameters of Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC), 2011.

  • Cost sharing: Between Central and State Governments in the ratio 60:40 in plain areas and 90:10 for North Eastern and Himalayan States.

NITI Aayog sustainable development goals index:

  • The SDG India Index was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI), Global Green Growth Institute and United Nations in India.

  • It tracks progress of all States and UTs on 100 indicators drawn from the MoSPI’s National Indicator Framework (NIF).

Saubhagya Yojana:

  • The scheme was launched in September 2017 with a target to electrify all households by December 2018.

Swachh Bharat Mission:

  • It was launched on 2nd October, 2014 to accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to focus on sanitation.

  • Objective: Eliminating open defecation through the construction of household-owned and community-owned toilets and establishing an accountable mechanism of monitoring toilet use.

  • Implemented by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

How to reduce variation across social groups to access the bare necessities?

  • Youth demand: Youth demanding for home schooling, for work from home the equality feeling also, most of the people can afford phones, those who can't afford phones are in a very deprived situation.

  • Upliftment: They want a little more uplift they want things in the electronics world, they want to catch up, they want access to knowledge.

  • Employment: There's no point giving a scholarship, food, water to students in far-off places who can't afford it, also those who have not got the income to get these things on their own.

  • Special treatments: Public distribution may be one of the things, government can consider to really give them a chance.

  • Skills: They should get skills by which they're able to access knowledge they find out what others are doing.

  • Equal access to education: One of the easiest ways is to target the younger generation of school going generation.

  • Chief Economic Advisor has also said that the private health sector has been lagging not doing well we have to go to the government sector and improve it.

  • Access to internet: If 50 percent of the youth living somewhere in some remote area, rural area do not have access to internet that's going to be a huge inequality not just for education but for health. There's going to be e-medicine, startups, education e-skilling, e-governance so without access to the internet it's going to be a source of huge inequality.

Bare necessities becoming a lot wider than just Roti Kapda and Makan:

  • One should remember that earlier we used to call them basic needs now we are calling them bare necessities.

  • The lockdown completely exempted essential goods and services. But essential goods and services included electricity, tv and telecommunication, it included telephones etc.

  • Government must provide public goods and services, because these have been relatively neglected.

  • There are tons of world bank reports from past three decades which show that India’s focus is on public goods, because the rich can always substitute these goods by very expensive methods.

  • But by definition public goods are very expensive to provide individually, so it's impossible for the poor to do so.

  • Access to internet now is a is absolutely essential for equality. So, in the remote areas connecting every district headquarters now with BharatNet is being expanded to every village.

Way Forward:

  • Environmental Enteropathy: Public health means sewage and sanitation, many people don't need know this but there's something called environmental enteropathy which goes through the sewage system and infects people's ability to absorb nutrition. This stunting we keep saying is due to lack of nutrition is not that they don't eat anything is that they cannot absorb it.

    • Sewage and sanitation is critical health education, a school a primary school in the US they teach you about germs about cleanliness India have to do it during the pandemic.

  • Traditional Focus: There are many areas of traditional which should not be neglected. There is need to go with the traditional focus on the traditional keeping in view the fact that there's a large chunk which is still fighting for basic necessities and then also include ideas like smartphones to bridge the digital divide.

  • Access to essential services: The pandemic has given us new challenges and those challenges like you know access to internet, access to smartphones access to education tele medicine, so those are aspects which need to be included and focused upon.

  • Coverage: There's a large part of the population which is still struggling for bare necessities so it is very important to measure that whether these programs that the government is running are reaching them.

  • Upgradation: Every block hospital or mandal hospital should be upgraded.

  • Integration of schemes: This poverty elevation scheme was between 250 to 300 different central and state government schemes at the district level. These must be integrated both at the centra land the state level and between the two.


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