Bare Necessities Index(BNI) – UPSC GS3

The Economic Survey 2020-21 has introduced the Bare Necessities Index(BNI).
  • Bare Necessities Index(BNI): This index is a means of assessing equity in economic development among states and regions in India. It uses the basic needs approach.
  • Indicators: This index uses 26 indicators on five dimensions of basic necessities— water, sanitation, housing, micro-environment, and other facilities.
  • Data Collection: The index has been created for all states based on data collected by the National Statistical Office(NSO) in 2012 and 2018.
  • Range: 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 Findings:
  • Richer vs Poorer States: The Poorer States have reduced the gap with rich States in providing access to the basics of daily life — housing, water, power, sanitation, cooking gas.
  • Inter-State disparity in access to the basic necessities has declined in 2018, when compared to 2012.
  • Performance of States: States such as Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, and Gujarat top the index.  While eastern Indian States of Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Tripura have occupied the lowest positions.
  • States which showed significant improvement include Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
  • Richer vs Poorer Households: The access to basic necessities has improved significantly for the poorest households when compared to the richest households.
  • Gap between Rural and Urban India: There is still a gap between urban and rural India as well as among income groups in access to basic necessities.
  • There should be effective targeting of the government schemes for the poorer population in both urban or rural areas.
  • There should be better Centre-State coordination with local governments as they are responsible for civic amenities in urban areas.
  • The BNI could also be constructed at the district level using large annual household survey data to show progress.
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