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Economic Survey Announces a New Index: Basic Necessities Index

The Economic Survey 2020, released today, uses data from two rounds of the NSSO, 69th and 76th on drinking water, sanitation, hygiene and housing to construct an index of these measures.  Using the index, the Survey finds that access to bare necessities is the highest in Kerala, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat. It is the lowest in Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Tripura.
In sum the Survey is echoing the 'minimum needs' call of the 1950s again. It points to the need for improving access with better targeting o needier population.
On health care, the Survey emphatic about the need for a long-erm policy and an 'agile' system.  It has recommended an increase in public spending on health care from 1 percent currently to 2.5-3 per cent of GDP. with the aim of reducing the out of pocket expenditure (OOPE) from the current 65 per cent to 35 per cent.  As expected it has applauded the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY). Under the scheme health insurance of unto Rs 5 lakh per year per family is provided to 50 crore families.  This makes secondary and tertiary care available to these families.  The Survey points out that that the 32 states that have adopted JAY have shown better health outcomes.
The Survey indicates that the pharma industry will receive special boosts in the coming Budget, pointing out as it does, that India should aim to become the undisputed 'pharmacy of the world'. 
Other than health and welfare, the Survey forcefully suggests that R and D expenditure in industry should rise from the current 0.7 per cent of GDP to more than 2 per cent. Devoting an entire chapter to Innovation, the Survey points out that spending on research is poorer than the top 10 countries, with only 30 per cent of R and D personnel being employed in the private sector despite big tax incentives. the government employs 36 per cent of R and D personnel as against 9 per cent in other economies---which shows the 'heavy-lifting' that the government does in this area.
All through the Survey there is a decided emphasis on digitisation and digital education.  Women's poor work participation has caught the eye of the Survey which makes encouraging points to increase raise this.
The chief economic advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian predicts a V-shaped economic recovery.

Source: Iris Knowledge Foundation

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Posted on : Jan 30, 2021