YK MYK 1 IN 3 ADULTS ANXIOUS, DEPRESSED DUE TO COVID-19, STUDY FINDS HEALTH & BODY Rs. 5 RANCHI SATURDAY, 30 JAN, 2021 PG-12, YEAR—10, ISSUE—265 (RNI NO: JHAENG / 2012 / 44137) WORLD TOUR FINALS: CONSOLATION WIN FOR SINDHU SPORTS Morning India WEATHER TODAY THIS DECADE IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR BRIGHT FUTURE OF INDIA: PM MODI MAX 21 C MIN 07 C Sky will be clear. AT A GLANCE BLAST NEAR ISRAEL EMBASSY IN DELHI, NO INJURIES REPORTED NEW DELHI: A lowintensity explosion took place near the Israel Embassy in Delhi on Friday evening. No injuries have been reported in the incident so far. Windscreens of several cars parked in the vicinity of the Embassy on Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Road here were found damaged. The explosion took place not far from Vijay Chowk, where several VVIPS including President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi were in attendance during the 'Beating Retreat' ceremony. The nature of explosion is being ascertained and security has been stepped up in and around the area. Senior police officers have reached the spot. Further details are awaited. INDIA, WORLD BANK SIGN $500M PACT TO IMPROVE SCHOOL EDUCATION NEW DELHI: The Indian government and the World Bank on Friday signed a $500 million Strengthening TeachingLearning and Results for States Programme (STARS) to improve the quality and governance of school education in six states -- Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan. Some 250 million students (between the age of 6 and 17) in 1.5 million schools. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 1,07,20,972 TOTAL DEATH: 154,047 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 102,138,314 TOTAL DEATH: 2,203,114 JMM spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya talking to media in Jamshedpur on Friday. Didi alone will not be able to stop BJP in Bengal: Supriyo Economic Survey pegs India’s Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party leaders stage a protest in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue against farm laws, during the Budget Session of the Parliament, in New Delhi on Friday. which is considered one of the JMM stronghold areas in JAMSHEDPUR: Jharkhand Bengal, beside districts like MuktiMorcha (JMM) will con- Purulia, West Midnapore and test in the ensuing assembly Bankura. But hours after a elections in Bengal to stop the party meeting that was BJP from grabbing power in addressed by HemantSoren, the neighbouring state. Chief Minister Mamta JMM spokesperson Banerjee made negative comSupriyo Bhattacharya said ments on the JMM leadership this while talking to the media at a forum in Calcutta," said here on Friday. the JMM spokesperson. Bhattacharya, who is also Bhattacharya said they one of the key strategists of have already started talks for this regional political outfit an alliance with different said though their main objec- political parties, including tive in contesting Bengal elec- Left parties other than TMC tions is to prevent the saffron and they are not holding any brigade from coming to talks with the TMC. power there, they would be in The JMM spokesperson, a triangular fight in the state. on being queried, said that "The way the BJP is the JMM would contest on 30 spreading its tentacle in to 35 seats in the districts Bengal keeping the assembly where the party has a signifielections in view, cant influence. Didi alone will not "The sociobe able to stop the cultural identity JMM TO saffron party of the people FIGHT 35 from coming to residing in SEATS, EYES power. We, Bengal's districts TRIANGULAR therefore, wanted like West CONTEST IN to forge a grand Midnapore, BENGAL alliance against B a n k u r a , the BJP. But from Jhargram and the kind of feedback and Purulia resembles much with reaction we are getting from that of the tribals residing in Didi, we will have to forge an Jharkhand. Moreover, we alliance with other parties, have an affinity with the peoincluding the Left and fight a ple living in these bordering triangular poll there," said districts of Bengal as in the the JMM spokesperson. past we had envisaged to He said the fact that the include those districts in the ruling Trinamool Congress Brihat Jharkhand (greater will not board the same boat Jharkhand) during the strugas JMM in the ensuing assem- gle for a separate statehood bly elections came to the fore here. We want to participate after adverse comment from in the Bengal assembly elecDidi was made on the JMM tions in a bigger and effective leadership in Calcutta on way because, we do not want Thursday hours after Chief the people of our neighbourMinister HemantSoren and ing state to suffer the kind of other senior JMM leaders hardship and atrocities that organised a party meeting at the people of Jharkhand had Jhargram. “Chief minister to suffer between 2014 to HemantSoren and other sen- 2019 during the BJP rule ior leaders had gone to read here," Bhattacharya pointed the ambience of Jhargram out. MI NEWS SERVICE CM NOD TO SUSPEND DEOGHAR CO RANCHI: CM Hemant Soren has given his nod to the proposal for suspension of Deoghar circle officer (CO) Anil Kumar Singh. The decision was taken in view of the complaints against the CO, his reply to the show cause and the opinion expressed by the concerned DC in this regard. The DC has termed the reply of CO as unsatisfactory. The CO has been accused of irregularities in revenue works, non-cooperation with the inquiry committee formed to examine the revenue related works, absence from duty without leave, laxity towards works and neglect of the order issued by senior officials. FY22 economic growth in at 11 pc Budget Session begins with Prez address, Oppn creates ruckus NEW DELHI: The Indian economy can contract by 7.7 per cent in current financial year ending on March 31 and the growth could be 11 per cent in the next financial year, according to the Economic Survey tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The contraction in FY21 is mainly due to coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the visible damage caused by the subsequent countrywide lockdown to contain it. The survey unveiled two days before the Union Budget is broadly in line with forecasts by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which has said it expected the country's GDP to contract by 7.5 per cent in the year ending March 31. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently pegged the contraction in India's economy at 8 per cent in 2020-21. It expects a growth rate of 11.5 per cent in the 2021-22 before a decline to 6.8 per cent in 2022-23 and that India will regain the tag of the fastest-growing large economy in the world in SURVEY SPECIAL CMYK 10 ted to the Drug Controller General of India for EUA. Addressing a virtual press conference to announce third quarter results of the company, he said the company was also gearing up for the pro- duction of Sputnik. Initially it will be a combination of import and local manufacturing. He also revealed that the company is in talks with a couple of local manufacturers. It has already signed ECONOMIC SURVEY www.sanmarglive.com Morning India 2020-21 SATURDAY, RANCHI, JANUARY 30, 2021 BACK ON TRACK HIGHLIGHTS FOLLOWING ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF ECONOMIC SURVEY 2020-21, TABLED IN PARLIAMENT BY FINANCE MINISTER NIRMALA SITHARAMAN ON FRIDAY. STATE OF ECONOMY AMIDST ONCE IN A CENTURY CRISIS: Economic contraction projected at 7.7 pc in FY21, 11 pc GDP growth projected in FY22, farm sector remains silver lining, V-shaped recovery supported by COVID vaccination drive, Rebound to be led by low base and continued normalization in economic activities as vaccine rollout gathers traction, Govt consumption, net exports have cushioned growth from further diving down, Exports to decline by 5.8 pc, imports by 11.3 pc in 2nd half of FY21, India expected to have a Current Account Surplus of 2 pc of GDP this fiscal, a historic high after 17 years , India's sovereign credit ratings do not reflect its fundamentals, India's willingness to pay is unquestionably demonstrated through its zero sovereign default history , India's fiscal policy should reflect Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's sentiment of a mind without fear' T he Indian economy can contract by 7.7 per cent in current financial year ending on March 31 and the growth could be 11 per cent in the next financial year, according to the Economic Survey tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The contraction in FY21 is mainly due to coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the visible damage caused by the subsequent countrywide lockdown to contain it. The survey unveiled two days before the Union Budget is broadly in line with forecasts by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which has said it expected the country's GDP to contract by 7.5 per cent in the year ending March 31. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently pegged the contraction in India's economy at 8 per cent in 2020-21. It expects a growth rate of 11.5 per cent in the 2021-22 before a decline to 6.8 per cent in 2022-23 and that India will regain the tag of the fastest-growing large economy in the world in both years. In the quarter ended June 2020, the GDP contracted by 23.9 per cent followed by a milder contraction of 7.5 per cent in the quarter ended September 2020. "India was the only country to announce a slew of structural reforms to expand supply in the medium to long term and avoid longterm damage to productive capacities," said the survey. "The upturn in the economy while avoiding a second wave of infections makes India a sui generis case in strategic policymaking amidst a oncein-a-century pandemic," it added. India's primary deficit (Centre and states) for FY21 is assumed to be 6.8 per cent of GDP, according to the Economic Survey tabled in Parliament on Friday. It said the Covid-19 pandemic has created a significant negative shock to demand. Active fiscal policy -- one that recognises that fiscal multipliers are disproportionately higher during economic crises than during economic booms -- can ensure that the full benefit of seminal economic reforms is reaped by limiting potential damage to productive capacity. As the interest rate-growth differential (IRGD) is expected to be negative in the foreseeable future, a fiscal policy that provides an impetus to growth will lead to lower -- not higher -- debt-to-GDP ratios, said the survey. In fact, simulations undertaken till 2030 highlight that given India's growth potential, debt sustainability is unlikely to be a problem even in the worst scenarios. The survey said that to ensure that the economy remains in good health to avail the full benefit of these significant reforms, the economic bridge to medium and long-term has to be created. Only an active fiscal policy -- one that recognises that the risks from doing too little are much more than the risks from doing too much -- can ensure that this economic bridge is well laid out. "In order to sustain the recovery in aggregate demand, the government may have to continue with an expansionary fiscal stance," said the survey, adding the growth recovery will facilitate buoyant revenue collections in the medium term and enable a sustainable fiscal path. It said more active, counter-cyclical fiscal policy is not a call for fiscal irresponsibility. It is a call to break the intellectual anchoring that has created an asymmetric bias against fiscal policy. The Economic Survey 2020-21 tabled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on Friday said the country's economy after being gradually unlocked since June 2020 has experienced a Vshaped recovery. "Despite the hard-hitting economic shock created by the global pan- and investment. Country's Chief Economic Advisor Dr K Subramanian has likened India's economic recovery to the Indian cricket team's recent victory against Australia. "The cover also captures the Vshaped recovery that has happened in the economy. In fact, it mirrors Vshape performance that the Indian cricket team delivered in Australia well after being short out for 36 in an hour, they went on to win the series. The resilience of the Indian THE CONTRACTION IN FY21 IS MAINLY DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND THE VISIBLE DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE SUBSEQUENT COUNTRYWIDE LOCKDOWN TO CONTAIN IT. THE SURVEY UNVEILED TWO DAYS BEFORE THE UNION BUDGET IS BROADLY IN LINE WITH FORECASTS BY THE RESERVE BANK OF INDIA (RBI) WHICH HAS SAID IT EXPECTED THE COUNTRY'S GDP TO CONTRACT BY 7.5 PER CENT IN THE YEAR ENDING MAR 31. demic, India is witnessing a V-shaped recovery with a stable macroeconomic situation aided by a stable currency, comfortable current account, burgeoning forex reserves and encouraging signs in the manufacturing sector output," the survey noted. The survey said the V-shaped economic recovery is due to mega vaccination drive, robust recovery in the services sector, and robust growth in consumption economy is mirroring the resilience of Indian cricket team as well," he said. It stated that with the economy brought to a standstill for two complete months, the inevitable effect was a 23.9 per cent contraction in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as compared to the previous year's quarter. This contraction was consistent with the stringency of the lock- down. However, "While there was a 23.9 per cent contraction in GDP in quarter 1 (Q1), the recovery has been a V-shaped one as seen in the 7.5 per cent decline in Q2 and the recovery across all key economic indicators," said the survey. To capture the lagged impact of stringency on economic indicators, the survey used a three-month moving average of stringency index, which shows that the month-onmonth change in the three-month moving average of the stringency index has a positive relationship with the growth in each of the economic indicators. "Thus, the initial stringent lockdown has supported a V-shaped recovery across all the economic indicators," it noted. According to the survey, the evidence from the experience of Spanish flu establishes that cities that intervened with lockdowns earlier and more aggressively experience stronger recovery in economic front in the long run and learning from this experience, India implemented an early and stringent lockdown from late March to May to curb the pace of the spread of COVID-19. "Given the enormous uncertainty that policymakers faced when making the lockdown decisions, such precise expectations during the lockdown is indeed extremely farfetched. Therefore, the evidence that has been documented indeed shows convincingly that the stringent lockdown saved lives and supported a Vshaped recovery across all the economic indicators," it noted. The survey also forecasted that India's real GDP will record a growth of 11 per cent in 2021-22 and nominal GDP by 15.4 per cent -- the highest since independence. HEALTHCARE: , India's lockdown strategy prevented 37 lakh COVID-19 cases, 1 lakh deaths , Survey recommends increase in public healthcare spending from 1 pc to 2.5-3 pc of GDP, India's health infrastructure must be agile to respond to pandemics - healthcare policy must not become beholden to 'saliency bias' , Telemedicine needs to be harnessed to the fullest by investing in internet connectivity and health infrastructure PROCESS REFORMS: , India overregulates the economy resulting in regulations being ineffective even with relatively good compliance with process , The solution is to simplify regulations and invest in greater supervision which, by definition, implies greater discretion , India's business sector needs to significantly ramp up investments in R&D, Survey suggests asset quality review exercise immediately after the forbearance is withdrawn , Forbearance represents 'emergency medicine' that should be discontinued at the first opportunity when the economy exhibits recovery, not a 'staple diet' that gets continued for years , Legal infrastructure for the recovery of loans needs to be strengthened de facto Fiscal Developments , India adopted a calibrated approach best suited for a resilient recovery of its economy from COVID-19 pandemic impact, in contrast with a front-loaded large stimulus package adopted by many countries , India remained a preferred investment destination with FDI pouring in amidst global asset shifts towards equities and prospects of quicker recovery in emerging economies , Net FPI inflows recorded an all-time monthly high of USD 9.8 billion in November 2020, as investors' risk appetite returned , India only country among emerging markets to receive equity FII inflows in 2020 , India the fastest country to roll out 10 lakh vaccines in 6 days and also emerged as a leading supplier of the vaccine to neighbouring countries and Brazil , India's mature policy response provides important lessons for democracies to avoid myopic policy-making ECONOMIC SURVEY 2020-21 TRIES TO DEFEND GOVERNMENT POLICIES CALLS FOR ACTIVE COUNTER-CYCLICAL FISCAL POLICY GYAN PATHAK T he Economic Survey 2020-21 has projected India's GDP to contract by 7.7 per cent, a great fall from the projected 11.5 per cent growth over the revised estimated a year before. Though the survey tries to instill hope in the people by giving all sort of logic, but all are in a defensive vein as against the last years' economic survey which that was built around India's aspiration of becoming $5 trillion economy by 2025. However, the Survey estimates real GDP growth for the next fiscal 2021-22 at 11 per cent only 0.5 per cent less than what was budgeted for the current fiscal. The survey foresees V-shaped economic recovery supported by mega vaccination drive, and endeavouurs to provide intellectual anchor to the Union Government to be more relaxed about debt and fiscal spending during growth slowdown. It calls for more active, counter cyclical fiscal policies, and emphasizes that the situation is "not a call for fiscal irresponsibility". The Survey has come at a time when COVID-19 pandemic has hit all the sectors of the economy in 2020, and the worst hit sectors were contact based services, manufacturing and construction, and only sector that shows a silver lining is agriculture. Current account surplus is also expected at 2 per cent of the GDP. Government consumption and net exports have also cushioned growth from diving further. The contraction estimated by the survey is exactly what the CS0 had estimated earlier as against the RBI's estimate of 7.5 per cent. It may also be mentioned here that the RBI has forecast that the first half of 2021-22 may witness a real GDP growth of 14.2 per cent. Many of us might be remembering how the international credit rating organizations had been lowering the credit worthiness of India in the recent past. The survey strongly refutes them by stating that India's sovereign credit rating doesn't reflect its fundamentals. "Never in the history of sovereign credit ratings has the 5th largest economy been rated as the lowest rung of investment grade (BBB -). India's fiscal policy must not remain beholden to a noisy, biased measure of India's fundamentals. India's forex reserves can cover an additional 2.8 standard deviation negative event. It is imperative that sovereign credit rating methodology be made more transparent, less subjective," the document emphasizes. The logic is clearly aimed at the critics of the performance of the Modi government, which has been very poor for years, and coupled with mismanagement of finance and policy experiments, had caused a serious downturn in the economy even before the breakout of the pandemic. It was in very bad shape. GDP growth rate had fallen to a decade low to 4.9, and unemployment rate to over 6 per cent at 45 years high. Then came the pandemic and our economy severely impacted which is reflected by the survey report. The Survey tries its best to put the blame for badly performing economy entirely on the pandemic and tries to protect the government by telling us that the contraction was pandemic-driven. India will grow now in 2021-22 at the rate of 11 per cent of the GDP and the nominal GDP will grow by 15.4 per cent. India must continue to focus on economic growth to lift the poor out of poverty by expanding the overall pie, the report says, which is indeed an indirect acceptance that the government has not been doing what was actually needed. However, it says that such a work is possible only when "the size of the economic pie grows". It emphasized the redistributive objectives while calling for "policy focus". It has been noted in the survey that healthcare has finally taken the centre state. The report states that this path would entail a growth in real GDP by 2.4 per cent over the absolute level of 2019-20. It implies that the economy would take two years to reach the pre-pandemic level, however, the government would need to play a key role to shape the structure of the healthcare market, it has been observed. Softening of CPI recently reflects easing of supply side constraints that affected food inflation, the report has emphasized. It has been predicted that air passenger travel and aircraft movements would reach precovid level in early 2021. Private trains may be introduced in 2023-24, bidding process for which is expected to be completed by May 2021. There are several other things that create a rosy picture. The survey gives a very significant warning on the banking sector risks that the country has been facing for quite some time now. It calls for adequate capitalization of public sector banks, or else lenders may resort to risk-shifting, the report warns, severely impacting the real economic recovery. "Under-capitalised banks may again resort to risk-shifting and zombie lending, thereby severely exacerbating the problem. The adverse impact could then spill over to the real INDIA MUST CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON ECONOMIC GROWTH TO LIFT THE POOR OUT OF POVERTY BY EXPANDING THE OVERALL PIE, THE REPORT SAYS, WHICH IS INDEED AN INDIRECT ACCEPTANCE THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOT BEEN DOING WHAT WAS ACTUALLY NEEDED. HOWEVER, IT SAYS THAT SUCH A WORK IS POSSIBLE ONLY WHEN "THE SIZE OF THE ECONOMIC PIE GROWS". IT EMPHASIZED THE REDISTRIBUTIVE OBJECTIVES WHILE CALLING FOR "POLICY FOCUS". economy through good borrowers and projects being denied credit. The resultant drop in the investment rate of the economy could then lead to the slowdown of economic growth," it said. It may be mentioned here that credit growth is at a record low level, stifling the growth of business and industry. The observation is also important because our industries and business, especially MSMEs, need more money in loan and incentives to overcome the crisis they have beef facing. Many of them are just struggling to survive. While dealing with the agriculture sector, the survey says that farm sector reforms in India were overdue and would help create "One India, One Market". It says that reforms would offer more opportunities to farmers. The observation is significant indicating that government is not willing to scrape the three farm laws that the agitating farmers have been demanding, though the government was lately reported to have been willing to put them on hold for one and half years. It has been noted that only agriculture contributed to positive growth while service and industry contributed to the contraction in GDP. The Survey indicates faster normalization of the economy with gradual lifting of restriction. It anticipates faster than anticipated economic recovery over the second half of 2021-22. CMYK NEW DELHI: The Budget Session commenced on Friday with President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the joint sitting of Parliament amid 18 opposition parties boycotting the event and Congress member Ravneet Singh raising slogans against the government on farmers' issue. Following tradition, the President began Budget Session 2021 with his address at 11 a.m. at the Central Hall of Parliament highlighting the government's plan, policy and vision for the next financial year as well as the steps taken during pandemic. The President condemned the farmers' violent march on Republic Day and their attempt to dishonour the dignity of the Red Fort where Prime Minister unfurls Tricolour on Independence Day every year. Vice President M.Venkaiah Naidu also spoke on the event addressing the joint sitting of Parliament. PAGE 10 both years. In the quarter ended June 2020, the GDP contracted by 23.9 per cent followed by a milder contraction of 7.5 per cent in the quarter ended September 2020. "India was the only country to announce a slew of structural reforms to expand supply in the medium to long term and avoid long-term damage to productive capacities," said the survey. MORE ON INSIDE PG Jharkhand among states with lowest access to bare necessities: Survey NEW DELHI: Access to bare necessities has improved across the country and is highest in Kerala, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat, while it is lowest in Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Tripura, the economic blueprint by Finance Ministry's Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy V. Subramanian stated on Friday. The bare necessities of housing, water, sanitation, electricity, and clean cooking fuel are jointly consumed by all the members of a household. They, therefore, are THE BARE NECESSITIES OF HOUSING, WATER, SANITATION, ELECTRICITY, AND CLEAN COOKING FUEL ARE JOINTLY CONSUMED BY ALL THE MEMBERS OF A HOUSEHOLD. THEY, THEREFORE, ARE DURABLE ASSETS. ACCORDING TO THE ECONOMIC SURVEY 2021, COMPARED TO 2012, ACCESS TO THE BARE NECESSITIES HAS IMPROVED ACROSS ALL STATES IN THE COUNTRY IN 2018. durable assets. According to the Economic Survey 2021, compared to 2012, access to the bare necessities has improved across all States in the country in 2018. "Access to bare necessities is the highest in the states such as Kerala, Punjab, Dr Reddy’s plans to launch Sputnik V in India in March HYDERABAD: Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd hopes to launch Russian Covid vaccine Sputnik V in India in March after obtaining Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA). The pharma major expects the Phase 3 trials to be completed next month. "About 70 per cent of the trials have already been completed. We hope to roll out the product in March," said Deepak Sapra, Chief Executive Office, API & Pharmaceutical Services, Dr Reddy's. He said the Phase 3 trials will be completed in February after which data will be compiled and submit- ANI NEW DELHI: Asserting that this decade is very important for the bright future of India and should be fully utilised, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that a golden opportunity has come before the nation to fulfill the dreams seen by the freedom fighters for the country. While addressing media ahead of the commencement of the Budget Session of Parliament, PM Modi said that all MPs will make the Budget session very productive. He said that the Union Budget 2021 will be seen as a part of those 4-5 mini budgets announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in 2020. "Today commences the first session of this decade. This decade is very important for the bright future of India. A golden opportunity has come before the nation to fulfill the dreams seen by the freedom fighters. This decade should be fully utilised. Keeping this in mind, there should be discussions in this session focussing on the decade this is expected by the nation. I believe that we will not lag behind in making our contribution for the fulfilment of people's aspiration," he added. "This is the Budget Session. For the first time in India's history, in a way, the Finance Minister had to present 45 mini budgets in 2020 in the form of different packages. So this Budget will be seen as a part of those 4-5 mini budgets, I believe this," he added. agreements for 125 million patient doses of Sputnik V in India. The pricing of vaccine has not been decided yet. The company plans to cater to both government and private demand. It was on January 15 that Dr. Reddy's announced that it has received approval from the Drugs Control General of India (DCGI) to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials. The trials are to be conducted on 1,500 subjects as part of the randomised, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled study in India. In September 2020, Dr Reddy's partnered with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to conduct the clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine and for its distribution rights in India. Sputnik V developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology was registered by the Ministry of Health of Russia and became the world's first registered vaccine against Covid-19 based on the established human adenoviral vector platform. The vaccine's efficacy is confirmed at 91.4 per cent, based on data analysis of the final control point of clinical trials in Russia. Haryana, and Gujarat while it is the lowest in Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Tripura," the survey stated. The improvements are widespread as they span each of the five dimensions viz., access to water, housing, sanitation, micro-environment, and other facilities. Inter-state disparities in the access to the bare necessities have declined in 2018 when compared to 2012 across rural and urban areas. "This is because the states where the level of access to the bare necessities was low in 2012 have gained relatively more between 2012 and 2018." Access to the bare necessities has improved disproportionately more for the poorest households when compared to the richest households across rural and urban areas. "The improvement is par- ticularly noteworthy because while the rich can seek private alternatives, lobby for better services, or if need be, move to areas where public goods are better provided for, the poor rarely have such choices," the blueprint further said. Improved access to the bare necessities correlates with future improvements in education indicators. The thrust should be given to reduce variation in the access to bare necessities across states, between rural and urban, and between income groups, on bare necessities. Nepal re-opens border with India with restrictions KATHMANDU: Nepal has reopened its border with India after keeping it closed for months due to COVID-19 pandemic but the Indians will need permission to cross the border via land, according to the Nepal Home Ministry. The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday eased the restriction allowing the cross border movement with conditions. "We have ordered to open borders from Thursday following some new measures. Indian and other nationals would require to take a prior permit from the Home Ministry while a Nepali can enter by registering their health details," Chandra Bahadur Budha, Spokesperson for the Home Ministry confirmed to ANI. "This will be only applicable to those entering from 28 border points and travelling via land," he said while adding that new measures will not be applicable for those entering via air. The Nepal government had ordered the closing of its borders with India and Nepal from March 23 last year to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to a report by The Kathmandu Post. As per the latest data by Johns Hopkins University, Nepal has recorded 270,588 COVID-19 cases and 2,020 deaths.