Universal Basic Income (UBI) for India - Editorial

Universal Basic Income (UBI) - Introduction

Ideological of Universal Basic Income (UBI) has gained popularity in western countries because of the initiation of automation and its association with fear of Job losses and unexpected increase in unemployment.

Street Vendor Selling food
Photo by Garvit / Unsplash

In India, the Universal Basic Income (UBI) is considered to be the solution for prolonged chronic poverty and a series of Government failures to target subsidies to less fortunate citizens and the poor.

Universal Basic Income (UBI)

Universal Basic Income (UBI) can be considered as the minimum income one requires to fulfill his daily necessities. UBI once implemented successfully across the country will provide, regular and periodic cash payments into the bank accounts provided to all Indian citizens irrespective of their employment status. There are many think tanks working towards the formalization of the scheme. This should also be made available post-education (undergraduate/graduation) till the individual finds a job.

I was on a boat travelling down the backwaters of Kerala watching kids playing in the river when I spotted this hard working gentleman. He seemed to be happy as larry.
Photo by kyran low / Unsplash

The State of Sikkim is going to run the pilot process of UBI, toward the actualization of Universal Basic Income (UBI). This is the major leap toward the Right to Basic Income to cover their everyday requirements and reduce the poverty, under the title of Being a Citizen.

This ambitious project has “Five Broad Features”, such as …
Payments at Periodic Regular Intervals (not one-off grants) e.g. Monthly payments,

  • Payments in Cash i.e. deposits in Bank Accounts (not food vouchers or service coupons),
  • Payments to Individual Entity
  • Universality/ Uniform process
  • Unconditionality (no condition of caste, religion, education, or employment status)

UBI versus Regular Farm Loan Waivers

Farm Waiver is temporary relief to take the burden off the shoulders of the Indian farmers, but certainly not a good practice. Farm Waiver is a temporary fix for Rural Poverty the collective protest and demands from the opposition parties in India.

Woman Farmer - Paddy Field
Photo by Nandhu Kumar / Unsplash

This is a very bad practice of economics. Measures like Farm Waivers will eventually drain the nation’s treasury and eventually will bring down the entire economic structure at some point, if not sooner. Such schemes are populist in nature and contagious from economic perspectives.

For example, considering the fact, that if a certain type of loan is non-repayable and needs to be bailed out by the government intervention then why not other types of loans be bailed out.

  • Thinking of the long term, the financial institutions in India would stop lending loans or stop loan availability to Small-Scale Farmers.
  • Thus UBI would be more equitable or fill the gap (rationally) in addressing the rural tragedy.
  • The Rythu Bandhu Scheme started in the state of Telangana Govt. served as the groundwork for the Income Support Scheme for farmers in India and does not disrupt market or stir the equilibrium of credit culture.
  • The RBS however kept away the tenant farmers/croppers, they consist a considerable number of 13.7% of total farm landholding in India.

Advantage of Basic Income Provision

A certain level of studies and pilot implementation of the program has reported various advantages associated with the provision of Universal Basic Income (UBI) to many people as such.

  • Firstly it was reported, that those suffering from poverty managed to get out of that grip and had increased Nutrition Intake. The Universal Basic Income (UBI) enables the rise in daily food consumption (Meat, Vegetables, Pulses, and Milk products).
  • Secondly, the beneficiaries of the Universal Basic Income (UBI) allowed people to spend money on healthcare, resulting in healthy individuals and fewer occurrences of illness and death incidents due to health issues.
  • The other important indicator was education, this section saw multiple and regular enrolments in schools and colleges, especially girls/women student enrollment.
  • Universal Basic Income (UBI) stood up to the expectation of minimizing the gap between rich and poor and a step toward equitable development.
  • UBI provided the required boost and motivation for the rural population to work hard than earlier and it was observed that people try multiple economic options with the provided Basic Income.
  • The prolonged illness of indebtedness was at ease, funds saving capacity increased, and placed people in a better financial situation or position.
  • Basic Income might act as the Economic Security and to some extent Social Security for the unfortunate crowd (weak, mentally and physically challenged, etc.)
  • Basic Income also acts as the stronghold or “Economic Intravenous therapy (IV )” for youth who are skilled and have the required education but to due unfortunate events or market situations, are not able to locate or find jobs, or get employment. UBI will be hand-holding these people while the hard days are passed by.

Conclusion

The combination of the National Food Security Act, MGNREGA, and Universal Basic Income bundled together will make a fruitful combination for the overall growth of the country. Moreover, the Govt. of India reached the conclusion of using Universal Basic Income as a powerful tool, for poverty reduction in India.

Everyone gaining from modest basic income is the objective to a certain extent. Universal Basic Income (UBI) foresees an equitable society with an uncompromised social safety net, in order to assure a respectable and dignified living experience for everyone.