rnin   o io   onomi ss es       21.15
     India, the country performs much better in its               Government of India (GoI) needs to settle several
     commitment towards reducing inequality.                      concerns involved with it.
     conclusion                                                   An effective iDeA
     In recent years, the Government of India has                 We find the idea of UBI gaining ground among
     become more sensitive to the issue of alarmingly             several countries across democracies and non-
     high inequality in the country and looks committed           democracies—right from France to Finland
     to take suitable steps to check it also. Not only            to China (where a similar scheme, the dibao,
     some effective right-based schemes have been                 is implemented). Such a scheme is generally
     launched in recent times but the Government                  proposed as a non-targeted one in which a fixed
     has tried to address the issues related to proper            sum of cash is periodically transferred to all on
     identification of the beneficiaries and delivery also,       individual basis. The idea is to ensure that every
     with the help of Aadhar, Jan-Dhan Yojana and                 person in society has the means to live with a
     direct benefit transfer. Government is already on            certain freedom and dignity, independent of
     the path of reforming the tax regime. The recent             capacity to earn or availability of employment.
     move of demonetisation of high value currency                The idea really looks attractive as it has potential
     notes also falls in this category, while the proposal        to reduce both poverty and inequality.
     of the universal basic income (UBI) coming from                   India already piloted such a scheme in
     the Economic Survey 2016-17 looks too innovative             Madhya Pradesh by 2010. The Economic Survey
     (by early March 2017, the Government has shown               2016-17 proposed an amount of Rs 7,620 a year
     its willingness to go for it also). As ending extreme        to be transferred into the bank accounts of the
     poverty is among the goals of the sustainable                beneficiaries of the UBI. Though it is well short of
     development goals (SDGs) it looks quite timely               what anyone might need to lead a life of leisure,
     to move in the direction of checking inequality              it would cut absolute poverty from 22 per cent
     from rising first and reducing it afterwards.                to less than 0.5 per cent. Theoretically, the UBI
                                                                  is proposed to be financed through recycling
        7. UNiverSAl BASic iNcome                                 funds from around 950 welfare schemes (costing
                                                                  around 5 per cent of the GDP) presently run by
     introDuction                                                 the GoI aimed at offering subsidised food, water,
                                                                  fertilisers and many other things. A big part of
     In the last few years we have seen several experts           Government’s subsidies is enjoyed by the rich
     suggesting for a universal basic income (UBI)                people in the country (as per the Economic Survey
     for India. The idea got strengthened when the                2015-17) which can also be rejigged for this
     Economic Survey 2016-17 proposed for the                     purpose.
     same—articulating very sound logic in its favour.
     By March 2017 the Government announced that                  Working out the scheme
     such a scheme may be piloted by late-2017 and
                                                                  There are several important issues to be settled
     implemented to a limited scale by the year 2018-
                                                                  before India launches such a scheme. A brief
     19. Although, before going for such a scheme8 the
                                                                  survey of the major issues involved with it is given
         8.  The write-up is based on primary sources such as the below:
             Economic Survey 2016-17, releases of the Union
             Ministry of Finance, the NITI Aayog and few issues   Financial model: The first and foremost issue is
             of the journal The Economist, mainly.                mobilising adequate fund for it. If we go into the