The Universal Basic Income Debate : The Good,The Bad And Is It Viable In Indian Context?

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“We must especially beware of the small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American Eagle in order to¬† feather their own nests”. These words of Franklin D. Roosevelt are surely an indication towards growing economic inequalities in US, but this case is not confined till the borders of a single country rather this is prevailing globally that a shockingly large share of the world’s wealth now rests in the hands of shockingly small percentage of world’s population. So there comes the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) to combat the menace of economic inequality in which a significant amount of money on monthly basis which differs with different age groups is given to unemployed population of a particular country as a social security measure.

A glance at first world countries,already existing features like low population and high economic growth have been proved favourable for concept of universal basic income as a scheme of social security, because as Artificial intelligence(AI) will be taking over job opportunities in coming years, a dearth in job opportunities  will automatically be paving way towards the provision of UBI which is pretty much successful in developed countries due to strong tax base system there.

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But when it comes to a country like India,economic inequality seems more profound and grim. Large proportion of population are still in dire need of making both ends meet. Though the provision of UBI seems worthwhile in other countries but the ever increasing population and low per head¬† productivity make its implementation a farcry.Distributing money or services without in exchange of work will not only make the economic growth stagnant but it also affect the intent of doing work among the masses.Another major issues with the basic income implementation are, firstly¬† this scheme requires bank account for every citizen for transfer of money, however the Jan-dhan yojana is impactful in this regard but there is still 45% of population who don’t have their bank accounts. Secondly the implementation of¬† basic¬† income¬† scheme will replace the already existing public distribution system, because transfer is required in-kinds during crop failure, droughts, famines and other natural calamities the meagre cash transfer under this scheme won’t help the affected masses.

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The concept of UBI can’t be straight away denied but in context of India awareness among the masses and basic infrastructural development are required as it’s prerequisites.¬†

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Nikita Saxena
A wild flower.

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