An income for everyone

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Universal Basic Income scheme is ripe for a nationwide debate.


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An income for everyone


Times (post demonetization) are difficult for the Indian welfare state. The govt. is seriously considering a Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme for the really needy. There are three issues of the scheme worth discussing : (1) Does it provide specific benefits as a poverty alleviation tool?, (2) What delivery system would the govt. adopt for its transfer? and (3) Will some existing welfare schemes be discontinued? 

Several studies conducted in this respect indicate that cash transfers do not shift peoples’ spending habits from nutritious foods. Even a small basic income has a positive impact on nutrition, health, indebtedness and investment. The question is how the govt. will distribute the basic income grants and verify delivery through Indian banks’ poor banking and digital payment networks? Unique Aadhar number linkage is still facing problems. There are also difficulties in implementing the scheme, as studies show that there are variations in people preferring in-kind transfers over cash transfers and vice versa. The policy makers will also have to consider the administrative machinery required for its proper implementation and beneficiary identification. Do we have that as of now? The Economic Survey should be taken as an opportunity to generate a debate on UBI implementation and plugging the delivery gaps.

सभी के लिये आय


विमुद्रीकरण के पश्चात भारतीय कल्याणकारी राज्य के लिए समय काफी कठिन है। सरकार एक सार्वभौमिक मूलभूत आय (यूबीआई) पर गंभीरता से विचार कर रही है। इस योजना के तीन प्रमुख मुद्दे है : (1) क्या यह गरीबी उन्मूलन उपाय के रूप में विशिष्ट लाभ प्रदान करती है?, (2) इसके हस्तांतरण के लिए सरकार कौन सी वितरण व्यवस्था लागू करेगी?, और (3) क्या कुछ विद्यमान योजनाएं समाप्त की जाएंगी?

इस संदर्भ में किये गए विभिन्न अध्ययन दर्शाते हैं कि नकद हस्तांतरण के कारण लोगों का व्यय पौष्टिक आहार से अन्यत्र परिवर्तित नहीं होता है। यहाँ तक कि अत्यंत अल्प मात्रा में प्रदान की गई मूलभूत आय का भी पोषण, स्वास्थ्य, ऋणग्रस्तता, और निवेश पर सकारात्मक प्रभाव होता है। यहाँ प्रश्न केवल यह है कि सरकार भारतीय बैंकों के कमजोर बैंकिंग और डिजिटल भुगतान संजाल के माध्यम से मूलभूत आय अनुदानों का वितरण किस प्रकार कर पाएगी? विशिष्ट आधार क्रमांक संयोजन में अभी भी अनेक समस्याएँ हैं। इस योजना के क्रियान्वयन में अन्य समस्याएँ भी हैं, जैसा कि अध्ययन दर्शाते हैं कि नकद भुगतान की तुलना में वस्तु रूप में भुगतान को अधिक पसंद करने वाले लोगों और वस्तु भुगतान की तुलना में नकद भुगतान को अधिक पसंद करने वाले लोगों की संख्याओं में काफी भिन्नता है। साथ ही योजना के क्रियान्वयन और लाभार्थी पहचान के लिए आवश्यक प्रशासनिक तंत्र की पर्याप्त उपलब्धता के बारे में भी नीति निर्माताओं को विचार करना होगा। क्या वर्तमान में हमारे पास यह व्यवस्था उपलब्ध है? आगामी आर्थिक सर्वेक्षण का सार्वभौमिक मूलभूत आय के क्रियान्वयन और वितरण में आने वाली बाधाओं को दूर करने के लिए बहस शुरू करने के अवसर के रूप में लिया जाना चाहिए ।

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Bodhi Saar: An income for everyone
An income for everyone
Universal Basic Income scheme is ripe for a nationwide debate.
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