Chanakya IAS Academy Blog


What is a Universal Basic Income? Do you think India should adopt a Universal Basic income? What are the challenges India would face to adopt a Universal Basic Income?

A Universal Basic Income is a minimum level of income guaranteed by the government of any country to its citizens. It is a financial support given by the government to its people so that they do not have to struggle for the basic needs of life like food, shelter, etc. Over the years, there has been a sharp increase in inequality as well as joblessness in the country. It is estimated that the present figures of unemployment will grow with time if sufficient jobs are not created. And the gap between the rich and the poor is also rising day by day.

In such a scenario, the concept of a Universal Basic Income for the poor people of the country might benefit the country. Ensuring them a basic level of income for their basic minimal needs is the duty of the government. But the process is not an easy one for a country like India which has a vast population.

The main challenge before the government would be to distinguish the poor from the non poor. There has not yet been any clear methodology for finding out the actual poor citizens of the country. And even if there is a demarcation, often the schemes or benefits do not reach them.

Presently, the focus of the pro poor schemes is mainly on subsidies. A huge part of the budget is dedicated towards subsidies. Therefore, eliminating subsidies or some part of it would be difficult for the government as a Universal Basic Income can only be implemented on phasing out at least some part of the subsidies.

There are other challenges as well, like the problem with allocation of budget for this scheme. Whether it is feasible to support such a large population with monetary assistance per month or not is the main concern. If the above mentioned challenges are tackled, this scheme would benefit in the long run in reducing poverty and inequality to a large extent.

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