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Prof. Guy Standing, economist at the School Of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, interviewed by Sayantan Bera (

on evidence from India and elsewhere. But how can a country like India, with its stretched finances, fund a basic income scheme that may cost over 5% of the GDP? By replacing a slew of regressive subsidies on food and fertilizers, Standing says, in a recent interview to Mint. Edited excerpts: * Why do you advocate a basic income? The idea of basic income is that every individual would receive a regular cash payment, monthly or weekly, and it

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Resources for Welfare Expenditure -Prabhat Patnaik

l such responsibility, once it has handed over a certain amount of money, an amount moreover which is not truly indexed to prices and whose transfer is usually accompanied by a withdrawal of existing subsidies and welfare expenditures. Besides, even conceptually cash transfers amount to a largesse given by the State, while what should be insisted upon is the right of every citizen to a minimum standard of material life which the State has a duty to pr

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No shortcuts to income guarantee -Harsh Mander

-The Indian Express Rahul Gandhi’s proposed scheme will do more harm than good if it comes at the cost of existing subsidies for the poor. Congress president Rahul Gandhi signaled the earnestness of his party’s resolve to end poverty and hunger by announcing an untried policy instrument — a Minimum Income Guarantee for the poor. “Millions of our brothers and sisters” could not be allowed to “suffer the scou

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Policy bias against rainfed agriculture -Priscilla Jebaraj

f procurement in the same period.” It’s not just the quantum, but also the nature of investment that needs to change, he added. Flagship government schemes, such as seed and fertiliser subsidies and soil health cards, are designed for irrigated areas and simply extended to rainfed farmers without taking their needs into consideration, said Dr. Das. Please click here to read more.

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The pitfalls of a cash income support scheme -Prabhat Patnaik

adopting measures for building up a Welfare state. But what, it may be asked, is wrong with cash support? At any set of ‘effective prices’ (including all kinds of open and hidden price subsidies), a cash income corresponds to a certain real income. A universal basic real income therefore can be guaranteed through ensuring adequate cash incomes through the provision of cash support. Why then cavil at cash support? There are, first of

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The PM-KISAN challenge -Aparna Roy

ciple, without adequate focus on proper strategy and implementation, it is unlikely to make any meaningful impact. Inadequate financial support The merit of cash transfers over loan waivers and subsidies lies in their potential greater efficiency in enabling poor households to directly purchase the required goods and services as well as enhance their market choices. Therefore, the impact of a welfare measure such as PM-KISAN can only be realised

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No budget for farmers -Ashok Gulati

5.5 per cent. Even if one thinks that roughly one-fifth of India needs income support — say Rs 5,000 per month — the bill will amount to about Rs 3.5 lakh crore. It is doable if the food subsidies and MGNREGA are drastically pruned and targeted to this bottom 20 per cent of population. Food subsidies and MGNREGA are costing the government more than 2.2 lakh crore, and a sizeable part of this is

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Why Universal Basic Income is Fraught With Serious Problems -Prabhat Patnaik

a basic income for all. While even this may at first sight appear a welcome move, it is fraught with serious problems. The first question to ask is whether this scheme would be in addition to the subsidies and the welfare schemes already in existence, or whether it would replace such existing welfare expenditures. Again, most suggestions in this regard visualise a replacement, implicitly if not explicitly, of existing schemes, in which case wha

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Prof. Abhijit Sen, a former member of the erstwhile Planning Commission, interviewed by Asit Ranjan Mishra (

o. You have done nothing of that sort. The neo-classical guys, be it Pranab Bardhan or Ashok Gulati, who are batting for UBI, would say that income transfers will be the first step to cutting back on subsidies, so that we get a better and more efficient system. But subsidies are not going. You are simply adding more money. Rs.75,000 crore is not peanuts. Suppose you even cut back fertilizer More »

Govt should launch basic income scheme: Arvind Subramanian

rming it as the Quasi-universal basic rural income (QUBRI) scheme, he said it should not be funded out of the reserves of Reserve Bank of India but through replacement of existing farm and fertilizer subsidies. Illustratively, an annual transfer of about Rs 18,000 or Rs 1,500 per month per household would cover 75 per cent of the rural population at a total fiscal cost of about 1.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product or Rs 2.64 lakh crore in 2019-20

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