UTBT Session 24 on March 14th 2019

Hello Everyone!

The 24th session of Policy Discussion Under The Banyan Tree shall take place this Thursday, March 14th 2019 at 4.30pm, under the Banyan Tree at the Gokhale Institute Of Politics and Economics. The topic for discussion of this session is  “Will Universal Basic Income work for India“?

Theme 1: Are the current policies of securing people’s lives adequate enough? 

Will their replacement with UBI have a higher cost? The work culture of a country has taken a toll on the income needs of people. Will a UBI be able to incorporate these into the system? Will free income be a perfect solution to no income?

Theme 2: Existing international experiences

How has UBI panned out in countries like Finland and Canada?  Was it a solution to growing automation in their economies? What have its repercussions been for unemployment, taxation and fiscal debt?

Theme 3: India’s model and proposed methodology

Economic survey proposed universal basic income and CEA Arvind Subramanian called it ending poverty with stroke of a pen. Proposed UBI of around ₹7600 per will hit the treasury and infra bottlenecks makes it difficult to implement. Pilots in Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim were carried out but no national framework is proposed yet.

How should be the model framed, what should be the final figure, how to implement it, what happens to subsidies then?

Theme 4: A feasible execution

The most popular version of universal basic income is one where every single citizen of a country gets a guaranteed monthly income. In India, the concept seems more like a minimum guarantee. This is at the discretion of the government of the day. It can be equal, more or less than the poverty line expenditure.

What will the amount of money be fixed at? By fixing it too low, the purpose would be defeated but by placing it too high, it removes the incentive to earn. Also the question arises of how much the economy can afford.

For a fruitful and engaging discussion, it would be appreciated if you could read up on the aforementioned topics. Some useful links have been added below for reference. Original ideas and opinions will be appreciated. What will be even more appreciated is that everyone perceives and analyse the topic as students of economics and society and put forward opinions impartially. Making incendiary or emotive comments during the discussion to make a point shall not be encouraged.

Links:

https://basicincome.org/basic-income/

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/28/universal-basic-income-why-some-countries-are-seriously-considering-handing-out-free-money.html

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/2/13/18220838/universal-basic-income-ubi-nber-study

https://thewire.in/economy/universal-basic-income-alone-cant-bring-equitability

https://www.livemint.com/Politics/l40F9KWaIychh1ViPtDRFM/Universal-Basic-Income-vs-Farm-Loan-Waivers-in-India.html

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