PM Narendra Modi

The recently-concluded assembly elections have raised a serious question over the Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janta Party's chances of winning the general elections next year. One of the major reasons of its defeat is considered as the rural distress. To arrest the further sliding on this agricultural distress, the central government is likely to announce the Universal Basic Income in its last budget session.

News18 has reported that the BJP's election defeats in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh is likely to be included in while formulating the general budget which is scheduled to be presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley on February 1. Officials are of the opinion that a pro-poor budget can be expected as one of the officials said, "The government is seriously considering the announcement of the Universal Basic Income to help pull people out of poverty.''

In fact, in its manifesto in Rajasthan, the BJP had promised a universal basic income that will be introduced "after taking into consideration (the beneficiary's) income from various sources and the government benefits (she receives)".

labourers  in India
Labourers in IndiaWikimedia Commons

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a form of social security that guarantees a certain amount of money to every citizen within a given governed population, without having to pass a test or fulfil a work requirement. Every Universal Basic Income plan can be different in terms of amount or design.

The idea has been evolved in the western countries and is also under discussion in the West for a long time now. Some of the countries like Canada and Switzerland have even floated a pilot project to have a better understanding of the concept. In India, the idea was given by the former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian.

Speaking to News18, Subramanian had said that he had discussed the idea with the Jammu and Kashmir government where it was still at a very initial stage while Bihar CM Nitish Kumar was "very encouraging and excited about it".