MyNation Exclusive: Modi govt readies bumper gift for below poverty line Indians after quota for poor

By Siddhartha RaiFirst Published 8, Jan 2019, 6:21 PM IST
Highlights

After reservation for upper caste poor across all religions, the Modi government is planning to introduce universal basic income of Rs 2,000-2,500 per month to every BPL household as part of its welfare push

New Delhi: After bewildering the Opposition by introducing 10% quota for the general category across all religions, the Narendra Modi government is ready to drop a bigger bomb in the run up to the 2019 general election. The government is all set to roll out a direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for the below poverty line (BPL) population of the country.

Highly-placed sources in the Modi government have told MyNation that a plan has been chalked out to transfer Rs 2,000-2,500 per month to every BPL household as part of a welfare push through DBT.  

Top government sources also told MyNation that the government would incur an expenditure of somewhere between Rs 30,000-40,000 crore a year to run the scheme.

According to sources, the Modi government has for long been negotiating with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to arrange money for launching the scheme. While the proposal had led to some friction between the government and the apex bank of the country, the former has finally succeeded in pulling out all the stops in the way of rolling out the DBT scheme.

The scheme will benefit the nation's BPL households, whose number has been put at around 270 million by Census 2011.

Meanwhile, the government tabled the quota bill or the Constitution (124th) Amendment Bill in Parliament on Tuesday.

MyNation was the first to report on September 12 last year that Modi government’s quota move for upper caste poor was in the pipeline.

Global experiments with Universal Basic Income

This scheme could well be considered akin to universal basic income schemes that are being experimented across several countries in the West as well as Africa, such as Netherlands, Kenya, Canada, and the United States. Apologists of this line of economic thought argue it to be a way of solving one of the biggest problems of the century — unemployment caused by increasing automation.

Experts globally have argued that it is effective in handling the poverty trap as there is no inbuilt financial disincentive to getting a job. The income keeps coming even of one has a better paying job. It also offers financial security for people with variable incomes.

The idea has been there for a long time Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are among the supporters. They argue that it could provide flexibility for workers who run the risk of losing their jobs to automation.

Philosopher Thomas Paine had proposed money to be paid to all, irrespective of whether they were rich or poor, in his book ‘Agrarian Justice’ in 1797. In 1967, Martin Luther King Junior had proposed a ‘guaranteed income’ to combat poverty.

Milton Friedman, who strongly advocated free-market economy, also advocated for a negative income tax.

Last Updated 9, Jan 2019, 5:38 PM IST