Universal Basic Income(UBI)is one of the most discussed and controversial topic among economists and political analyst across the globe in recent times.The idea behind UBI is to eradicate poverty by paying a minimum amount of income to unemployed people without taking work in return.Many experts believes it to be game-changer while many rejects it as an utopian notion with an irrational approach.Recently, Elon Musk predicted that UBI is inevitable and governments across the globe will be forced to implement it due to advancement in Artificial Intelligence(AI) and automation in manufacturing industries. According to him there would be lesser and lesser jobs where robots won’t replace humans due to their capacity and cost effectiveness.
UBI AND INDIA
Some pilot projects were conducted in rural areas in the state of Madhya Pradesh few years back.Surprisingly, the results were positive as UBI led to no increased spending on alcohol or other “temptation goods”- a common argument against the policy. Short-term UBI was associated with many positive effects such as better nutrition,decrease in health problems, higher rates of school attendance, lower debt and greater job opportunities,especially for women according to the research. However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely stated that UBI is not feasible in the country due to what he termed as “political limitations”.
UBI before 2019?
According to political experts Modi government can implement UBI before 2019 in order to win 2019 General elections.Economists believes that it can be a reality only if it is replaced with subsidies and is targeted for population belonging to poor class.Though implementing it won’t be an easy task because opposition parties will try everything to derail any progress regarding UBI as it can hurt them politically. Many countries like Sweden and Finland are experimenting on UBI on a smaller scale.Currently UBI seems to be an utopian idea but as we move towards automation and technological advancement UBI seems to be inevitable.Good or bad UBI is the future.