A Case for Universal Basic Income in India
Shrikrishna Upadhyaya & Sukriti*
Volume 11 Issue 2 (2018)
Universal Basic Income (‘UBI’) is a regular cash payment made to all individuals by the State without any means or work testing. It has historically been debated upon and more than a few justifications for UBI have been made. UBI has entered policy debate in India ever since UBI was proposed by the Economic Survey 2016-17 as a social welfare scheme suitable for India. In this paper, a normative justification for UBI is sought to be arrived at. A right to basic income, by promoting ‘real freedom’ of individuals is said to be a part of the conception of substantive dignity of all individuals. It is important for the actualisation of other rights and freedoms of an individual. Associated benefits of UBI include realizing the right to adequate standard of living, respecting autonomy rights of individuals and as a policy intervention in combating poverty and inequality. The lessons from UBI experiments conducted in different places also sufficiently highlight the advantages of UBI. The challenges in implementing UBI in India are discussed in the course of this paper alongside a critical analysis of a model that seeks to overcome these challenges.