Sikkim Says It’ll Be 1st State to Introduce Universal Basic Income

Sikkim plans to implement Universal Basic Income (UBI) by 2022.

2 min read
File Photo of Sikkim’s Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, whose party, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), aims to implement Universal Basic Income (UBI) in the state.

Sikkim plans to implement Universal Basic Income (UBI) by 2022. This scheme features in the manifesto of Sikkim’s ruling party, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), in the run up to the 2019 Assembly Election.

“It is an idea whose time has come,” declared Prem Das Rai – an MP with the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) – speaking to The Indian Express.

Given that Sikkim is a surplus power generating state, the SDF Government is confident about the scheme’s affordability, The Indian Express reported.

Prem Das Rai, in his interview to The Indian Express, added that the UBI scheme would “work well for the youngsters.” He said, “it would give freedom to choose their work, it will be more futuristic and it will serve as a future production tool.”

“Young people can look into the future without worrying too much about income.”
Prem Das Rai, an MP with the Sikkim Democratic Front, to The Indian Express.

Emphasising the freedom that the scheme provides, Rai said, “It’s, in a way, trusting your people to do the best in a responsible manner...This kind of measure could iron out some of the social evils we are seeing in our society today.”

Tabled in the Parliament in the 2016-17 financial year, the Economic Survey recommended universal basic income as a method of reducing the grip of poverty on the country, states a NewsX report. According to the Economic Survey, implementing UBI would only cost between four to five percent of India’s GDP.

The NewsX report also noted that the scheme has been successful in many Latin American countries, such as Mexico, Brazil etc.

Rai, too, cited previous successful tests of UBI scheme; he said to The Indian Express, “It has been tried in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and tribal belts with fairly large samples and it has shown it works. Basically, it’s an income given to families irrespective of what do they do. In Sikkim, it will be for everyone and every household.”

Rai was confident that other states will follow Sikkim’s example.

(With inputs from The Indian Express and NewsX.)

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