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Two Indian states may give everyone universal basic income within two years, says India's chief economic adviser

Arvind Subramanian raises idea of paying a stipend to every adult and child 

Tuesday 30 January 2018 12:10 GMT
India is a rising economy but a substantial proportion of the population remains in poverty
India is a rising economy but a substantial proportion of the population remains in poverty (Getty)

India could trial a universal basic income in one or two states within the next two years, the country’s chief economic adviser has suggested.

Arvind Subramanian raised the idea of paying a small sum to every adult and child, regardless of their wealth, in India's Economic Survey 2016-17, an annual document released by the ministry of finance.

It would guarantee that all citizens would have enough to cover their basic needs. Proponents argue it would also be easier to administer than the current anti-poverty schemes, which critics say are plagued with corruption.

“I can bet ... within the next two years, at least one or two states will implement UBI,” Mr Subramanian said, according to The Times of India.

Critics of universal basic income have argued that the free money would be spent on things like alcohol or gambling.

However, a village in Kenya has proved this is not the case. During a 12-year basic income experiment in which residents of a small rural village received $22 (£16) a month, the majority of participants used the money for important necessities.

In the UK, nearly half of Britons would support giving all citizens a cash allowance, according to a survey by Ipsos-Mori.

Once considered to be a policy belonging firmly to the radical left, polling carried out on behalf of the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath found that 49 per cent of 18 to 75-year-olds supported the introduction of a universal basic income.

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