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India's universal income plan is not just a distant dream

Indian proposal would slice through red tape to alleviate poverty

| India
A child rag-picker in Mumbai, the most populous city in India (Photo by Yuji Kuronuma)

The idea of providing a guaranteed minimum basic income for all citizens goes back centuries, but it has always come up against the harsh reality that governments cannot collect enough revenue to fund such schemes. The Indian Finance Ministry has, however, devoted a whole chapter of its recent Economic Report to just such a proposal.

This might seem like unrealistic "pie in the sky" musing, especially as the cost would equal nearly half of India's meager budget. But the report makes a powerful case for a quasi-universal minimal basic income. It is, as the report notes: "An idea whose time has come, perhaps not for immediate implementation, but at least for serious public deliberation."

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