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India mulls universal basic income in the war on poverty

Asia's third-largest economy studies simple but radical alternative to subsidies

India is studying the concept of universal basic income to eradicate poverty. (Photo by Kiran Sharma)

NEW DELHI -- With nearly 300 million people in a population of 1.3 billion continuing to live in extreme poverty, India is considering giving a small fixed income to its citizens each month in lieu of the current plethora of subsidies and social welfare schemes.

A finance ministry annual survey released ahead of the annual budget last week featured a chapter on universal basic income (UBI), a concept "whose time has come perhaps not for immediate implementation but at least for serious public deliberation."

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