The Indian government is contemplating introducing a Universal Basic Income
“The most striking thing which we hadn’t actually anticipated is that the emancipatory effect was greater than the monetary effect. It enabled people to have a sense of control. They pooled some of the money to pay down their debts, they increased decisions on escaping from debt bondage. The women developed their own capacity to make their own decision about their own lives. The general tenor of all those communities has been remarkably positive,” he said.
“As a consequence of this, the Indian government is coming out with a big report in January. As you can imagine that makes me very excited. It will basically say this is the way forward.”
The Indian government is contemplating introducing a Universal Basic Income, according to one of the leading advocates of the scheme.
Advocates say it would provide a vital safety net for all citizens and remove inefficient benefit systems currently in place; critics say it would remove the incentive for citizens to work and prove to be wildly expensive.
It has, however, attracted a growing amount of attention across the world, in both rich and developing countries.
Standing, professor of development at the School for African and Oriental Studies, is considered one of the leading proponents of UBI. He has advised on numerous UBI pilot schemes, and recently returned from California, where he consulted on a $20 million trial set to launch in California this year.
He was closely involved with three major pilot schemes in India — two in Madhya Pradesh, and a smaller one in West Delhi.
The pilots in Madhya Pradesh launched in 2011, and provided every man, woman, and child across eight villages with a modest basic income for 18 months. Standing reports that welfare improved dramatically in the villages, “particularly in nutrition among the children, healthcare, sanitation, and school attendance and performance.”
He also says the scheme also turned out some unexpected results.