Budget 2019 is likely to offer support the poorest of the poor by launching the Universal Basic Income scheme (UBI). This is Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s last interim budget before the general election.
In the Economic Survey 2016-17, the Centre had clearly revealed a proposed income support for the bottom 75 percent. The government is already offering food subsidy of around Rs 1, 70,000 crore and an additional support worth Rs 55,000 crore via Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MNREGA).
Going by the existing support, the launch of Universal Basic Income scheme is likely to put an additional load of Rs 6,540 crore-Rs 7,620 crore on the Centre.
In 2011-12, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had already rolled out Universal Basic Income scheme across villages in Madhya Pradesh.
The pre-budget Economic Survey of 2016-17 suggests that UBI distributed directly into bank accounts will be easier to administer, will help in checking the menace of leakage and prove to be a more effective anti-poverty intervention.