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Universal Basic income (Relevant for GS Prelims and Mains Paper II, III)

The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) has been gaining ground globally.  While Switzerland held a referendum on it last year (it was voted down), Finland introduced it earlier this month. Media reports suggest that the government of India’s flagship Economic Survey this year is likely to endorse the UBI, setting the stage for its introduction.

What is need for unconditional basic income ( UBI)?
UBI is being discussed as a solution to two problems:
1.    Unemployment due to automation.
2.    Extreme poverty in some regions.

What would UBI involve? 
UBI is about giving cash under one umbrella, what is already being given (in-kind and cash benefits) via different channels.
Its objective remains the same: to eliminate the public distribution system (PDS) and with it, the food, fuel, and fertiliser subsidies. 



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