Building the case for Universal Basic Income- A basic human right?

Chanda Shashikant
Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, India

Volume II – Issue I, 2020

As India’s interest in using cash to alleviate poverty has grown, the concept of a universal basic income (UBI) has garnered renewed attention in advanced economies elsewhere in the world”. India has long relied on economic growth policies, supply side policies like subsidies and welfare schemes like pensions and transfer payments in order to address and alleviate hunger and poverty. As Nehru had said, “it is generally recognized now, even by our critics in India or abroad, that we plan well and we lay down the most excellent of principles. The difficulty comes in implementation”, universal basic income is one such scheme that has always been debated and deliberated upon but has also been considered ridden with overwhelming obstacles and impractical methods of implementation. Creating a right to basic income has potential in not only alleviating existing issues that plague the underprivileged and downtrodden sections of Indian society but also in securing a higher standard of living for India’s enormous middle class. Additionally, introducing and enacting a UBI scheme can do more than pay lip service to values enshrined in the Indian Constitution that are reiterated time and again by the judicial wing by undertaking judicial activism. In a country like India, where individuals place value on land and gold, those deprived of the same find it harder to elevate themselves in society and achieve their esteem needs. UBI, as a universal equalizer of sorts to level the playing field and mould society so as to foster economic growth and development in line with social justice has been discussed in this paper.


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