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India: Government announces major move in the direction of basic income guarantee


India’s ruling coalition government suddenly and unexpectedly announce a major move in the direction of a basic income guarantee by replacing many transfer and expanding them into a cash transfer program. The government will begin phasing-in the program on January 1, 2013. Details are sketchy at this point. According the New York Times, “The plan is to replace existing pensions, scholarships and subsidies on household items by directly disbursing cash to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts. It could apply to 720 million people.”
 A group of private NGOs has been conducting a pilot project on basic income in India for over a year. It is unknown the extent to which this project influenced the government’s decision. But, according to Guy Standing, one of the principle researchers on the project, members of their team have been requested for television interviews and newspaper articles are pouring out about the new decision.


For more on the issue see:Bal, Hartosh Singh, “Will Vote for Rupees,” The New York Times, December 7, 2012