Sikkim plans to roll out Universal Basic Income scheme as first state in country
Gangtok, Jan 10: The hilly state of Sikkim is set to become the first in the country to roll out a Universal Basic Income (UBI) and has already started the process of introducing unconditional direct cash transfer scheme. The state's ruling party - Sikkim Democratic Front - which is in power continuously since 1994, has decided to include the UBI in its manifesto ahead of the Assembly election which will be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha election and execute it by 2022.
Sikkim is ruled by the country's longest-serving chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, who bettered the record of Jyoti Basu, the late chief minister of neighbouring West Bengal, last year.
The 2017 Economic Survey had identified the UBI scheme as a "conceptually appealing idea" and a possible alternative to social welfare programmes aimed at reducing poverty. Prem Das Rai, an MP of the SDF, which is a part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance or NEDA, said both the party and the CM are committed to implement the UBI and the same will done within three years after the party wins yet another mandate in the state in the Assembly polls.
"UBI is a scheme that a number of economists have talked about and it works well in developing countries. It has been tested even in India, debated within the Finance Ministry as early as 2017," The Indian Express quoted him as saying.