Gangtok, Jan 10
Sikkim is all set to become the first state in the entire country to introduce the Universal Basic Income (UBI).
The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party has already decided to introduce the unconditional cash transfer scheme in its manifesto ahead of the ensuing Assembly election in 2019.
The SDF aims to implement the scheme by 2022.
SDF MP in the Lok Sabha, said that the SDF and Chief Minister is committed to bringing UBI in the State.
He also said that UBI is a much debated topic among the economists and has been tested in developing countries including India.
Rai added that UBI has been tried in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and tribal belts with fairly large samples and it has shown it works.
He said that UBI is basically an income given to families irrespective of what they do.
He added that the idea is to subsume other subsidies and allowances in order to provide a particular amount every month to people.
He said that it will particularly work for the youths as they can pursue a career of their choice without worrying too much about income.
He added that it will provide an opportunity to people to do their best without any worries and will also help in removal of some social evils.
Due to the successful implementation of hydropower projects in Sikkim, Rai said that the profit being generated from it should be utilized for the people as SDF thinks it as ‘people’s money’.
He said that UBI will be provided to each and every household in Sikkim once it is implemented.
Admitting that there could be some ‘misusing’ Rai said studies in many countries and in India have proved that it will work. He said the State has improved drastically and its development indicators and the State Government wanted to share the prosperity with its citizens.
Rai said that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken about UBI and is hopeful that other states will also follow Sikkim’s footsteps in implementation of the scheme.
The State will also restructure some social schemes and the ‘skewed’ tax structure to find more resources.