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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

SHOBANA NELASCO: UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME FOR INDIA A MYTH

Posted by Shobana Nelasco On aprile - 7 - 2021

Foto: La prof.ssa Shobana Nelasco, la copertina del libro La nuova era Sociale di Rainero Schembri ed Enea Franza, Direttore del Dipartimento di Scienze politiche dell’Università Internazionale per la Pace con sede a Roma.

 

 

Riportiamo, nella sua versione originale in inglese, l’interessante saggio scritto dalla prof.ssa indiana Shobana Nelasco sulle difficoltà di introdurre in India un Reddito Universale. Si tratta di un’anticipazione del testo che verrà inserito (insieme ad altri lavori di altri autorevoli autori) nella nuova collana (incorso di allestimento) ‘Per un nuovo umanesimo’. Collana diretta dal prof. Enea Franza, Direttore del Dipartimento di Scienze politiche dell’Università Internazionale per la Pace con sede a Roma. Nella foto, insieme alla Nelasco e a Franza c’è la copertina del libro La Nuova Era Sociale del giornalista Rainero Schembri che tratta l’argomento dei diritti sociali sul piano globale. Schembri è anche coordinatore del Movimento Tutela Sociale, un Movimento d’opinione internazionale promosso dalla REA, Radiotelevisioni Europee Associate con la consulenza scientifica di Unipace.

 

The increasing dependent population and increasing fascistic administration has resulted in glaring inequalities and miseries of India. India was a beautiful country under the leadership of Chera, Chola and Pandya, where there was no scope for any poverty and inequality. All the foreign travellers have written about the beauty of this nation. Our kings had international transactions and international trade. They were masters in all 64 types of arts. No other local or foreign empire was able to overpower them. They ruled this nation for more than 10,000 years. Their army was super powerful with multiple gadgets and animals (horse, elephant, dogs etc. Their navy was super powerful and has five layers of protections. They were good in all martial arts, Silambattam, Kazhari, Verma etc. They equally empowered their public with all dances, songs, martial arts, cooking medicine, vastu shastra, yoga, astrology, astronomy and all types of skills. All our native people had trade with all nations mainly with Rome. Slowly many European and middle east migrants entered into this nation. Indian Kings were so generous and were hosting them with all welcoming gifts. But that became the root of their destruction.

 

The migrants who entered into this nation did not have the same energy levels of the natives, instead they were busy in creating Gods and were very good in exploiting and cheating these kings. They adopted divide and rule among natives and destroyed the whole beauty of this nation. Native India had the beauty of Kurinchi, Mullai, Maurutham, Neithal and Palai where different types of trades were taking place according to the type of land. Nobody was superior and nobody was inferior in this beautiful nation.

 

But the Brahmanical structure, who called themselves as Aryans(Indo Europeans as per Indian Census) called themselves as superior in varnashrama and made the natives as outcasts.They created human hierarchy like Brahmins(Priests), Shatriya(warriors), Vaishya(agriculturists), Sutra(sweepers and outcastes) etc These Aryans did not have knowledge of any business or trade. So they introduced Gods and made themselves as superior beings and as closer people to God. Through Manu Shastra they made women as inferior and workers as inferiors etc. The Kings innocently donated everything to the Aryans and slowly the kings were destroyed. Slowly India faced poverty and inequality.

 

Now it has become a great challenge for the natives to remove this poverty and inequality as the Aryans continue to be in Political and Bureaucratic positions. The Political leaders want to have the poor as poor for they consider them as vote banks. The agriculturalists fight in the capital for more than four months has no voice with the ministers of the Government of India.

 

Though the Britishers entry brought out some reforms, till date India could not see those ancient happy days. Laws on Anti Sati, Anti Dowry, Anti untouchability etc helped them to come out. But till date there is not much scope for poverty free nationIndia being the biggest democracy has the basic duty of satisfying the basic Necessities like food, education, health and shelter. But these basic necessities are compromised by the governments. Agriculture the core of any country is pushed aside. Farmers rights are in question. The taxpayers pay tax in expectation that the money will be spent for securing the welfare of the deserving. Every individual has the constitutional Rights on Life and Work. The Penal Code assures them the right to life. Article 21 declares that no citizen can be denied his life.

Challenges threatening India:

India is engulfed with very severe problems

India fails to plan its population and is going to supersede Chinese population and to become the top most populous country by 2025,

India tops the list of global poor. India has the largest share of global poor. In addition the inequality level is excessively high.

India also has maximum unemployed and unemployable youth in the world.

India has maximum illiterates in the world

Crimes against women- Rapes, Gang-rapes of girls etc are very high

India has a severe problem of corruption.

We predict heavy food production shortage due to drought and water shortage. In addition India has water problems.

The Government of India estimates that about 2.40 million Indians are living with HIV India ranks third in the world with people living with HIV/AIDS(2,100,00)

India is ranked 7thin Global Terrorism index.

In addition India has excessive budgetary allotment for defense

India has excessive external Borrowing and Interest Payment. 20 percent of teh total budget is spent on interest payment.

 

Proposals on Universal Basic Income:

Many come out with multiple proposals for India. But none of the proposals have the quality or any feature of Universal Basic Income. Also Indian Politicians generally have attractions towards American or European Educated Brahmins. The Politician’s import abroad professors thinking that they are great scholars. But they do not know that the person who abandoned his nation cannot make his nation the best. Since they consider India as an useless country, they leave and wait for citizenship in America or in Europe. So such proposals made in America are suitable for America and not for India. The economic education attained in developed countries has proved as a misfit into Indian Policy Framing. As Gandhiji says western education will not suit Indian Policy framing.

 

Suresh Tendulkar Committee (2005)[1]Suresh Tendulkar suggested a minimum of Rs. 7,620 per person/year to the poor people of the country as a minimum level of income needed to sustain life so as to avail the nutritional food or come out of the poverty line based on his poverty line formula. The survey had estimated that such a model of UBI will cost 4.9 per cent of India’s GDP in comparison to 5.2 per cent of GDP spent on all 950 central sector schemes. As per the Union Budget 2016-17, even after the creation of 28 umbrella programs, there were 950 Central Sector and CSS sub-schemes accounting for about 5 percent of the GDP and 9 percent of the total central expenditure. While examining this proposal, more concept clarity is needed to explain the poor. Tendulkar says Rs 7620 for a poor person. In India we do not have any solid definition for the poor. The person who is defined as a poor is an owner of acres of land. A person who is not poor has anything to eat.

Quasi Universal Basic Income [2](QUBRI) :

This model was suggested by Josh Felman, Boban Paul, M.R. Sharan and Arvind Subramanian. Rs 18,000 per year(1500PM) was suggested to each rural household, except for those which are “demonstrably well-off”, at an estimated cost of Rs. 2.64 lakh crore so as to tackle agrarian distress. There are crorepatis living in Rural India. How can we call all rural people an eligible person for basic Income?

A Minimum income guarantee (MIG) scheme‘NYAY’ (Nyuntam Aay Yojana)

Congress Manifesto of 2019 assured 72,000 per year for 20 percent of families in the poorest of the poor category each annually as a minimum income. They aimed at five crore families and 25 crore people.  Under what criteria Congress government siu going to choose these people is a great question

PM-Kisan scheme:

The BJP government introduced this scheme and it has been operational since 1-12-2018 with an annual support of 6000 given in three instalments. Approximately 8 million to ten million farmers are benefited by this scheme. The Tamil Nadu government has uncovered a scam amounting to over ₹110 crore in the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme.

It was found that several north Indian migrant workers(who do not own any land) were included as beneficiaries in districts like Salem and Dharmapuri. Though their accounts have been frozen, recovery of money from them has not happened since they have left for their hometowns due to lockdowns[3]

It has been a practice if congress government distributes money, it gives to its party men, If BJP gives income, it gives to its partymen. This has been the regular practice. Most of the money distributions are considered as election gifts for voting and hence Basic Income distribution is simply becoming another concept of bribe payment for voting.

Experiment of a UNICEFFunded Project by Sarath Davla, Guy Standing and SEWA at MadhyaPradesh: 

This project was implemented in Madhya Pradesh from June 2011 to November 2011.Every adult man and woman in the treatment villages received a 200 Rupees (about US$ 3) per month and every child received 100 Rupees per month. After one year, the amounts were increased to 300 Rupees and 150 Rupees respectively. A total of 6,000 individuals in the 8 vilålages received the grants for 12 to 17 months. This experiment has no validity as 2 dollar or 3 dollar per month will not be enough for any beggar on the road to survive. With this 2 or 3 dollar, a person can buy just two kg of rice or two kag of vegetables. Considering that as an experiment looks totally irrelevant.

The Economic survey 2016-17: The Economic survey 2016-17 proposed the word Universal Basic Income. Then it says that strict universality is not possible. And it proposes some alternatives. First, the survey targets the bottom 75 percent of the population and this is termed as ‘quasi-universality’’. The cost for this quasi-universality is estimated to be around 4.9 percent of GDP.  Second alternative targets women, who generally face worse prospects in employment opportunities, education, health or financial inclusion. A UBI for women can reduce the fiscal cost of providing a UBI to about half. The great fun of this proposal is that it calls itself as an Universal Basic Income. But speaks about a partial society.

Universal Basic Income Assurancefor Sikkim:On January 10, 2019, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), the present Ruling Party announced in the national media that they would be implementing Universal Basic Income (UBI) in Sikkim by 2021 and they included that in their election manifesto. P.D Ray became popular using this. This attracted the attention of all media, especially international media, including The Washington Post and The Strait Times. Tseten Lepcha, working president of the Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) also supported UBI. So Bhaichung Bhutia also announced on March 26 that the opposition Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) would also implement Universal Basic Income in Sikkim, calling it ‘Sikkim Samman Yojana’. To win elections, they use magical words. But once they come to power, they make it a pure election galatta. They refused to implement any of their promises. When P.D Rai(Prem Das Rai), Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF)  was interviewed, he said it will not be possible as it costs monetary burden. When you cannot implement, why do you assure the people as an election manifesto? Political leaders continue to be political leaders with their election manifesto that they are confident of not implementing.

In India Universal Basic Income is continuing to be an attractive magical light that is used by the political leaders for their personal gains of Political Power and it has nothing to do with implementation. NGOs try to get some or other form of funding, so as to gain some importance for themselves. NRIs try to gain popularity by giving some irrelevant Proposals, which will not be implemented. Every election in India has assurance of Income distribution, which can never be called as Universal Basic Income. The current election (April 2021) manifesto of DMK assured Rs 1000 for every poor woman family head and immediately AIADMK assured Rs 1500 for every poor woman family head. These sorts of election manifestos are just election gifts and have nothing to do with Universal Basic Income.

India will have a bright future only when all borrowings are stopped and only when all defence expenditures are stopped. There is scope for India only when Indian Policies are officially converted as Universal Basic Income to be distributed for each and every individual citizen of this country.

[1]http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/genrep/rep_pov.pdf

[2]https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/quasi-universal-basic-rural-income-the-way-forward-119012700713_1.html 27-1-2019

[3]https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/how-pm-kisan-scheme-became-a-scam-here/articleshow/78998454.cms

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Shobana Nelasco is a Development Economist, teaching to Graduate and Master students for 31 years, including Research students and is performing social activities through multiple organisations. She has specialised in Development Economics, Basic Income, Gender Justice, South Asian Studies, Ancient Medieval history of Tamilagam(Dravidian History), Saiva Sidantham, Arts and Culture of Tamilagam, External Borrowing, Environment Protection, Gandhian Economics, Christian Studies etc. and also works for Peace, Environment Protection, women Empowerment and Eradication of Poverty and Social Evils and to bring a sustainable and Wellbeing Economy. Dr. Nelasco has published 11 books and 102 papers in various journals that reaches the intended society. She is a doctoral research guide in Madurai Kamaraj University, University of Technology, Mauritius and Sainath University, Ranchi for Economics and Management.

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