What is Guaranteed Minimum Income? History of Guaranteed Minimum Income (Download PDF)


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Nationwide minimum income for the poor has been a populist gambit to woo voters similar to a promise for farm loan waiver. It has been tried by various government. Like MGNREGA committed right to work, like RTI committed right to information, like Food Security Bill guarantees the right to food, the Congress government is going to guarantee a minimum income to every poor Indian citizen

Image of History of Guaranteed Minimum Income

Image of History of Guaranteed Minimum Income

Image of History of Guaranteed Minimum Income

What is Guaranteed Minimum Income?

  • Guaranteed minimum income (GMI), also called minimum income, is a system of social welfare provision that guarantees that all citizens or families have an income sufficient to live on, provided they meet certain conditions.

  • Eligibility is typically determined by citizenship, a means test, and either availability for the labour market or a willingness to perform community services.

  • The primary goal of a guaranteed minimum income is to reduce poverty.

  • If citizenship is the only requirement, the system turns into a universal basic income

Elements of Guaranteed Minimum Income

A system of guaranteed minimum income can consist of several elements, most notably:

  • a calculation of the social minimum, usually below the minimum wage

  • a social safety net, to help citizens or families without sufficient financial means survive at the social minimum.

  • a transfer or, in some cases, a loan, and generally conditional to availability for work, performance of community services, some kind of social contract, or commitment to a reintegration trajectory

  • child support by the state

  • student loan and grants

  • state pension for the elderly

  • disability pension for the persons with disability

History of Basic Income in India?

  • Basic income in India refers to the debate and practical experiments with universal basic income (UBI) in India. This idea of UBI as a way to alleviate poverty dates back to the 18thcentury from which it gained momentum due to the increasing risks of social exclusion, economic downturns, and growing inequality.

  • On January 31,2017, the Economic Survey of India included a 40-page chapter on UBI that outlined the 3 components of the proposed program: 1) universality, 2) unconditionally, 3) agency.

  • The UBI proposal in India is framed with the intent of providing every citizen “a basic income to cover their needs, ” which is encompassed by the “universality” component. “Unconditionally” points to the accessibility of all to the basic income, without any means tests.

  • The third component, “agency, ” refers to the lens through which the Indian government views the poor.

  • According to the Survey, by treating the poor as agents rather than subjects, UBI “liberates citizens from paternalistic and clientelistic relationships with the state. “

- Published/Last Modified on: April 18, 2019

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