Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu on Wednesday said citizens living below the poverty line would soon have access to a Universal Basic Income, which would prevent wastage of funds through a range of schemes. The proposal’s future, the minister said, depends on procedural clearances. He made the announcement while presenting the state’s Rs 80,000-crore budget for 2017-2018.
The Universal Basic Income programme involves the setting up of a social security fund to provide the “Universal Basic Income” to citizens in the below-the-poverty-line category via a direct beneficiary transfer system, The Greater Kashmir reported.
There is a possibility that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will also announce a similar programme in the Union Budget on February 1, Mint reported.
Jawaharlal Nehru University professor, Himanshu, told Mint that the state government’s proposal was more of a “targeted cash transfer instead of the Universal Basic Income”. “Universal Basic Income is an European concept and promises a minimum income guarantee to everybody over and above the social sector benefits. If governments cuts down existing subsidies on health, education, its cost will significantly go up, making it unaffordable for all,” he said.
Drabu said construction workers in the state would have access to a social security system that would link their bank account numbers with the Jammu and Kashmir Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board. Workers in the state are eligible to receive a cash credit facility of up to Rs 10,000 in a year via micro-credit ATM cards as well as life, health and accident insurances, Drabu said.
Considering the unrest in the region, this year’s state budget has provisions to insure assets of public importance including government buildings, historically important artifacts and small- and medium-scale enterprises, The Economic Times reported. The state has been marred with protests, violence and curfews since the death of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani on July 8.