Feb 3, 2017

India considers a minimum income for all

Tsering Topgyal / AP

India's chief economics adviser, Arvind Subramanian, is floating the idea of a Universal Basic Income, which would cost roughly 5% of India's GDP, paying out $113 to every citizen on biometric ID cards called Aadhaar. Such a scheme would require vast changes to Indian welfare programs, and consume roughly half the government's budget.

Don't get too worked up just yet: India won't be rolling out a UBI any time soon. As the Economist notes, Subramanian concedes that a UBI is "a powerful idea whose time even if not ripe for implementation is ripe for serious discussion."

Why this matters: There is a small but growing number of US economists, mainly liberals, who think some version of this might one day be needed here because so many jobs will be displaced by automation.

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