India's main opposition Congress Party leader, Rahul Gandhi, said on Monday, January 28th, that his party will provide the minimum income for the poor if Congress wins the upcoming general elections.
As reported by Reuters, Gandhi's campaign promise is a step towards a universal basic income that some economists have supported instead of subsidies for the poor.
Gandhi told a rally in the central state of Chhattisgarh "We have decided that every poor person in India would be guaranteed a minimum income after the Congress forms the government in 2019," adding that "No one will go hungry in India, no one will remain poor.”
According to the Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011, the estimated number of poor households in India was nearly 70 million out of total 240 million.
If every household receives 20,000 rupees ($280) a year, that would cost 1.4 trillion rupees ($19.69 billion), less than the total bill for food subsidies.
Congress officials said the proposal would help eliminate poverty and could be fulfilled with funds now spent on food subsidies and other programmes that often do not reach the poor.