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Would it be possible to provide people with a basic income as a right? The idea has a long history. This book draws on two pilot schemes conducted in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, in which thousands of men, women and children were provided with an unconditional monthly cash payment.
In a context in which the Indian government at national and state levels spends a vast amount on subsidies and selective schemes that are chronically expensive, inefficient, inequitable and subject to extensive corruption, there is scope for switching at least some of the spending to a modest basic income. This book explores what would be likely to happen if this were done.
The book draws on a series of evaluation surveys conducted over the course of the eighteen months in which the main pilot was in operation, supplemented with detailed case studies of individuals and families. It looks at the impact on health and nutrition, on schooling, on economic activity, women's agency and the welfare of those with disabilities.
Above all, the book considers whether or not a basic income could be transformative, in not only improving individual and family welfare but in promoting economic growth and development, as well as having an emancipatory effect for people long mired in conditions of poverty and economic insecurity.
Reporting on an immensely important UNICEF and UNDP funded project to alleviate the effects of poverty in rural communities and transform welfare.
Guy Standing, the author of the precariat and a precariat charter, designed the pilot projects. Renana Jhabvala, head of SEWA, implemented them and is a recipient of the presidents award for distinguished services to the country.
Publication timed to coincide with a major UN funded international conferences in Delhi which will discuss the findings of the pilot schemes.
This project has received much attention in India, with more than a dozen newspaper articles, an invitation from Sonia Gandhi to present the results privately and approaches from the opposition in various states to discuss implementing the scheme.
About the Author
Sarath Davala is senior researcher for SEWA, the self employed womens association of India and has a doctorate in sociology from the university of Delhi.
Renana Jhabvala is president of SEWA Bharat and national coordinator of SEWA, a trade union of women with about two million members and is a mathematician with degrees from Harvard and Yale.
Soumya Kapoor Mehta is an economist working with the world bank in Delhi, she has written extensively on social policy issues and worked with UN bodies and the government of India.
Guy Standing is professor of development studies, school of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), university of London, UK. He has previously been professor of economic security at the university of bath, UK, professor of labor economics at Monash university, Australia and director of the socio-economic security programme of the international labor organization. He is co president of the basic income earth network. His recent books include work after globalization-building occupational citizenship (2009) and beyond the new paternalism-basic security as equality (2002)