UBI may be launched as a pilot, says Arun Jaitley

New Delhi [India], Feb 10 : Extolling virtues of the Universal Basic Income, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said that at least one state is willing to take a plunge and launch a pilot on the scheme, proposed by the Economic Survey.

"UBI is an idea worth considering. Today I had the first finance minister of a state meeting me to say that my state is willing to take a plunge as a pilot project pooling all the state and central subsidies.

We will identify the poor people of the state, give cheque to a family every month" said Jaitley while addressing captains of the industry at the ASSOCHAM annual event.

This way he said, poverty can be eliminated over night in a region where it is implemented. Referring to the theme of the event 'India Transforming through Redical Reforms' the Finance Minister said that the biggest reform that India need today is that people must pay tax.

In this context he mentioned the combined effect of the Goods and Services Tax and demonetisation would take India to a new path of reforms, enabling large part of informal economy in to the formal economy.

The integration of the informal economy in to formal one would lead to higher tax revenue and thereby lower tax rates.

"We create a new normal and break away from the old normal of how much cash and how much cheque for every transaction.

Today you are moving towards a system where generating that cash will be difficult and spending that cash will be difficult.

Probably the incentive to be on the right side of law is going to be much higher," he added. Jaitley also referred to the electoral bond as proposed in the Union Budget as yet another major reform.

Even though the ideal situation is that of small donation by large number of people to the political parties, the issuance of bonds as a means of contribution to the political parties is a major step forward.

While some people still find fault with the political funding reforms, he is willing to have a debate on merits of reducing cash donations to Rs.

2,000 from Rs. 20,000 to political parties per individuals. The minister said that as another measure the discretionary powers have been replaced by rule base system.

The result was that India's image that it is a corrupt society and therefore difficult society to do business has been written off substantially if not completely.

Earlier welcoming the Finance Minister, ASSOCHAM president Sunil Kanoria said that the Government has brought in a large number of reforms that would take India to a next level of economic development.

Source: ANI