India’s Prime Minister has called for universal guaranteed income to be part of the government’s annual budget.
In his Budget speech on Thursday, Mr Modi announced that the government would start with a “single-point basic income” of Rs 500 per month to be provided to all citizens by 2019.
The announcement follows the government raising the minimum wage to 5,000 rupees ($85) per month.
The plan was seen by many as a direct response to the country’s massive joblessness crisis, and the government said it was “ready to do more” to help people. “
And if you earn less than the poverty line, you get a universal basic pension.”
The plan was seen by many as a direct response to the country’s massive joblessness crisis, and the government said it was “ready to do more” to help people.
In a statement, the Finance Ministry said the scheme would be administered by the National Council for Applied Economic Research and the Indian Council for Agricultural Research.
Read more: India’s jobless rate fell to 4.3% last month, but is expected to rise to 4% this year, data from the Reserve Bank of India show.
It is a sharp fall from the 3.9% unemployment rate that prevailed in the year to June last year.
India’s job-seekers’ benefits have been frozen since the government implemented the Jan Dhan Yojana in January last year, and its unemployment rate remains at nearly 40%.
The announcement comes amid mounting economic uncertainty in the world’s second-largest economy.
Analysts are sceptical that the announcement will help to lift India out of its current slump, given the current weak outlook.
The Indian economy contracted by 7.2% in the three months to April, according to data from World Bank.
The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 8.2%, and its trade deficit widened by 12% to $7.7 billion in the third quarter.
But it is unclear how much more the government can achieve if it cannot get the economy growing again.
“India’s economy is still in a deep recession, and it needs the support of the public to revive,” said Jochen Zwiers, a former member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
“I do not believe the government has enough cash on hand.”
Mr Modi’s announcement was made at a time when the country has been under heavy criticism from across the political spectrum over the slow pace of economic recovery and a lack of investment.
In an interview with the New York Times last week, he said that he wanted to ensure that his government could provide all its citizens with a basic standard of living.
India has seen an economic slowdown since November last year after a series of events including demonetisation, a government shutdown, and GST, which slashed the countrys tax collection.
The economic recovery has been uneven at best, with the government often failing to achieve full employment levels.
Mr Zwiesers views of the country are mixed.
“India’s economic performance is still very mixed.
On the one hand, we have a strong economy but, on the other hand, there are huge challenges facing the economy,” he said.
“What we need is more investment in the economy, more job creation.”
India, which is the second-biggest economy in the Asia-Pacific region, has also seen an influx of migrants from the developing world in recent years.
Mr Modi has made the country one of the first major economies in the region to establish a quota system for migrants, allowing people who are employed in a specific job to be eligible for free healthcare, education and welfare benefits.