HSP unveils plans for universal basic income scheme

Gangtok, 26 Mar:

Hamro Sikkim Party today announced a universal basic income scheme for every Sikkim should it form the next government in the State. HSP’s “Sikkimey Samman Yojna” promises a Rs 18,000 per annum entitlement to ever Sikkim resident an Rs 90,000 per annum for a family of five.

HSP is contesting from 22 of the State’s 32 Assembly constituencies and the lone Lok Sabha seat.

The SSY plan was unveiled by HSP president, Dr Bina Basnett, at a press conference accompanied by working president Bhaichung Bhutia and spokesperson Biraj Ahikari.

The scheme, Mr Bhutia announced, will be launched within 25 days in the event that HSP forms the government and payments released into individual bank accounts within 90 days of launch.

The party plans to make budgetary allocation for the scheme and believes this will cost around Rs 900 crore per annum which is 4.04% of the GSDP [for 2017-18] and 12.76% of the plan budget [2018-19].

Mr Bhutia further explained that specific categories like State & Central Govt upper grade staff an officers, MPs, MLAs, high earning professionals etc. will be excluded from the scheme but low-earning government permanent employees and all ad-hoc employees/ scheme workers will be included under SSY.

The HSP president Dr Basnett adds that the party’s commitment to the underprivileged sections is reflected in the candidates list which included “a large number of low income working class people like drivers, mechanics, farmers and unemployed youth”.

Dr Basnett further added that the finer details of SSY will be drafted in consultation with renowned economists of the world taking care of every aspect of its implementation.

“SSY is neither a gift nor an electoral sop or largesse - it is simply redistribution of Sikkim’s wealth for welfare of all Sikkimese. After all, the State exists for the benefit of all citizens and the State is duty bound to ensure financial security and a higher standard to living for all. With this one major step, poverty will be eradicated from Sikkim,” she said.

7. Funding: Funds for SSY shall be provided through budgetary allocation. Based on 2019 Population of Sikkim at 6,52,862 (Projected) and factoring the exclusions, this is likely to be Rs900 crores per annum, which is 4.04% of Rs22,247 crores GSDP for 2017–18 and 12.76% of Rs7051 crores Plan Budget of Sikkim for 2018–19.

3. Progressive Increase: This amount shall be progressively increased, based on cost of living index.

6. Timely Payment: Transfers shall be made on first day of every month through bank accounts.