GANGTOK, 27 Mar:
Sikkim Democratic Front spokesperson and Lok Sabha MP, PD Rai today said that the Universal Basic Income [UBI] announced by SDF will build confidence in the youth to decide their future better. He added that UBI is a youth-centric programme that will provide a range of opportunities for the youth.
SDF announced the implementation of UBI in Sikkim in the national media on 10 Jan earlier this year. Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has also reiterated plans to implement UBI in his recent press briefings.
Addressing a press conference here this morning, Mr Rai stated that this concept of Sikkim has not only taken India by storm but the world as well. UBI will be among the major programmes of SDF to be included in its election manifesto for 2019, he added.
Mr Rai said that this would be an income which will be provided every month continuously and it would be universal as every member of the household would be entitled to the income regardless of whether they were rich or poor.
He mentioned that it is not targeted at a certain section of people as announced by HSP or the Congress party president Rahul Gandhi.
“It is universal and everyone will get it irrespective of belonging to any category,” he said.
Stating that a huge amount of research has gone into UBI, he mentioned that ‘Sikkim Dividend Fund’ will be created by an Act of the State Assembly and this Sikkim Dividend Fund will be created as a corpus to make payments to the people. The money will come from all natural resources, revenues and other economic activities of the State, he added.
“We have thought this programmethrough and we are in touch with leading thinkers around the world on this particular issue and we will have a protracted programme of consultation with the people of Sikkim,” he said.
Mr Rai stated that the government will go to the people taking a participatory approach for its implementation.
Speaking on Hamro Sikkim Party’s announcement to implement UBI as ‘Sikkim SammanYojana’ in Sikkim, he accused HSP of stealing SDF’s ideas and added that this only proves that HSP does not have any original programme for the people. He also discarded the claim of HSP working president, Bhaichung Bhutia that UBI would be unique to India and added that Indian states like Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have successfully implemented UBI in pilot projects and they have been documented in a book.
Mr Rai further criticized Bhaichung Bhutia announcing UBI as a ‘scheme’ and stated that a scheme can end anytime.
Responding to media queries, he mentioned that the announcement of Bhaichung Bhutia to launch the UBI within 90 days shows his lack of knowledge on governance and administration. He added that it is just a poll promise that will remain till the election.