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Budget 2019: Assured income of Rs 6000 for farmers announced

Feb 01, 2019

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday announced an assured income scheme for farmers in the Budget 2019. He announced a new scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisaan for the assured income support to the farmers. The scheme would be implemented with retrospective effect from December 2018.

Under this schemes, vulnerable farmers having less than two hectare of land will be eligible for the benefit under the scheme.

Goyal announced that the government will provide a direct income support of Rs 6,000 per annum to the farmers. “This income support will be transferred directly to beneficiary farmers in three equal instalments,” Goyal said.

Around 12 crore farming families will be directly benefitted from this scheme. The finance minister also announced setting up of Pradhan Mantri Kisaan Nidhi for disbursement of money to the farmers. He announced a fund of Rs 75,000 crore for the PM Kisaan scheme for 2019-20 and Rs 20,000 crore for the current, 2018-19 financial year.

The idea of a guaranteed basic income for the poor was mooted in the Economic Survey 2016-17 when Arvind Subramanian was the chief economic adviser to the Narendra Modi government. However, the idea did not get support from other stakeholders in the government with the Niti Aayog declaring it unfeasible.

The Economic Survey 2016-17 talked about a Quasi-Universal Basic Income Scheme (QUBI). The survey outlined a Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme as move to replace existing subsidies.

But the idea of a guaranteed income scheme gained political currency after Congress president Rahul Gandhi made it a poll plank at a public rally in Chhattisgarh. Gandhi said if the Congress is voted to power in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the new government would implement a minimum income guarantee scheme for the poor in order to eradicate poverty and hunger.

However, even before Rahul Gandhi raised the pitch for minimum income guarantee scheme, there were reports suggesting that the Modi government was pondering over such a scheme ahead of the Lok Sabha election. There was speculation that the government would target nearly 40 per cent of the below poverty line (BPL) population for the direct cash transfer scheme.

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