FinMin debating on bad bank, UBI concept: Jaitley

NEW DELHI, JUNE 11,

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said that he had been discussing the two concepts introduced in this year’s Economic Survey — Universal Basic Income (UBI), and the creation of a bad bank — with Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, but added that political and economic considerations make UBI a tough task.

“I have been having debates with him (Arvind Subramanian) on both his current suggestions,” Mr. Jaitley said while inaugurating a one-week teachers’ workshop at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi.

“I’m fully supportive of his idea, but realising the limitations of Indian politics, I have always expressed to him the fear that once he moots ideas like the UBI, we will be landing in a situation where people will stand up in Parliament and demand the continuation of the present subsidies and UBI over and above that, which is something that the Budget will not be able to afford,” Mr. Jaitley said.

The CEA had, in the Economic Survey, also introduced the idea of the creation of a bad bank to take over the debt of the NPA-laded banks so as to ease their stress and enable them to begin lending again.

“This year also the Economic Survey initiated a very important idea as to how do we subsidise… substitute the entire set of subsidies…we want to replace it by a Universal Basic Income and that UBI expedites their pulling out of the present state of poverty that they live in,” the Finance Minister said during the event.

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