With inflation slowing, there is space for monetary easing: Arvind Subramanian

With inflation slowing, there is space for monetary easing: Arvind Subramanian: Interview with Chief Economic Advisor...

Universal basic income

This refers to BS interaction with Chief Economic Advisor(CEA) Arvind Subramanian (Business Standard, September 29). Recent years have seen a healthy trend evolving in the approach of top executives to media which encourages informed debated on issues of public interest. Dr Raghuram Rajan during his tenure as RBI governor freely allowed debates on the handling of monetary policy and the role of the central bank in
economic development. In a way, he enjoyed participating in such debates himself.
It is comforting to see that from GOI side, CEA is taking the initiative forward. For some more time, shifting the focus from details of deliberations to sensitive excerpts may continue (like in this report which highlighted ‘monetary easing’). But, the sharing of views like this is extremely beneficial in improving public awareness on issues of public interest and will lead to adding value and quality to policy inputs.
The proposal to accept Universal Basic Income (UBI) as one of the themes for the forthcoming Economic Survey should be seen as an effort to re-dedicate budget exercise as a tool for ensuring distributive justice, which is a responsibility emanating from constitutional provisions. Once the debate on UBI picks up, the various components of such a concept, adequacy of the present levels of minimum wage, the path towards ‘living wage’, the relationship between wage and savings, savings and social security, wage and healthcare and education expenditure in low income groups and so on will surface. So far, discussions on such issues were isolated or confined to academia or research efforts. For India, once the political will gets convinced about a realistic UBI, resources will not be a problem.

G Warrier, Mumbai 


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