Government jobs in India pay off well

India is planning the largest basic income experiment in its history

The unconditional basic income is an internationally debated topic. Now an Indian state in the south of the Himalayas is planning a globally unique experiment: All 600,000 residents of the state of Sikkim are to receive an unconditional basic income.

The ruling party there, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), is including the basic income for the upcoming elections in its election manifesto. In 2022, the population should then receive their basic amount for the first time.

Unconditional basic income means that every member of the population, regardless of what or whether they work, receives enough money to ensure their livelihood. Numerous, more or less successful test projects have been carried out around the world in the past, but none of them had the scale of the planned changes for Sikkim.

Germany's view of the unconditional basic income

In Germany, the subject is very controversial. The central pro-argument is the increasing automation of the world of work and the associated fear of unemployment. In addition, the elimination of pressure to perform is for many a central argument in favor of a basic income. “My basic income made me a new person within a few months,” writes Michael Bohmeyer, founder of the Mein Grundeinkommen association, in “Die Zeit”. It is precisely this association that pays Bohmeyer his monthly basic amount and raffles off an annual basic income every year.

On the other hand, critics argue that all motivation could be lost. Why should people still work when their monthly salary has already been secured? "Giving up labor participation as the basis of a social contract based on personal effort and collective solidarity, individual freedom and social responsibility would be fatal and unnecessary," writes the director and managing director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics, Henning Vöpel, in "Welt".

Why the basic income could work in India in particular

Prem Das Rai of the Sikkim Democratic Front believes the system could work just fine in a developing country like India: "The unconditional basic income is a system that many economists have discussed, and it works well in developing countries," he said in "The Indian Express", an Indian newspaper. It has already been tried in India, and with success.

Read also: Finland ends its basic income experiment in complete surprise

"It has been tested in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and in tribal areas and has been shown to work," he continues. In Madhya Pradesh, India's second largest state, for example, 22 villages where poverty had reached particularly high levels were provided with an unconditional basic income. This monthly amount is only 200 rupees, which would be about ten euros for us. But the money already brings big improvements for the local population. "If it can be implemented anywhere, it is in Sikkim," said Rai, according to the Washington Post.