Nobel laureates Abhijit Banerjee and his wife Esther Duflo have suggested that the Government of India should immediately start a cash transfer scheme of Rs. 1000 per person, per month along the lines of NYAY, a cash transfer scheme envisaged by the Congress,.
Cash transfers of “Rs. 1000 per person per month would make a huge difference, that's probably too much. Even Rs. 500, so for a family of five 2,500, I think that makes a big difference. It would pay for all the emergency things,” Banerjee said during the conversation.
They were speaking to each other at an online version of Jaipur Literature Festival.
Discussing the topic, “Poor economics: The human toll”, Banerjee and Esther Duflo put forth a suggestion that to tide over the crisis caused by the COVID-19 crisis, “one-nation, one ration card” scheme should be implemented on an urgent basis.
The conversation between Banerjee and his wife could be watched here:
Saying that India could see another phase of lockdown, Banerjee suggested that India could help in mass production of a COVID-19 vaccine when it is developed, but it will have to work with other nations to iron out the distribution, funding and intellectual property rights battles.
Saying that “India is going to face a massive demand shock”, Banerjee added, “Pumping money in the hands of people might actually be the way to save the economy”.
The Nobel Laureate stressed upon implementing “one nation, one ration card” scheme “now… urgently.”
Duflo said that the COVID-19 crisis has pushed Indians back into the poverty trap. She suggested that India could immediately start with Ultra Basic Income (UBI), as it was “very close” with the JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) trinity already in place.
The government could not just use UBI for aiding people, but keep it as a social security option for those who may need assistance even after the crisis tides over, said Duflo.