mohandas pai endorses a dole

Subsidies on food are up, so also on fertiliser. But a large part of the subsidy does not reach the poor. What India needs now is a direct income transfer on a monthly basis to the BPL sector and our farmers of at least Rs. 1000 per month for each family through electronic fund transfer.
reacting to the budget, t.v.mohandas pai of infosys recommends a direct transfer of funds to below poverty line families and farmers in the villages every month. print isn't television, in many ways. he seemed much more emphatic on television. a few months ago, meghnad desai had also suggested a dole, a direct transfer to poor families every month to to ensure they send their kids to school- this was on television too (i can't trace the transcript).

i've been talking about a dole, direct monthly electronic transfers from delhi to every home in rural india, not just farming or bpl families, for quite a while, as a few visitors to this blog would remember. dr.jayaprakash narayan of lok satta has often talked about the futility of the thousand or more schemes ( dr.narayan says that they actually number a thousand and he should know because he has worked in the ias, and later the nac) that are being run by the central and state governments to alleviate poverty, and the need to replace them all with one universal program.

most of these people do know what they're talking about- and i think the indian government has enough resources now, thanks to the reforms, to extend this dole to every family in the countryside. there is no need to be clever about it (most schemes fail because they're designed by very smart people who seem to forget that there are very smart people outside yojana bhavan too, in my view, ), to target it or to worry about how to prevent undeserving people from grabbing it. let every family in the villages be a beneficiary- rich and poor, savarna and dalit. the rs.100, or 200, or 500 or 1000 that an undeserving rich family grabs from the national coffers every month might not mean a lot to it, or to the government, but the rs.100, or 200 or..will mean a lot to every poor family that receives it, every month. and the dole stands a higher chance of reaching every poor family's doorstep than any smartly devised scheme. and monitoring it would be a hundred times simpler.

some of my earlier posts on a dole: [1], [2] and [3].


gaddeswarup said...

Brazil has such a scheme which is drawing praise:

kuffir said...

but i don't understand why he talks about school vouchers.

gaddeswarup said...

I took it more as a survey article; it is possible that the author has some preferences. Shanta Devarajan has a post with links to some World Banlevaluation programmes. My own feeling is that several of these have to be tried and evaluated but I have not studied them in any depth.
By the way, do you know of some Development Economics Institutes in A.P.? Next time I come to A.P. I would like to spend some time in some such place. I heard that there is good one in Trivandrum;

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