The SBI Ecowrap Report recommends the government to opt for the Unconditional Cash Transfer to farmers to alleviate agrarian distress rather than the Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme.
- Currently, it is not feasible to implement Rythu Bandhu Scheme (which is an investment support scheme by the government of Telangana to support the livelihood of farmers) at the national level because the land data is yet to be digitized in several states including Jharkhand, Bihar, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu.
- Hence, the Unconditional Cash Transfer Scheme is the best available option as it will be more equitable (on a per farmer basis) with a meaningful impact and once the problems are ironed out in terms of proper tenancy laws, then it can be made conditional.
- The report mentions that many countries have found that UBI does not address the structural problems and is at best a solution in interregnum.
- The report estimates various subsidy benefits the farmers are availing and suggests if a farmer is availing one or all the three modes of subsidy/supports (Crop Insurance, Interest Subsidy and Fertilizer Subsidy) then he/she will receive a minimum of Rs 5,335 to maximum Rs 10,162 per annum as cash support.
- The report predicts that government would be required to provide cash support in the range of Rs 10,000-12,000 per annum to make it completely cash neutral and the annual cost of such a scheme is Rs 1.2 lakh crore per annum.
- The challenge of providing cash transfer to tenant would be left unaddressed under this scheme.