given the below poverty line levels right now, what would it cost the exchequer to provide UBI to the indian diaspora; at least for the maintenance of a basic lifestyle at par with amenities like food and shelter; or would it be cheaper for the government to come up with the provision of inclusive smart cities in such a case?

Providing a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to the Indian diaspora, while a noble concept, presents a series of complex challenges and financial considerations:

  1. Defining the Indian diaspora: The Indian diaspora is vast and diverse, spanning across numerous countries with varying costs of living. Defining who qualifies for UBI and setting an appropriate income level to maintain a basic lifestyle in each location would be a massive undertaking.
  2. Calculating the cost: Even with a clear definition, the cost of providing UBI to the Indian diaspora would be astronomical. Considering the sheer number of individuals and the diverse economic conditions in different countries, the financial burden on the Indian exchequer would be immense.
  3. Implementation and logistics: Implementing and administering UBI on a global scale would pose significant logistical challenges. It would require international cooperation, robust infrastructure, and measures to prevent fraud and misuse.
  4. Impact on existing welfare programs: Introducing UBI for the diaspora might necessitate a reevaluation of existing welfare programs for residents in India, potentially raising questions of equity and resource allocation.

Alternative: Inclusive Smart Cities

The concept of developing inclusive smart cities in India, while not directly addressing the needs of the diaspora, offers a potentially more feasible and impactful alternative:

  1. Targeted development: Focusing on creating well-planned, sustainable cities within India can address the root causes of poverty and migration, offering improved living conditions, employment opportunities, and access to basic amenities for a larger segment of the population.
  2. Economic growth: Investing in smart city infrastructure can stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and improve the overall quality of life for residents, making it a more attractive alternative to migration.
  3. Resource optimization: Compared to the colossal costs of a global UBI program, the development of smart cities allows for a more focused and efficient allocation of resources.
  4. Long-term benefits: While UBI might provide short-term relief, investing in inclusive smart cities can create a lasting impact on poverty reduction, economic development, and social progress.


While the idea of providing UBI to the Indian diaspora is well-intentioned, the practicalities and financial implications make it a less viable option compared to focusing on inclusive smart city development within India. By addressing the underlying causes of poverty and migration, and investing in sustainable urban development, the government can create a more prosperous and equitable future for its citizens.

Costing of Inclusive Smart Cities:

The cost of developing inclusive smart cities in India would depend on several factors, including:

  1. Number of cities: The number of cities to be developed as smart cities.
  2. Scale of development: The extent of infrastructure development required in each city, including housing, transportation, energy, water, sanitation, and technology.
  3. Existing infrastructure: The existing infrastructure in each city and the extent of upgrades needed.
  4. Technology adoption: The level of technology adoption planned for each city, including smart grids, intelligent transportation systems, and data-driven governance.

The Indian government has already launched the Smart Cities Mission, with a budget of ₹98,000 crore (approximately $11.76 billion) for the development of 100 smart cities. The actual cost of developing inclusive smart cities across India would be much higher, potentially running into several lakh crore rupees.

Comparing Costs:

While both UBI for the diaspora and inclusive smart cities would require significant investments, the costing of UBI would depend heavily on the chosen UBI amount and the size of the eligible population. On the other hand, the cost of smart cities would depend on the scale and scope of development.

Given the massive scale and logistical challenges of implementing UBI for the diaspora, it is likely that the cost of developing inclusive smart cities within India would be more manageable and offer a more sustainable solution to address poverty and inequality.


The above cost estimates are very rough and should be taken with a grain of salt. A detailed cost-benefit analysis would be required to accurately compare the costs and benefits of both approaches.

revise the estimate for 1 billion people

Revised Estimate for Universal Basic Income (UBI) for 1 Billion People:

Extrapolating the previous estimate for the Indian diaspora (32 million people) to a global scale of 1 billion people presents a significantly different scenario.



Conversion to USD:

This is a staggering amount, roughly equivalent to the entire annual GDP of countries like Australia or Spain. It underscores the immense financial challenge of implementing a global UBI program at this scale.

Important Considerations:


While the idea of providing a basic income to every person on Earth is appealing, the financial implications are enormous. A global UBI program for 1 billion people would require a substantial reallocation of resources and a comprehensive evaluation of its potential benefits and drawbacks.

does the government have access to these kind of funds at the moment?

No, the Indian government does not currently have access to the kind of funds required for a global UBI program at the scale of $1.44 trillion annually. India’s annual budget for the fiscal year 2023-2024 was roughly $550 billion, significantly less than the estimated cost of the UBI program.

Moreover, India faces various economic challenges, including poverty, infrastructure deficits, and healthcare needs, which require substantial financial resources. Implementing a global UBI program at this scale would necessitate a significant reallocation of funds away from these crucial areas, potentially exacerbating existing issues.

It’s important to note that the estimated cost of $1.44 trillion is a conservative figure based on a modest UBI amount. The actual cost could be even higher depending on various factors.

While the concept of UBI is intriguing, the financial realities and practical challenges involved in implementing a global program of this magnitude are immense. It would require a fundamental shift in global economic policies and extensive international cooperation to even consider such an undertaking.

any suggested alternatives?

Based on the provided information, a global UBI program covering 1 billion people would require astronomical funding that is currently beyond the reach of the Indian government or most governments in the world. However, there are some potential alternatives that could be explored:

  1. Targeted welfare programs: Instead of a universal basic income, governments could focus on targeted welfare programs aimed at specific vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, disabled, or those living in extreme poverty. These programs could provide cash transfers, subsidies, or access to essential services like healthcare and education. While not universal, such programs could be more feasible to implement and better targeted to those in dire need.
  2. Public-private partnerships: Governments could explore public-private partnerships (PPPs) with businesses, non-profit organizations, and international agencies to fund and implement localized basic income initiatives or poverty alleviation programs. By pooling resources and leveraging the expertise of various stakeholders, the financial burden could be shared, and programs could be tailored to specific regions or communities.
  3. Conditional cash transfers: Instead of an unconditional basic income, governments could consider conditional cash transfer programs that provide financial assistance to households or individuals contingent upon meeting certain criteria, such as enrolling children in school or attending regular health check-ups. These programs have been successfully implemented in several countries and can incentivize positive behavioral changes while providing financial support.
  4. Employment guarantee schemes: Rather than providing a basic income, governments could focus on creating large-scale employment guarantee schemes, particularly in rural areas or regions with high unemployment. These initiatives could provide a guaranteed minimum number of workdays per year, ensuring a basic level of income while promoting community development and infrastructure projects.
  5. Inclusive growth policies: Instead of direct income transfers, governments could prioritize policies that promote inclusive economic growth, such as investing in education, healthcare, infrastructure, and creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurship and job creation. While not a direct income supplement, these measures could improve overall living standards and provide opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.

It’s important to note that each of these alternatives has its own challenges and considerations, and a combination of approaches may be needed to effectively address poverty and inequality. Additionally, international cooperation and resource-sharing among nations could be explored to alleviate the financial burden on any single government.


Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a concept where citizens receive a regular, unconditional sum of money from the government. Progressive UBI based on bank balance is a variation where the amount of UBI distributed depends on the recipient’s bank balance, potentially aiming to ensure fairer distribution of resources. Here is a structured table on Progressive UBI Maturity, including sections, subsections, and sub-subsections, with explanatory notes, best use cases, and best practices.

SectionSubsectionSub-subsectionExplanatory NotesBest Use CasesBest Practices
Progressive UBI MaturityProgressive UBI based on bank balance adjusts the amount of UBI distributed according to an individual’s bank balance, aiming for more equitable income distribution.Social welfare programs, poverty alleviation, income inequality reduction.Regular assessment of financial data, clear criteria for UBI adjustments, and transparent communication.
Stages of UBI MaturityInitial (Ad Hoc)UBI practices are minimal and unstructured, with basic or pilot programs without differentiation based on bank balances.Small-scale pilot programs, local government initiatives.Monitor basic UBI implementation, collect feedback, and identify potential for bank balance-based adjustments.
Developing (Opportunistic)Recognizes the importance of UBI and begins experimenting with progressive models based on bank balances.Regional government programs, pilot projects in economically diverse areas.Implement pilot programs, gather data on bank balances, and adjust UBI amounts accordingly.
Defined (Systematic)Systematically integrates progressive UBI into broader social welfare programs with clear strategies and objectives.National government initiatives, larger regional programs.Develop clear criteria for UBI adjustments, integrate UBI with existing welfare programs, and ensure transparency.
Managed (Strategic)Strategically manages UBI across the country, ensuring alignment with social and economic objectives, with a robust system for adjusting based on bank balances.National welfare programs, comprehensive social security systems.Regularly review and adjust UBI criteria, ensure data accuracy, and measure the impact on income inequality.
Optimized (Transformational)UBI practices are deeply embedded in the national welfare system, driving significant reductions in poverty and income inequality, with continuous optimization.Countries with advanced social welfare systems, leading examples of UBI implementation.Foster a culture of continuous improvement, leverage data for strategic adjustments, and stay ahead of socio-economic trends.
UBI CapabilitiesData Collection and AnalysisCollecting and analyzing financial data to determine appropriate UBI amounts based on individual bank balances.All levels of government, particularly finance and social welfare departments.Use secure data collection methods, ensure data privacy, and regularly update financial data for accuracy.
Eligibility and DistributionDefining eligibility criteria and distributing UBI efficiently based on bank balance assessments.Social security agencies, financial institutions.Develop clear eligibility criteria, use efficient distribution channels, and ensure timely disbursements.
Monitoring and EvaluationContinuously monitoring the impact of progressive UBI and evaluating its effectiveness in reducing income inequality.Government oversight bodies, social policy think tanks.Implement robust monitoring systems, use data analytics to measure impact, and adjust policies based on findings.
Public Awareness and EducationEducating the public about progressive UBI, its benefits, and how it is determined based on bank balances.Public information campaigns, community outreach programs.Use multiple channels for communication, ensure clear and transparent messaging, and address public concerns.
Use CasesPoverty AlleviationTargeted SupportProviding higher UBI amounts to individuals with lower bank balances to ensure basic living standards.Low-income communities, economically disadvantaged regions.Conduct needs assessments, ensure equitable distribution, and monitor the impact on poverty reduction.
Income Inequality ReductionEquitable DistributionAdjusting UBI amounts to narrow the gap between the wealthy and the poor, promoting more equitable income distribution.Areas with high income inequality, social justice programs.Use data-driven approaches, ensure fair adjustments, and engage stakeholders in policy development.
Economic StabilityStimulus MeasuresUsing UBI as a tool to stabilize the economy, particularly in times of economic downturn, by ensuring a minimum income level for all citizens.During economic recessions, post-crisis recovery phases.Implement timely adjustments, ensure rapid distribution, and coordinate with broader economic policies.
Integration and CollaborationInter-departmental CoordinationEnsuring coordination and collaboration across various government departments to manage progressive UBI effectively.All levels of government, especially finance, welfare, and economic planning departments.Form cross-departmental teams, promote clear communication, and align UBI policies with overall social objectives.
Public-Private PartnershipsCollaborating with private sector entities to leverage financial data and improve the efficiency and reach of UBI programs.Financial institutions, tech companies, social enterprises.Develop clear partnership frameworks, ensure data security, and align private sector contributions with public goals.
Community EngagementEngaging with communities to gather feedback, improve program design, and ensure the needs of the most vulnerable are met.Local government bodies, community organizations.Conduct regular consultations, involve community leaders, and use feedback to refine UBI policies.
Performance MeasurementKey Performance IndicatorsEstablishing KPIs to measure the impact and efficiency of progressive UBI programs, ensuring accountability and continuous improvement.Government oversight bodies, research institutions.Define clear KPIs, use data-driven insights, and continuously monitor and evaluate performance against set goals.
Feedback MechanismsImplementing mechanisms to gather feedback from beneficiaries and stakeholders, using it to improve UBI strategies.Social welfare departments, community organizations.Use surveys, public consultations, and digital feedback tools to gather inputs, ensure responsiveness, and act on feedback.
Ethical ConsiderationsTransparency and AccountabilityEnsuring transparency in UBI practices and accountability of actions to build trust and integrity in the system.All levels of government, public service commissions.Implement transparency frameworks, ensure open communication, and enforce accountability mechanisms.
Ethical DistributionEnsuring that UBI distribution is fair, just, and free from discrimination, targeting those in genuine need based on objective criteria.Social justice programs, welfare departments.Develop and enforce ethical guidelines, ensure fair treatment of all beneficiaries, and conduct regular audits.

This table provides an overview of various aspects of Progressive UBI maturity, highlighting key concepts, explanatory notes, applications, best use cases, and best practices. This structure aids in understanding how governments can progress through different stages of UBI maturity and effectively manage, analyze, and utilize resources and capabilities to maximize social welfare and economic stability.

Progressive UBI at 10,000 INR

To calculate the cost of implementing a progressive Universal Basic Income (UBI) of 10,000 INR per month for the Indian population earning less than $10,000 per annum, we’ll use the provided information and assumptions.

Key Data Points:

  1. Total population of India (2023): 1.41 billion.
  2. Population earning over $10,000 per annum: 100 million (10 crores).
  3. Population earning less than $10,000 per annum: 1.31 billion.
  4. India’s GNI (2022): $3.26 trillion.
  5. Estimated total income of the affluent class (100 million people): $1.2 trillion.
  6. Remaining GNI for the population earning less than $10,000 per annum: $2.06 trillion.
  7. Per capita income for the remaining 1.31 billion people: approximately $1,572 per annum.
  8. Exchange rate: 1 USD = 82 INR.

Proposed Progressive UBI Structure:

We’ll assume a progressive UBI structure where different income groups receive varying amounts, all capped at 10,000 INR per month for the lowest income group.

Estimated Population Distribution within the Lower Income Brackets:

Given the complexity of actual income distribution, we’ll make an approximate distribution:

UBI Allocation:

Annual UBI Calculation for Each Group:

  1. Lowest Income Group:
    • Monthly UBI: 10,000 INR
    • Annual UBI per person: 10,000 INR * 12 = 120,000 INR
    • Total annual UBI: 655 million * 120,000 INR = 78,600,000,000,000 INR
    • In USD: 78,600,000,000,000 INR / 82 ≈ $958.54 billion
  2. Low-Middle Income Group:
    • Monthly UBI: 7,500 INR
    • Annual UBI per person: 7,500 INR * 12 = 90,000 INR
    • Total annual UBI: 393 million * 90,000 INR = 35,370,000,000,000 INR
    • In USD: 35,370,000,000,000 INR / 82 ≈ $431.34 billion
  3. Middle-Upper Income Group:
    • Monthly UBI: 5,000 INR
    • Annual UBI per person: 5,000 INR * 12 = 60,000 INR
    • Total annual UBI: 262 million * 60,000 INR = 15,720,000,000,000 INR
    • In USD: 15,720,000,000,000 INR / 82 ≈ $191.71 billion

Total Annual UBI Cost:

958.54 billion USD+431.34 billion USD+191.71 billion USD≈1,581.59 billion USD958.54 \text{ billion USD} + 431.34 \text{ billion USD} + 191.71 \text{ billion USD} \approx 1,581.59 \text{ billion USD}958.54 billion USD+431.34 billion USD+191.71 billion USD≈1,581.59 billion USD

Important Considerations:

  1. Administrative Feasibility: Implementing such a program requires robust mechanisms to assess income levels accurately and distribute UBI efficiently.
  2. Funding: Significant financial resources are needed, potentially requiring tax reforms or reallocation of government expenditure.
  3. Inflationary Impact: Large-scale cash distribution might lead to inflation if not carefully managed.
  4. Economic and Social Benefits: Properly implemented, UBI can reduce poverty, increase consumer spending, and improve overall well-being.

Best Practices for Implementation:

  1. Gradual Rollout: Start with smaller-scale pilot programs to refine the approach.
  2. Data-Driven Policy: Use accurate data collection and analysis to determine eligibility and monitor impacts.
  3. Public Engagement: Communicate transparently with the public and stakeholders to build support and address concerns.
  4. Regular Reviews: Continuously evaluate the program’s effectiveness and make necessary adjustments.

By considering these factors, India could explore the potential benefits and challenges of implementing a progressive UBI system tailored to its socio-economic context.


To estimate the potential economic gains from implementing a progressive Universal Basic Income (UBI) in India, it’s important to understand how such a stimulus could impact the economy. Here, we’ll use a simplified economic model to illustrate the potential benefits.

Key Data Points:

  1. Total annual UBI cost: $1,581.59 billion USD
  2. Exchange rate: 1 USD = 82 INR
  3. Multiplier effect: Assumed to be between 1.5 to 2.5 (a common range for fiscal multipliers in developing economies).

Economic Multiplier Effect:

The economic multiplier effect measures how much economic activity is generated from additional spending. In developing economies like India, the multiplier effect can be relatively high due to higher marginal propensities to consume.

Step-by-Step Calculation:

  1. Total UBI Distribution in INR:
    • $1,581.59 billion USD * 82 INR/USD = 129,690.38 billion INR
  2. Multiplier Effect:
    • Lower bound (1.5): 129,690.38 billion INR * 1.5 = 194,535.57 billion INR
    • Upper bound (2.5): 129,690.38 billion INR * 2.5 = 324,225.95 billion INR
  3. Converted to USD:
    • Lower bound: 194,535.57 billion INR / 82 = $2,372.38 billion USD
    • Upper bound: 324,225.95 billion INR / 82 = $3,953.37 billion USD

Potential Economic Gains:

  1. Lower Bound Estimate:
    • Total economic gain in real terms: $2,372.38 billion USD
  2. Upper Bound Estimate:
    • Total economic gain in real terms: $3,953.37 billion USD

Impact on GDP:

India’s GDP for 2022 was approximately $3.26 trillion. Adding the potential economic gains from the UBI program:

  1. Lower Bound Impact:
    • New GDP estimate: $3.26 trillion + $2.37 trillion = $5.63 trillion
    • Percentage increase: (($5.63 trillion – $3.26 trillion) / $3.26 trillion) * 100 ≈ 72.7%
  2. Upper Bound Impact:
    • New GDP estimate: $3.26 trillion + $3.95 trillion = $7.21 trillion
    • Percentage increase: (($7.21 trillion – $3.26 trillion) / $3.26 trillion) * 100 ≈ 121.5%

Summary of Potential Gains:

Important Considerations:

  1. Economic Context: The exact multiplier effect can vary based on the current economic context, including the state of infrastructure, financial systems, and market dynamics.
  2. Inflation: Large-scale cash transfers can lead to inflationary pressures if not managed properly.
  3. Implementation Efficiency: The effectiveness of the UBI program depends on the government’s ability to accurately target recipients and minimize administrative costs.


Implementing a progressive UBI of 10,000 INR per month for the lower-income population in India could significantly stimulate the economy, potentially leading to substantial GDP growth. However, careful planning and management are essential to maximize the benefits and mitigate any negative side effects, such as inflation.