1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Research-Related Activities

Piloting Basic Income in India: A Transformative Policy?

Date: 5 Dec 2013

  • Time: 12:30 - 14:00
  • Location: UNOG Library, Library Events Room B-135
  • Project Title: UNRISD Seminar Series




This UNRISD seminar was held in partnership with UNOG Library Talks.

Click here to download the Podcast for this event.

In what may be a unique social experiment, three pilot basic income schemes were conducted in India between 2010 and 2013, in which over 6,000 men, women and children received universal, equal and completely unconditional monthly cash payments. Guy Standing reports on the main outcomes, looking at the effects on sanitation, nutrition, health, schooling, economic activity, women’s status, specific vulnerable groups, and social attitudes more broadly.

The results are based on data generated by a multi-round evaluation and a modified randomized control trial methodology, in which those receiving the basic incomes were compared with others not receiving them. A second parameter for comparison was the presence or absence of a collective body, or "Voice organization", representing the interests of the vulnerable in the villages studied.

SEWA (Self-Employed Women’s Association) was the implementing organization for the schemes, which were largely funded by UNICEF.

A summary of results of the project was released on the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) website.
You can also read a A UNICEF publication released prior to the project titled Cash Transfers: A Review of the Issues in India.

The speakers


Speaker: Guy Standing, a British economist, is Professor of Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is former Director of the Socio-Economic Security Programme of the International Labour Organisation.

Discussant: Sarah Cook, Director, UNRISD

Moderator: Blandine Blukacz-Louisfert, Officer-in-charge, UNOG Library


The event


UNRISD is pleased to collaborate again with the UNOG Library for this event, which will take place at the United Nations Library in Geneva, Switzerland, on 5 December, at 12:30. It is public and free of charge. However, registration is required for non-UN badge holders to access the UN buildings (note there can be long queues at security).
The final access to this event is subject to the capacity of the room. We advise arriving early to ensure a seat.


Remote access to the seminar


We will be tweeting key messages live from the seminar and welcome your comments and questions, which, time permitting, we may be able to put directly to the speaker. Follow us on @UNRISD and #UNRISDseminar

This event will be video and audio recorded. If you would like to be notified when the video and the podcast are online, please send an email with “Audio/video notification” in the subject line to vaque@unrisd.org


Background information


Here's a short background video to find out more about the project and its outcomes:




Photo by Chris SL via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)