Hamro Sikkim Party working president Bhaichung Bhutia

Ganagtok: Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) will launch Sikkim Samman Yojana, a Universal Basic Income scheme, which will provide a basic monthly stipend of Rs 1,500 to every person born in Sikkim, said party working president Bhaichung Bhutia on Tuesday.

In a press conference, Bhutia said, if elected to power in the upcoming Assembly elections, HSP will launch the project within 25 days of forming the government.

“We want to show the SDF [Sikkim Democratic Front] government what they couldn’t do in 25 years. In 90 days, we will start initiating the payments. The payments will be made in the first week of every month and the overall budget for the same should amount to Rs 900 crore per annum, a meagre amount in comparison to the budget allocated to Sikkim,” Bhutia added.

The scheme will exclude the chief minister, ministers, MLAs, and bureaucrats who earn more than Rs 25,000. Yet, their family members will get the same benefit. “The business community can voluntarily say no to the scheme if they earn more than Rs 25,000. The scheme is more oriented towards providing for the lesser privileged and what the SDF has promised on similar grounds by 2022. But this is something that can happen right now as well,” said Bhutia.

As a part of dignity for individuals, HSP lined the scheme on grounds of Universal Basic Income concept that has been experimental in the other parts of the world and even India. “A small population like Sikkim can be an experimental of such initiatives. It’s not about organising Janta Mela and making people expect various grants that they are actually entitled to. Our scheme will entitle them to a guaranteed basic income,” added party president Bina Basnett.

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