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News Link • Voting and Elections

Modi announces universal basic income for farmers in bid for rural vote ahead of election

• Adam Withnall - MSN Money

he Indian government has announced the introduction of a basic income for poor farmers, as part of a budget full of expensive vote-winning policies clearly geared towards a general election in just a few months time. The handouts will affect 620 million people, including millions of smallholding farmers who will be paid 6,000 rupees (£64) a year. The measures are a direct response to recent unrest among rural voters and weak state election results for Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). There were pre-election gifts too for urban middle class voters, who will see the threshold for income tax doubled from 250,000 to 500,000 rupees (£5,400). A pension scheme for some 100 million workers in the vast informal labour sector was also announced. "This was an out-and-out election budget," economist Vivek Kaul told The Independent. "We're talking about handouts for more than half of all Indians. The prime minister is looking to put money into pockets across

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