Countries across the world are looking at a possible economic crisis that is predicted to arrive in the aftermath of coronavirus pandemic. The United Nations has called on the governments to introduce Universal Basic Income (UBI) cautioning that fiscal stimulus packages alone would not help revive the economy. Kanni Wignaraja, Assistant Secretary-General of United Nations and Balazs Horvath, Chief Economist at UNDP, Asia-Pacific in the World Economic Forum's Agenda in a release on April 18 said that UBI is needed as part of the package that will help us to get out of this yawning pit.
The UN experts in the blog post said, "In the COVID-19 outbreak frenzy, several countries are considering massive fiscal stimulus packages and printing money, to blunt the concurrent crises underway: the pandemic and the unravelling economic depression. These plans are essential, but they need to be strategic and sustainable. Because in addressing the current crises, we must avoid sowing seeds of new ones, as the stakes are incredibly high."
"It is time to add a new element to the policy packages that governments are introducing, one we know but have abandoned: Universal Basic Income (UBI). It is needed as part of the package that will help us to get out of this yawning pit. The naysayers and there are plenty, will point out that it won’t work because no country can afford to regularly dole out money to every citizen. They will argue that we will run unsustainable deficits, which cannot be financed," UN experts added.
The experts further added that countries like the United States and Canada are already creating similar plans, citing the example of the US state Alaska, where residents have been receiving UBI payments for years now. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly has pledged CAD$2,000 a month, for the next four months, to workers who have lost income due to COVID-19.
The Coronavirus pandemic has infected over 2.27 million people globally and has killed nearly 1,56,000 patients since it first broke out in December 2019. The virus is believed to have originated from a seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the initial epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. Currently, the United States, Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom are the most affected countries in the world with a recorded death toll of 14,000 and above.
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