“Would this undermine that? And the third big question is, is the infrastructure to implement this…the whole biometrics, financial inclusion, and mobile,” he said in response to a question.
In terms of mobiles, 250 million people have smart phones, 300 million people have regular phones and 350 million people have no phones, he noted. Ideally one would like to have the biometric number, bank account and mobile phone linked with each other, he said. “That is the kind of dream, we call it the JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) infrastructure. At the moment, it is very patched in the way it is developed,” he said.
UBI can easily be an improvement on that, the chief economic adviser said. Responding to a question, Subramanian said that it would be very difficult to phase out the existing subsidy programmes, because of the potential political opposition to it.