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Should Sri Lanka implement a basic income guarantee? By Prof. Rohan Samarajiva and Dr. Shanta Devarajan

The idea of a ‘universal basic income’ (UBI) or it’s variant the ‘basic income guarantee’ is gaining currency as a policy proposal to address poverty and equal opportunity. From the United States to Finland to India, ‘free money’ experiments are seeing whether the best way to help the poorest in our society is to simply give money to them directly.

Should Sri Lanka enact a similar proposal? With high debt repayment obligations and a large recurrent expenditure, does Sri Lanka have the fiscal space to implement a basic income guarantee? Is basic income guarantee a moral imperative or is it a moral hazard? Talk by Prof. Rohan Samarajiva and insights by Dr. Shanta Devarajan 

About the Speakers

Prof. Rohan Samarajiva – Prof. Rohan Samarajiva is founding Chair of LIRNEasia. He was CEO for eight years from its inception in 2004. He was appointed as Chair of the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka, the apex body for information and communication technology within the government of Sri Lanka in April 2018. He was one of its founding directors in 2003-05.

Dr. Shanta Devarajan is the Senior Director for Development Economics (DEC) at the World Bank. Previously, he was the Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Region. He was a director of the World Development Report 2004, Making Services Work for Poor People. Before 1991, he was on the faculty of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Born in Sri Lanka, Mr. Devarajan received his B.A. in mathematics from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

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