UN proposes basic income for more than 3rd of global population

By Mario Villar

United Nations, Jul 23 (efe-epa).- The United Nations proposed on Thursday the introduction of a basic income for 2.7 billion people, more than a third of the global population, to help combat the pandemic.

The United Nations Development Programme proposed the immediate introduction of a temporary basic income for people living below or close to the poverty line.

This resource would allow the population in poorer countries to comply with the quarantines and social distancing measures needed to contain the advance of Covid-19, according to the UNDP.

In a report published Thursday, the UN agency calculated that it would cost from about $199 billion a month to provide a basic income to 2.7 billion people in a total of 132 countries.

It said the measure is “feasible and urgently needed” as the outbreak is spreading at a rate of more than 1.5 million new cases a week.

UNDP administrator Achim Steiner said in a statement: “Unprecedented times call for unprecedented social and economic measures.

“Introducing a temporary basic income for the world’s poorest people has emerged as one option. This might have seemed impossible just a few months ago.”

The report noted that several countries have already opted for this type of action, including Spain and Togo, where the government has distributed $19.5 million to 12 percent of its population.

Many other countries have extended benefits already offered by their social protection systems but many of the most vulnerable citizens are outside these systems, such as informal workers and unpaid or undocumented immigrants.

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