Mumbai, Jan. 11 -- Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the union government is reportedly considering income support for farmers to alleviate agricultural distress and, ultimately, secure the rural vote. A new research paper Moizza Binat Sar of the Overseas Development Institute, a UK-based think tank, suggests that such a cash-transfer initiative could be a big vote-winner.

Analysing cash transfer programmes in Brazil, Pakistan and the Philippines, Sar finds that the cash transfer schemes generated political returns for leaders in all three countries, and helped them consolidate their voter base. In these countries, cash transfers were launched in response to an economic and political crisis.

For instance, in Pakistan, the Benazir I...