DailyPost 2140

”We must think about the taxpayers and the national economy. To what extent can the courts regulate given its constitutional limitations?” lamented Supreme Court. Why it so happens that what is so visibly naked to human eye has been missing the attention of the political masters for decades? Is it worthwhile to have a political economy where the taxpayer job is only to pay taxes, and it presumed that it would be put to good use? What impact it has on the national economy has never been their concern? How far can this go and whose purpose does it serve directly are the questions plaguing the nation right in its face.

The freebie culture has created parties and leaders becoming cult themselves. It is here to stay. It is the bull’s eye of Indian electoral democracy. Recent electoral battles have been the battle for freebies. It is easiest way to sustain politics and be the messiah of the poor without literally doing nothing. What the political parties / leaders do is to repackage the taxpayer’s money in a gift wrap and pass it across to the beneficiary in the terms to food, goods, services, monetary help on certain occasions and even direct money transfer.

Though going from the government side, it is touted as the achievement of the party and the leader. Allegiance is the quid pro quo of the game. No party have thought it worthwhile to collate all the freebies both the states and at the center and study its impact on the national economy. We don’t even know the depth of disease, then how can we have any idea to sort it out. Freebie is a political culture with very clear-cut gains, and so there is a serious apprehension that if it would never be discussed in the parliament. The fact of life is that anything politically inconvenient would not see the light of the day in legislatures or in the executive administration of this country.

The election commission restricts itself to the announcements after polls are declared, candidates / party expenditure and plays it executive job to conduct free and fair polls. Control over freebies is in nobody’s job responsibility. It is free for all, as well all know. The worst part is that it is on whims and fancies and not on well thought out and researched economic need and rationale and the capability to sustain. Our economy is heading towards disaster is another forewarning. The state of finances of the states is no secret. It has to be set right. An expert panel is more than welcome. At least we will know the disease in its entirety. Is government not an intelligent economic machine to manage receipts and expenditure, in the interest of the long term financial health of the nation?

Sanjay Sahay

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