FINANCIALLY DISENFRANCHISED – THE FATE OF POLITICAL DEMOCRACY
How many of us would agree with the nature spending and the results thereof of public funds in post independent history? Justice social, economic and political has been enshrined in the preamble itself, as the definitive vision and mission of the Indian state. Economic justice, if one may say, doesn’t seem to be elaborated but the general understanding you can gain, while going through the constitution. Does it mean some sort of intangible economic equality being provided, which can keep changing from one regime to the other. Is universal adult suffrage, the famed right to vote, the only benefit of democracy? Having cast your ballot have you accepted to be financially disenfranchised? Have you any role in the financial well-being of this country and does you voice count?
How do the elected representatives represent the financial interests of their constituents? Do they even know that this is one of their mandated responsibilities? If financial disenfranchisement is the fate of political democracy, then how would economic justice be delivered? With most of our elected representatives either not knowing or having no interest in the financial well-being or financial administration of the nation, we have landed in an economic plight, with the vast majority of the population being hand to mouth and even worse on government ration to be alive. This is the economic reality of a state which was blessed with full political equality since its inception.
The alienation of the Indian masses and their elected representatives in the financial administration of the country has now been complete. It has reached an extent that the masses have accepted to be at the receiving end of the government largesse, as if they have created the financial resources. It is their magnanimity and philanthropy that we are getting whatever we do. From cutting taxes to doles is their divine right and so are the increases. The exact fate of the state exchequer remains unknown. Budget is a document which needs to be influenced by the so to say influential economic interests / lobbyists and the rest of the country can keep voting till the time cows come home.
While the country can keep deciding on its receipts and expenditure, the common man is totally unsure of his income and expenditure. Is this democracy he has bargained for? Do they have any role to play in the quantum of advertisements being dished to them, for no reason, at humongous cost? Can this ever have their consent? The brokers of democracy decide on that. We still have battles over the poverty line? Nobody knows what all constitutes the basket of decent living and what quantum of income can maintain that. The government becomes the custodian of taxes, expenditure, budget, sales, purchase, pricing, loans etc as a single custodian of all financial knowledge, practice and economic welfare. Not arranging for a poor man’s living (income) commensurate with the minimum human living, not balancing different elements of development and leaving education and health to our fate is total financial disenfranchisement.
THE RULING CLASS NEEDS TO PROVIDE THE REAL LIFE CONNECTION BETWEEN POLITICAL DEMOCRACY AND ECONOMIC WELL BEING.