The real achievement of our robust and functional democracy has been to establish populism as a tool of state policy, which is getting concertized with every single passing election. The most fascinating part of the whole story is that it goes in the name of the head of the government and that is touted as a great achievement. It is seen as a great gift of the leader to the masses. Many leaders have become very famous on that count and could fight the dirty political battles on that strength. Today also we have leaders who have been ruling for decades, even without a whimper based on populist measures. We can safely term it as democratic populism; populist democracy might have a different connotation.
Leaders are known by their style of populism, might be this is the only differentiator we are left with, in a world which has completely transformed in the last two decades. They have been able to keep most parts of the country and population in this well calibrated approach to life and living. Having known this system only, what more can they aspire of. Only yesterday we saw a TV channel showing a comparative table of the populist measures, being announced in a state on the verge of elections. The addiction to free and near free requirements being delivered by the governments can propel growth or human development,; needs to be answered or does it help in creating a cesspool of voters, which any political party can fish into.
Cash on delivery has been a great innovation in India and has caught on like wildfire and has been the ecommerce game changer. In the very same manner, though not an analogy, cash transfer to the beneficiary’s bank account has become both a social development and a financial management model. It has also become a model which provides integrity and so is corruption free. Looking from a different angle, the taxpayer’s money is being channelized to the beneficiaries through the financial tool called government. The humongous development machinery in reality is tasked with using the funds for economic development of the masses through schemes and projects which bring big changes to their existence and have ten / twenty years growth window milestones.
Being paid for being a citizen of this country and no demonstrated signs of opportunities of earning and development being provided cannot take us places. People get accustomed to the doles and then are not interested in working. The killer instinct to improve one’s life gets diluted. Added to that performance of governmental rural educational infrastructure leaves nothing to doubt. Food is not an incentive, it has become the education. Which means the huge expenditure of non-delivering education is also a social service to the teachers and those employed in this sector. Quality sans horizontal extension of education is another type of populism. What should we term the health infrastructure as experienced during the second COVID-19, nobody knows. The Human Development Index speaks it all.
CAN MANAGING POPULISM, CREATING MASS SCALE HEALTHY & USEFUL HUMAN RESOURCES AND PROPELLING GROWTH HAPPEN SIMULTANEOUSLY?