The Freebie Culture

Please refer to an article about “The Controversy over Freebies…” by Mr. Abdul Bari Masoud vide issue of Radiance of 27 August, 2022. It is a matter of national concern about the culture of electoral freebies in the country’s political set-up which is gaining momentum day by day.

In a representative, multiparty democracy, people’s participation in the electoral process, their interaction with the government, and public opinion play a crucial role in its success. But in the absence of good governance and real empowerment, politicians attempt to satisfy the immediate needs of the people. Under the garb of welfare measures, they announce a host of catchy and hyper sops to woo the electorate. Almost all political parties justify this practice on the pretext of socio-economic upliftment of the downtrodden, notwithstanding its multiple adverse effects.

Besides overburdening the public exchequer and stultifying the growth of the state, unbridled popular culture de-politicises the gullible electorate and violates the sanctity of the electoral process. Voters lose their moral right to choose the right candidates and question their elected representatives, thus making a mockery of participatory democracy.

Interestingly, this complicated issue has once again engaged the attention of the Supreme Court. In one of its earlier judgments, the apex court had stated that electoral freebies were not anti-Constitutional but the provision of irrational freebies was a serious economic issue.

Hearing a PIL filed in the middle of political sparring over PM Modi’s “revadi culture” jibe to deride parties offering poll-eve freebies last month, the court has categorically reiterated that freebies should not be confused with genuine public welfare measures aimed at fulfilling constitutional mandates and that it will be anti-democratic to prevent parties from making poll-promises to voters.

The court has further suggested the setting up of an expert committee comprising representatives of the government as well as organisations like NITI Aayog, Finance Commission of India, the Law Commission, Reserve Bank of India, ECI, Opposition, etc. to examine and resolve the complex issue after thorough debate and discussion.

It is time to regulate freebies and find the right way of spending taxpayers’ money on developmental works. The elected governments are constitutionally bound to provide basic healthcare, affordable quality education, means of livelihood and essential services like water, electricity and housing so that people can live a decent and dignified life.

D S Kang

Hoshiarpur

Punjab

The Trend is Extremely Harmful

The act of applying chandan on the foreheads of those convicted of heinous crimes narrates aloud of profound aspiration, from a certain quarter to see “respected wolves” roaming free in the human society, thanks to the venom spray into the minds.

It doesn’t mean tearing up of women dignity, shedding innocent blood, disregarding the existence of people, and the like crimes are required on broad scale. But simply means, these all to be granted as a fate for a ‘certain’ and ‘other’ class of people residing on same soil. Upon whom the respect (according to their perception) is restricted. Atop of that the unimaginable support of ‘crime’ even with tilak and, very dangerously with ‘national flag’ in hands, are nothing but a warning bell to departure of civilization from the grip of civilians. From Kathua, from Unnao, from Hathras and now from Gujarat, the aforesaid massage went already on high decibels to the entire world. Though the commitment of inclusion of everyone into the ambit of pluralism is in the air, but the actual exhortation of the very commitment on the surface doesn’t require a lab to be proven by a rocket science. It’s evidently clear that the otherization of a pin-pointed group is on rampant by every method possible.

Though, on the making of this beloved nation, everyone played his role sincerely and with the depths of hearts, thus no one has a right to acquire his/her share in maximum and leave the same for another follow, minimising at micro level.

The very trend is extremely harmful as well as hazardous for the respective society. Now, we must catch the hands of those who have a sinister plan to ruin the whole civilisation with the weapon of hatred. Failure in this regard would be considered next to, if not willingly but necessarily, a soft consent to this ugly design.

Rizwanul Haque

Azad Nagar, Jamshedpur

Jharkhand

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