The Bold Voice of J&K

Khata Khat freebie politics will Fatafat reduce mighty India as non-entity

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The three musketeers of the Indian political theatre, (not to be confused with Amir Khan’s Three Idiots), gave a new dimension to electoral politics in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections by announcing ‘Khata Khat’ freebies, including cash doles for voting the candidates of their respective parties. No sooner, the elections were over, some women voters queued up outside the offices of various political parties to collect the first installment of promised ‘Rs 8,500’ assistance. The freebie culture has caught the imagination of the political parties after the landslide victory of Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi. This was followed in Karnataka, where too the promises garnered votes for the Congress and ousted the incumbent BJP government. It is different that the Karnataka Government is now requisitioning the services of private consultancies to generate revenues to meet the promises.
The freebie culture, unfortunately getting wider acceptance among the people, at a time when the nation is heading towards becoming third global economic power after reaching fifth in the ladder, is a bad omen for India, having potential to erode the fiscal discipline. Sustainable fiscal policies are bound to get a huge dent once populist measures get license to appease different segments of electors for winning elections. True, the freebies remain attractive allurements for the electorate, the long term implications on the country’s economic structure and stability can be horrendous.
Though the Narendra Modi Government at the Centre has eschewed the tendencies of switching over to freebie culture, some of the state governments are currently grappling with the fallout of the promises that have started undermining their key areas like development, implementation of welfare programmes, health services and education in particular. Despite that, some of the major political parties, even the one that has ruled the country for over six decades since independence, keep promising freebies, as this has emerged as an effective tool in electoral politics. This has led to a sort of competition with the players in the electoral fray in the race to offer more and more. The trend is more prevalent among the parties that know they cannot come to power but to oust the incumbent dispensation ‘unimaginable and impractical’ offers are being made to woo the voters, without understanding the fallout. Having held constitutional positions, the Indian politicians look to the other side from the fact that distribution of larger amounts on concessions without matching increase in productivity can lead to an increase in demand without corresponding supply thus giving rise to inflation. This scenario too is welcome for them as they get more power to pounce on the government on price rise. Consequently, this leads to anarchy and destabilization of the country’s economy.
The freebie musketeers have played spoilsport during the Lok Sabha elections and the country is paying the price in terms of a huge dent to the international image as a powerful nation with equally powerful leader. Their mission appears to be accomplished, unfortunately.

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