Political Parties' freebies - 'their impact on fiscal health is a serious issue', Chief justice of SC



When assembly elections are round the corner, political leaders of various parties across India  will be working overtime scratching their brain as to how to spread the dragnet and catch  swaths of voters to cast their vote in their  favor. Promises of dolling out freebees at the time of  election  are common and such a trend has already set a bad precedent and will put a strain on the economy. 

credit - Deccan Chronicle /

Free electricity, Free Phones, Free Laptops, cash payment, etc., during elections are promised by  the parties on their campaign trail and it is  part of a political game  with an ulterior motive  to get the good will of the people.   Since the public money is involved, dolling out freebie is a contentious issue and a petition was  filed before the the Supreme court asking  the judiciary to intervene and prevent the netas from making promises of plenty and freebies. Often such pre-election-time promises  made by netas  act as a publicity gimmick, knowing well that they  will not live up to what they have promised. It is a known fact that many promises will be put in the cold storage once the party is in power after election.  


credit - Deccan Chronicle 

Offering freebies  during elections  is equal to using cattle  as a  bait to catch  wild animals in the jungle as the hunters did in the past. It is a kind of bribe, a sort of  reward in exchange for the votes  and what matters is to win the election and be in the corridor of power.  It is a subtle way of bribing the people  to win elections at any cost. 

Even if the state has surplus  revenue,  the ruling government should think twice before offering freebies to people within the budgetary outlay. Offering free education,  heath services, etc. to the poor or marginalized people  may be reasonable  and it is  part of welfare schemes, and giving free electricity, free bus transport, free cooking gas, fans or cash does not come under the  welfare scheme. These  freebies are mere waste and such free offers will make  the people lethargic and  expect more from the government.    

Already more than half of the state revenue alone covers  the salary for the government employees who enjoy high salary and holydays. What about  contingency funds to meet emergencies like cyclone, flooding, etc. Many states have poor road conditions, poorly maintained  water canals  without desilting, poor health care centers  and damaged school buildings with poor toilet facilities. They need to be taken care of  first with periodic supervision by the government agency. 

The strain on the state finance will be much heavy if  subsides are offered when the state is experiencing weak fiscal strength. Instead of wasting money on freebies, if the government focuses on infrastructure developments, health care at village level, industries and agriculture it will go a long way and improve the quality of life.  Dolling out freebies means, several infrastructure projects  etc., will be at stake. The freebies concept  is not conducive to economic growth unless it is limited to only marginalized people.  The people should not depend on anything free from the the government.  Any reward without toil is unworthy.   ''Now, this freebies culture has been elevated to the level of art and now elections are only fought on this ground. If freebies is considered to be for welfare of the people, it'll lead to a disaster,"  dad Solicitor General Tushar Mehta before the SC  Chief Justice Ramana.

The RBI data showed total outstanding liabilities of the States as on March 31, 2021 is a staggering amount of Rs 59,89,360 crores Tax payers money should be spent by the netas to win the election and gain political power. In the absence financial discipline, burdened by uncleared loans the health of the economy will be in a shambles if the scourge of ''freebies'' offers from the political parties continue with out a check on it.