Will Delhi Become Victim of Freebie Culture Yet Again?

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had won the 2013 and 2015 Delhi Assembly elections on the plank of populist measures such as free water, electricity, WiFi, medical care, etc to people of the low-income group. This time around, it is offering these free essential services to people of not only the low-income group but also the middle and high-income income groups. In addition, the AAP is also offering absolutely free rides on city buses and metro for all women. What is more, all-paid pilgrimages have been added to the list of freebies! These populist measures were announced barely six months ahead of the elections due in February 2020. A clever ploy indeed to discourage people from holding the government responsible for its failures in its current tenure!

Vote Bank

The freebies are sops aimed at lulling the electorate into a false sense of euphoria and complacency and making them believe that they are all living happily under a people-friendly government. The measures are also intended to assuage the people’s feeling of resentment against the government. AAP’s strategy is to sweep the government’s failure connected with addressing the larger issues under the carpet of populist measures. By bringing more and more sections of the electorate under the net of freebies, the AAP is trying to create a larger vote bank that would be beholden to it. If this is not vote bank politics, then what is it?

Freebies and Corruption

The freebie culture is a direct offshoot of corruption in politics. It is a major fault line in our system of governance where corruption in public life has been rampant. The more the exposure to freebies, less likely would be the outrage of the people to corruption in high places. Parties give away sops to the people, albeit in the name of the government to wangle off a quid pro arrangement for them to queer the pitch. To call a spade a spade, politicians garner votes with freebies just as they would purchase votes with cash if only law would allow them. Suffice it to say irregular governmental practices breed political corruption.

People are intelligent enough to realise that nothing comes free, and the name freebies is a misnomer. India is not the kind of welfare state where any essential service or public utility is provided free by the government as an accepted norm. In Delhi, transport services are operated under a staggering shortfall of credit borne by the government. Power generation companies have to be paid not with promises of good governance but with money which is in short supply. This necessitates the government to seek loans from financial institutions which must be repaid with interest in good time. No government could pay back loans without generating enough revenue by increasing taxes. If it is not done by the present government, the future governments would have to bear the burden.

Beyond Comprehension

Besides, why offer free rides by public transport only for one section of the society, namely women? To make commuting free for students or the members of the economically vulnerable sections of the society could be termed a welfare measure and a just cause. However, to make it free for the entire spectrum of women, including those who can afford to pay for travel, is really difficult to comprehend. Why should the government bear the expenditure of a pilgrimage by individual members of the society is another area of bemusement.

Furthermore, diverting scarce revenues and resources from better and more important areas of public expenditure for narrow political gains is neither desirable nor justifiable. Infrastructure development, improving sanitary conditions, increasing health benefits, making Delhi a safer city for people of all walks of life and fighting environmental pollution  are some of the areas that cry for more financial outlays and concerted action from the government. These areas of development cannot be overlooked for building vote banks, especially not by a party which boasts that it would lift civic management of Delhi and make it comparable to that of London!

The system of democracy is founded on the bedrock of the cynical but pragmatic concept of it being the best, but not the perfect, of all the forms of governance available to humanity. It is widely believed that politics is the last refuge of a scoundrel. How else could one explain the rather all-time fashionable practice of the lambasting of politicians for dabbling in corrupt practices, albeit in the name of serving the nation? That in a democracy, people get the government they deserve, and they deserve what they get is a popular postulation to which people across the world subscribe irrespective of their nationality.

It is evident that it is the combined application of the politicians and the people that makes the political system either a success or a failure. It would, therefore, be flagrantly unfair to blame the politicians alone for the flaws and failures in the system. Why would people vote for a bunch of politicians in preference to another set of them unless they are convinced that it is for their own good? Nevertheless, when a voter is enamoured by the motto of a party to cleanse a system and then gets carried away by its promises to give him free electricity, water and WiFi if returned to power, what does the scenario reflect?

Enticing with Freebies 

The appearance of AAP on the political scene was avowedly inspired by the movement of Anna Hazare who had launched it in 2011 for the eradication of corruption from the public sphere of life and to bring transparency in governance. Elimination of corruption is indeed a laudable idea, and there could be no disputing the need for all democratic forces to join forces to achieve this goal. But the idea of enticing voters by promises of freebies does not correlate with a party’s lofty idea of eradication of corruption.

Even if one were to argue that the end justifies the means, the idea of using freebies as a launchpad to install a stable and clean government is so full of holes that the plan is simply not sustainable. There is no case for using up the taxpayer’s money for doling out sops which are non-productive in nature. The practice could prove infectious and lead to unhealthy competition among rival political parties that may end up trying to outwit each other in one-upmanship. Eventually, the vicious circle would likely end up as a millstone around the neck of the taxpayer.

Say No to Freebies

It is hardly realistic to expect the political parties to tire of the freebie culture and change their game plan. It is no different than expecting a leopard to change its spots. Even a party which takes pride in having a vision for Delhi has to play along the game of realpolitik. It is entirely in the realm of the people’s sagacity to see through the futility of the freebie culture and stake claim for the rightful glory of the national capital’s stature for Delhi.

The article “Will Delhi Become Victim of Freebie Culture Yet Again?” published in magazine Uday India in January 04, 2020 English edition)

81 thoughts on “Will Delhi Become Victim of Freebie Culture Yet Again?

  1. Shiva Burman

    The subject of statehood of Delhi has been forgotten and now all emphasis is on how to lure voters through free services. Mohalla clinics have been a failed exercise and there is visible corruption at all levels.

    Reply
  2. Pragati Bansal

    Criticism of AAP government in Delhi is unfounded on many grounds. They have even started free coaching for students aspiring for engineering and other disciplines. Hospital services are now better.

    Reply
  3. Bobby Thalackal

    AAP is the perfect example of a party that plays on populism. Delhi is a region with high literacy and high understanding of political issues. People will reject the idea of freebies and support BJP this time.

    Reply
  4. Ravi Kumar

    Prudence says that the government should earn when it gives away freebies. How can Delhi government give free metro and bus rides to all women without hampering the quality of these services.

    Reply
  5. Gaurav Bajpai

    It is only for those people who use less water and electricity that the bills are not to be paid. For moderate and high consumption the bill are so massive that they are pinching the people of Delhi.

    Reply
  6. Narayan Sawant

    Kejriwal has always said that police should be under Delhi government. But if this truly happens, how will the state police handle protests like CAA without being prejudiced?

    Reply
  7. Akshay Bhasarkar

    The last Delhi elections were on an entirely different issue. People were yet to test both Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal. Now that they have served for a term, it will be difficult for AAP to convince voters.

    Reply
  8. Meenu Verma

    The political party which began with the promise of giving a corruption-free government in the state has many of its legislators being probed for graft cases. AAP has lost its moral standing.

    Reply
  9. Hiren Shah

    The Aam Aadmi Party isnt sure of its own ideology. Sometimes they back the union government, for example in the case of Citizenship Amendment Act, and on other instances they oppose them.

    Reply
  10. Kamal Tej

    No administration can survive for long on a culture of distributing things for free. How can the people of Delhi use resources and not pay for them? The entire structure will collapse one day and will hurt residents.

    Reply
  11. Ajinkya Mali

    Thanks for your marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back very soon. I want to encourage you continue your great writing, have a nice evening!

    Reply
  12. Hetram Kumawat

    I wanted to thank you for this fantastic read.. I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you book marked to check out new stuff you post

    Reply
  13. Sudhir panchal

    it is an amazing piece of writing designed for all the online visitors. they will get benefit from it I am sure.

    Reply
  14. Rohit Kabdwal

    it is hard to come by well-informed people on this subject, but you seem like you know what You are talking about. Thanks

    Reply
  15. Kevin baby

    Hello. I simply want to give you a huge thumbs up for the great info you have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your site for more soon.

    Reply
  16. Saeed Rahman

    I was extremely pleased to find this web site. I need to to thank you for ones time due to this wonderful read.. I definitely really liked every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to look at new information on your website.

    Reply
  17. Gagandeep kaur

    If some one wishes to be updated with most recent technologies therefore he must be pay a quick visit this site and be up to date all the time.

    Reply
  18. Utsav Thakur

    I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet viewers, its really really pleasant article on building up new weblog.

    Reply
  19. Somasekhar K

    Way cool. Some very valid points. I appreciate you penning this write-up and the rest of the site is also very good.

    Reply
  20. Ralu Rajan madathil

    This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks.

    Reply
  21. Mukund Kantariya

    Thanks for the marvelous posting. I genuinely enjoyed reading it, you are a great author. I will always bookmark your blog and will come back very soon. I want to encourage that you continue your great work,have a nice day.

    Reply
  22. Aastha Rai

    It is hard to find experienced people for this subject, but you seem like you know what you are talking about.

    Reply
  23. R Ravi chandran

    Great blog you have got here.. it is difficult to find high quality writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate people like you. Take care..

    Reply
  24. Sunil Alexander

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

    Reply
  25. Shameem Hameed

    Thank you, I have just been looking for info about this subject for ages and yours is the best I have found out till now.

    Reply
  26. Asif Jalal

    Hello, its my first time to commenting any post. But I could not stop myself from commenting on reading through such a sensible piece of writing.

    Reply
  27. Nishant Jairath

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not fail me as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, nonetheless I actually thought you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you weren’t too busy seeking attention.

    Reply
  28. DURGESH GANGAL

    Thanks for that, the site looks fantastic and I am sure will be a great service to both locals and visitors.

    Reply
  29. Dhruv Gairola

    Great web site you have got here.. it is difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you. Take care..

    Reply
  30. Abhijith abas

    Hi there everyone, it is my first go to see at this site, and piece of writing is genuinely fruitful in favor of me, keep up posting these types of content.

    Reply
  31. Aakash rathod

    Hi there to every one, it is in fact a fastidious for me to go to see this website, it includes important Information.

    Reply
  32. Suparna Sengupta

    Can I just say what a relief to discover someone that actually understands what they are talking about over the internet. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people really need to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you aren’t more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.

    Reply
  33. Dhruv Kachari

    I recently had a good fortune of reading your article it is really well written with updated information. I will be returning here often now.

    Reply
  34. Susheel Jachak

    The site looks absolutely fantastic. Well done to all involved. Very professional & the navigation is great too. Cheers.

    Reply
  35. Lalit indoria

    The website is bright, clean, quick, easily navigable and all the links seem to work well. Moreover, the contents here in blog shape is really wonderful.

    Reply
  36. Saamarth Gupta

    I just had to drop you a line to let you know that John and I think that the website is BRILLIANT……………………… Well done.

    Reply
  37. TUSHAR SAHU

    This excellent website really has all the info I wanted concerning this subject and did not know who to ask.

    Reply
  38. Mayur Agarwal

    I wish to say that this article is amazing, nice written and come with approximately all important infos. I would like to see more posts like this .

    Reply
  39. Ashish Khalkho

    Quality articles or reviews is the key to attract the users to go to see the web site, that is what this web page is providing.

    Reply
  40. Sean Rodrigues

    I wish to state my complements to the hard work you have done to incorporate so much of detail about every information.

    Reply
  41. Jagannath Ac

    I visit daily a few web sites and sites to read articles or reviews, however this blog provides feature based articles.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *