Freebie Culture : Come election time or leading up to the much anticipated event, the nation invariably witnesses populism or inducements in the form of welfare schemes and free dole-outs. It is an established fact that people by now tend to anticipate well disguised and not so well disguised dole-outs. Politicians of all hues and cries, cutting across party affiliations, compete against each other in doling out freebies. Party manifestos brazenly proclaim the same in colourful detail.
• Financial prudency and practical feasibility scarcely catches due considerations while focus entirely shifts on inducements. Consolidating vote-bank alone assumes paramount importance whereas rest all gets relegated to inconsequential utterings. Right from subsidies on ration / electricity, free cycles, mopeds, laptops, Televisions, mixer-grinders, financial awards / rewards, waving of debts / bad loans, various populist schemes aimed at different sections of the society – handouts are unrestricted and innumerable.
• How far adopting such an approach is going to be beneficial for the wellbeing of the nation as a whole is left to anybody’s imagination. Does doling-out freebies indeed influence forward march of the nation? Definitely open for long scrutiny and intense debate. Governments are expected to keep lower strata of the society in mind to ensure equitable justice is meted out vis-à-vis creating opportunities to provision level-playing field for all and sundry. Any pertinent issue could be dissected from different angels and so is the case with freebies. Economists and intelligentsia might scoff at the very idea as unsound economic stratagem. However, deprived and socially downtrodden might welcome the same with glee.
This being the case, what should be the way forward then? I strongly feel the following:
• Extending illogical and financially burdensome schemes in the guise of elevating backwardness defies economic jurisprudence. Arguments could be put forth by any quintessential economist(s) / financial masters that the focus should be on to ensure progression of individual and / or of collective self-dependency of individuals, encouraging entrepreneurial skill sets, spreading reach of quality education – primary & higher, avenues to set up small and medium enterprises, disbursal of loans for ease of starting viable businesses – including farm & agricultural sectors – are some such measures that would impact positively on the nation building tasks.
• Further arguments could be on the lines of empowering / strengthening socially disadvantaged populace by assiduously following up on the mentioned strategies and improvising perpetually should be the way forward. Ultimate aim is to make the society self-sufficient and independent without looking up for state sponsored largesse. On the other hand, people taking up cudgels on behalf of socially deprived
• Our country enjoys definite demographic advantages not only because of the sheer size and population but also diversity of market-driven opportunities waiting to be explored fully. Come to think of it, in this age of mind-blowing technological advancement, dynamic inventions, ably propped up by state sponsored self-development avenues waiting to be explored to its full extent – resorting to dole outs critically curbs the demographic dividends that our country is so vastly endowed with. This being the case, the government should stop making people dependent on freebies and concentrate on efforts to empower individual(s) to emerge self-dependent.