Ending Freebie Culture - Eastern Mirror
Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Ending Freebie Culture

By The Editorial Team Updated: Oct 05, 2022 11:25 pm

As freebies are often announced without considering the consequences of such lofty promises, the practice of luring the electorate through such means should be stopped. Freebies severely affect the economy by irrational usage of tax payer money and may eventually lead to its collapse, apart from eroding the confidence of the people in a democracy. Quite unfortunately, the reckless practice is now dominating Indian politics as unhealthy competition among political parties of announcing freebies to attract the electorate takes place throughout the year. Wrongly viewed as a shortcut to power, the disease has spread fast and at present has affected the entire political system such that even the Supreme Court of India (SC) has expressed its apprehensions on the matter. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed similar views. Recently, the Election Commission of India (ECI) asked political parties to provide authentic information to the voters to assess the financial viability of their election promises.

As only a thin line exists between election promises and freebies, it will not be easy to put an end to this practice until and unless some definitive steps such as full-implementation of the election manifesto is made mandatory. Presently Indian political manifestoes released by various political parties before the elections have become just another piece of paper meant to be forgotten after elections. As political parties have miserably failed to fulfil promises made before the elections, the disgruntled voters have stopped asking for the same. Such disillusionment does not bode well for political parties as frustration and anger among the electorate over non-fulfillment of electoral promises could potentially damage the present political setup of the country. Many countries in the world have experienced a similar turn of events, wherein a democratic set up has failed to meet the aspirations of the people or to address their genuine grievances.

To prevent India from witnessing such a development, it is time now to make each and every political party answerable to the electorate on the promises made to them. For example, often political parties promise waiver of farm loans to woo farmers. It is not wrong for a political party to make such promises provided it explains how it would ensure implementation of the promise with minimum negative economic impact. Similar explanations should be made mandatory in case of promises such as free electricity or water promises. Perhaps a law could be enacted to bar political parties from contesting elections without feasibility reports of their promises. It would put an end to the practice of promising the moon without considering the absurdity of the idea. There are many instances of political parties ditching the electorate in Indian politics and the practice cannot continue any longer. The time is ripe to bring an end to political freebies, removing this roadblock to development will ensure strengthening of India’s democracy.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Oct 05, 2022 11:25:26 pm