The SC’s recommendation for setting up an expert body to address the issue of ‘freebies’ shows how serious and firm the Apex court has been in recent days in dealing with this evil issue. The culture of freebies practised and perfected by various political parties in India, feigning as ‘populist schemes’, has largely indoctrinated the rural voters and has affected a well-rounded welfarist ideology. Dole-outs are nothing short of bribes, and that a government has no imperium to create private assets out of public funds. Free distribution of goods is not a substitute for a truer welfare model that seeks to achieve growth through enhancing productive resources in the economy. Conventional wisdom dictates that unbridled populism and widespread corruption are not only endemic to politics, but are antithetical to economic growth and human development. States in India need higher per capita income, not higher per capita usage of free goods and services. And, we need politicians and political parties to view us as ‘citizens’ and not just as ‘voters’ willing to reward those who offer maximum ‘muft’ schemes. The Election Commission of India, must prohibit political parties from announcing freebies in their election manifestos and treat them as a violation of the model code of conduct.
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