FREEBIES CULTURE IN INDIAN POLITICS
Author: Nipun, B.B.A.,LL.B from Geeta Institute of law
Freebies are items that are provided without charge or cost. In Indian politics, it has been rampant. During election season, it is a well-known and prevalent habit . Freebie politics has been an important aspect of electoral campaigns in recent years, and the situation is no different in the upcoming assembly elections in five states: Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab, and Manipur.
Freebies are one of the most profitable ways for political parties to entice voters. Freebies were offered by both the Congress and the BJP in the 2019 general election. There has been a shift in the way freebies are distributed. Free water, free power, and free health care are no longer attractive.
The word “freebie” is not new in politics, although it has become fashionable in recent years. During the previous 20 years, India has undergone various developments in several fields. Hinduism and Islam are the two main cornerstones of Indian politics. Politicians do not gain votes from voters based on work done or challenges facing the country such as employment, inflation, poverty, or government work done during their time period.
Now, let’s talk about the culture of freebies. First and foremost, the question arises in the minds of ordinary people: what does it mean? Freebie culture is simply defined as giving something to individuals who are in desperate need without charging them any money. Our political parties, on the other hand, are doing it solely to obtain votes from voters. It is solely done to entice voters to vote for them. Such pledges are prevalent throughout political campaigns.
Yes, it is undoubtedly beneficial if the government provides free education or health care to all citizens. It will strengthen the fundamental framework of our society, yet political parties prefer to give people free tablets, cellphones, and scotities instead.
During the election campaign in Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party promised to distribute 300 free units of energy to everyone. This results in the party’s victory, or other factors may be at play. In Delhi, the ruling party follows a similar policy. However, the Haryana government is offering free iPads to students for educational purposes. If used properly, this is a beneficial thing. All ladies who have completed their 12th grade will receive a free scooty from the state government of Uttar Pradesh. The Bihar government is offering sewing machines to every women so that they can earn a living. The government has taken a positive move.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF FREEBIE’S
The impacts of the freebie culture on the country are discussed:
These types of activities have a negative impact on the country, our economy, and our inhabitants. Now go over each one in detail :-
Burden on economy: giving away free things unnecessarily can be a burden and have a negative impact on our economy. Demand and supply will be negatively affected.
Inefficient resource use: by providing free resources such as electricity, people may become complacent in their use. They will use needlessly even when it is not required. This will result in inefficient use of the resources available to us.
3. People will become lazy: If everything is provided for free, people will become lazy because they will not work and will believe that the government will provide them with everything. They will become completely reliant on the government for everything.
4. Leading the country to famine: Because the government gives people free things, their treasury will be depleted, potentially leading to famine. Sri Lanka is an example of a country that, despite its problems, does not distribute free goods to its citizens.
5. Reduces people’s productivity: If a person receives free goods from the government, he or she will either not work or will work less.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF FREEBIE
Now we’ll look at some of the advantages of the freebies culture:
1. Facilitates growth: Some studies show that when a government provides things to people and spends money on them, the country grows. If a government spends money on health and education, for instance. In the near future, this will reveal the benefits.
2.Promotes Industry: States such as Tamil Nadu and Bihar are well-known for providing sewing machines, saris, and bicycles to women, but they do so with budget funds, boosting industry sales.
3. Important for meeting expectations: Some states in India, such as Bihar and Jharkhand, are underdeveloped, but the people there meet all of their expectations. As a result of their lack of education, they rely entirely on the government.
4. Assists countries with a lower level of development and a higher proportion of the population living in poverty, such freebies have become necessary to provide for the people’s upliftment.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST FREEBIE
Freebies erode the fundamental foundation of macroeconomic stability, freebie politics influences expenditure priorities, and outlays remain centred on subsidies of some kind.
Impact on States’ Fiscal Situation: Freebies have an impact on the public purse, as most Indian states are in dire financial straits with limited revenue resources.States’ finances will deteriorate if money is spent on ostensibly political purposes.
Free and Fair Election: Before elections, promises of irrational freebies from public funds sway voters, disrupt the level playing field, and taint the election process.It’s the equivalent as paying voters in terms of unethical behaviour.
Diverting Resources Away from Environmental and Sustainable Growth, Renewable Energy, and More Efficient Public Transportation Systems: When freebies involve giving away free power, or a set amount of free power, water, or other consumer products, resources are diverted away from environmental and sustainable growth, renewable energy, and more efficient public transportation systems.
It is beneficial to have a gratis culture if it is used properly. It must be used for individuals who are in desperate need of basic necessities. It must not be used by political parties in a way that lowers election competition between them. Elections must be held in a free and fair manner in order to benefit society and to assist the needy.