Parties are contesting elections, everyone is vying for votes, speeches are laden with promises, hope, dreams, and aspirations, can be easily heard all during the day. It’s the time to woo the common masses, and if you are in Tamil Nadu, the wooing gets tough and reaches an epic level.
Since 2006, both the rival parties in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK and DMK, have unified under one pretext, the distribution of freebies promised in the manifestos. And, obviously, the revenue for which is withdrawn from the public funds. What good are the taxes, if not for gift distribution by the parties? Who really wants roads without any potholes, when you are getting mixers, grinders and things of the sort in return?
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa announced a number of promises while releasing her party AIADMK’s manifesto ahead of the state assembly elections scheduled for May 16. Appealing to the common mass so as to get her party into power, Jayalalithaa or Amma as her supporters like to call her highlighted the list of schemes she is most likely to implement after coming to power.
Hundred units of free power for households every two months, 50 per cent subsidy for women to buy scooters, free laptops with Internet for students in Class 11 and Class 12, eight grams of gold for women getting married, free cellphones for all ration-card holders, Rs 18,000 as maternity assistance, maternity leave for nine months and Rs 40,000 crore in loans for farmers from 2016-2021, and much more would be graciously granted to the voters.
“A mother knows the need of her children. You will be getting many more schemes and services during my government”, that is the motto Amma likes to abide by. Well, envy grips me as I read about the schemes she is set to offer, but at what costs?
Apparently, the debt for Tamil Nadu has reportedly gone up by 80% in the last five years and has swallowed itself into a revenue deficit. Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TNGEDCO) is running at a debt of Rs 80,000 crore, courtesy to the ‘freebie culture’ that is fashionably followed in the state.
Supreme Court, in 2013, ruled that promises made by political parties in their manifestos could not be constructed as ‘corrupt practice’. However, one cannot deny the influence the freebies inflict on the people of various walks of the society.
Such culture doesn’t only create false hopes among the masses, but also deteriorate the revenue of the state which could be used in case of emergency and for far more pressing needs.
Instead of materialistically satisfying the voters, the leaders should start implementing schemes that are blatantly ignored in the corrupt and deceiving world of politics. Why not provide free education for kids? Why not implement schemes that would provide jobs to the unemployed? Why not improve the condition of state-run hospitals?
Well, voters are nothing but state-toyed individuals who can be pampered for the short run, but not adhered to for the long one.