The “architects” of the incitement of citizen voters to obtain gifts in return, having experimented with it in the electoral laboratory of a few states of the country in one or another form, of course, resulted in the victory of elections by such parties, but in the short term it has turned these states into a debt trap. The continuation of this “deal” or bargain accentuates the negative impact on the widening and deepening of this trap. In the long term, it depends on the recipients’ ability and willingness to work hard and probably sincerely. This is a kind of clumsy corruption with far-reaching consequences and should also be seen in this context. After all, why for free, what for free, who to pay for this “free” and its cost, is a serious question that should be seriously considered by the citizens of the country.
On the other hand, to brag that “our government” collects no taxes is to foster this corruption simply so as not to displease the voters, while those who cannot escape it or pay honestly suffer an emotional setback that all what was given for free was never out of the pocket of the political leaders but out of the pocket of the taxpayers. Electricity has been conveniently and easily turned into the proverbial “whip boy” by those politicians to whom basic economic principles appear perhaps redundant and absolutely non-optional, if not entirely superfluous. Electricity, whose cost of production as well as related transmission and infrastructure costs are increasing day by day, tops the list of freebies and competition exists among partisan politicians who advocate freebies as a way to achieve the seat of government to find out who would do it. to offer the extent of electricity to voters deemed to be “still poor” without paying the cost by them.
Thus, the fundamental variables of the economy and the economic system plunge into a cycle of arrhythmia and can lead to putting on hold the rhyme and pace of economic development of such a state/UT of the country. The condition of many states like Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh etc. is that they have the highest debt burden in India and these states account for half of the total. expenditure by all the state governments assembled in India. The question remains as to who was going to fund the political luxuries and royalties of these politicians employing the pop lollipop of free electricity, monthly financial ex gratia payments to hundreds of thousands of people, free bus rides, free water, free metro/train travel, free medical facilities, free education, free ration and the list is endless. This amounts to muzzling almost all vital channels of economic development, improving infrastructure, and thwarting and suspending the introduction and implementation of various urgent projects.
There is, in the process, and what usually ensues, pressure on the central government to release funds to fund the cost of the gifts and if they don’t get as much as requested then they become victim of negligence and discrimination by these gifts that sponsor political leaders one resorts to. This not only generates avoidable political waste, clamor and uproar, but also an appetizing way for others to join in this “game” to win the election. A vicious circle is about to be created in the country if it is not regulated and stopped immediately. India’s Supreme Court is hearing PILs filed against the practice and therefore has called the gifts ‘serious’ and ‘irrational’ and asked the central government why they are reluctant to take a stand on the matter.
Since the Finance Committee plays a vital role in assessing the state of the finances of the Union and the State governments and giving recommendations on the distribution of tax revenue between the Union and the States and between the States themselves and that it is a constitutional body, can impose certain restraints on these hard-earned income luxuries. Not only that, Electoral Commission of India can penalize such political parties and even prohibit contestation of elections by such candidates based mainly on such promises or can regulate more and more such reliance like on spending limit for election campaigns. The most powerful tool and antidote against this opium is in the hands of the legislators themselves who make laws in Parliament against this practice. The question about this “golden” option is who will ring the cat because, perhaps, all lawmakers are in unison on issues affecting “all of them”. We therefore believe that the true holders of sovereign power being the voters of this country alone can end this practice by saying a big “no” and rightfully rejecting these “freebies” promising politicians while casting their precious vote.