Poll Freebies and their Consequences, the Supreme Court on Wednesday enquired about the Union government, NITI Aayog, RBI, Finance Commission, Law Commission, etc on measures to curb freebies.
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court N V Ramana asked the government, “Why are you hesitating to take a stand? You take a stand, and then we will decide whether these freebies are to be continued or not,” the Bench had earlier said on July 26.
The aim of the inquiry was to discover the ways in which the freebies issue can be resolved especially during elections.
To which the representative on behalf of the Centre replied that have devastated the economy of the country. The Supreme Court replied that every party benefits from it and that it’s not interested in naming a single one.
The issue began to be discussed after the PIL filed by Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. In his PIL, he asked the Supreme Court to seek a ban on freebies to lure voters and also demanded the Election Commission ban such parties from elections.
“Unless some mechanism is put in place, political parties would try to buy out the voters by hook or by crook as their aim is only to ascend to power,” he submitted.
The Supreme Court asked the Union Government to form a composite committee to tackle such an issue.
The bench led by Ramana said that freebies by the political parties especially during elections that if they are voted to power, would make one or other item free. The SC said it to be a “severe economic issue” and that everyone should participate in the debate including “taxpayers and beneficiaries”.
“ These days everyone wants freebies. Not a single political party will allow freebies to be taken away…We take the side of the ordinary people, the downtrodden. Their welfare has to be taken care of. We are looking at the national economic well-being,” the CJI said.
Bad Effects of Poll Freebies
Especially during elections, freebies are given by political parties to lure the voters.
If we talk about any recent government giving freebies, the Aam Aadmi Party in 2015 gave freebies to the public. Freebies were given in the form of free electricity, water, and bus travel to woo the voters. Because of this, they also came into power with a large number of votes.
Also, following the same system, the Aam Aadmi Party came into power again in Punjab. It promised the citizens to give 300 units of electricity free & provide Rs 1,000 per month to each woman aged 18 years and above.
These promises come at a time when the state is already facing a debt burden of Rs 2.82 lakh crore. The government didn’t stop here as another promise that no tax will be imposed if voted to power was announced.
That’s the reason why Punjab CM Bhagwat Mann in his first ever meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought Rs. 50,000 Crore financial package for Punjab.
This data in itself speaks volumes of the tragedy caused by the freebies culture in the economy.
This is also the reason why this issue is being taken up seriously by the Supreme Court.
Top Bureaucrats have also cautioned against various political parties providing freebies and actually devastating the state’s budgets. Consequently, the expenditure which actually needed to be spent on welfare like Healthcare or educational facilities is also compromised.
As more and more parties are resorting to this technique, Poll Freebies may rupture the budget of the state and ultimately hamper the development of the nation.
Now, if this issue has already been taken to the Supreme Court and Election Commission; they must take requisite measures. The Election Commission should start taking preventive measures to curb such an issue before elections in upcoming elections.