The common man’s basic needs — drinking water, nominal needs of staple food, milk for underprivileged children, medicines for common ailments, basic free education and ordinary transportation — alone should be subsidised by any government to meet social responsibilities (“Kejriwal’s new year gift to Delhi: 50 % power subsidy,” Jan.1). These requirements should not be a part of any election manifesto. All other freebies — TV sets, laptops, mobile phones, grinders, fans and washing machines — should not be provided at taxpayer's expense as they are not essential for life. They should be earned after productive work. It is unfortunate that almost all our political parties are indulging in competitive destruction of the work culture.
Let’s face the truth. The AAP won primarily because of promises on more water and subsidised electricity. Is this also not a form of corruption, promising people freebies for votes? The Lokpal should look into this. Why should government servants alone be blamed when people are themselves greedy and corrupt? Only if there are bribe-givers can there be bribe-takers. Our rivers and lakes need dredging and cleaning. Adequate numbers of public conveniences are needed. And something needs to be done about all those rampant encroachments.
The AAP is rushing ahead with its promises as it knows it is on life-support — it has not hesitated to take steps that are sending shock waves through its political opponents and detractors. The government needs to audit the expenses of Ministers and their secretaries to find out how much money was diverted from government funds that could have been used to fund populist schemes.
It is strange that when other parties distribute freebies in kind to voters as one-time gifts that draws flak, but when the AAP does the same, it gets wholesome praise. A rough estimate of the water and electricity charge subsidy in Delhi shows that it will cost taxpayers over the next three months (Rs.43 crore plus Rs.51 crore) Rs.94 crore. These freebies are not restricted to the poor. Hence, the country will be paying the water and electricity charges of Delhi-ites. Doesn’t this amount to buying votes?