Amid debate on freebies, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday said giving tax money back to people cannot be called extending 'revris' (freebies) as he targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him what would he call “waiving debt of his friends”.
Mr. Mann said his government will spend money on people as it belongs to them.
“We are giving people's money back to them. We are not borrowing money,” said Mr. Mann as he was referring to the decisions of free medical care in Aam Aadmi clinics and free electricity of 300 units to each household.
“If tax money of people is given back to them, it is not called free 'revris',” said Mr. Mann speaking to the media.
Referring to PM Modi's recent statement about extending 'revris' (freebies), Mr. Mann said, “I want to ask Pradhan Mantri saab, we are giving facilities out of tax paid by people and you are calling free 'revris'.” “You said about depositing Rs 15 lakh in each account, where it is,” he asked PM Modi.
“You are waiving Rs 10 lakh crore debt of your friends, what are they? Those who fled after looting banks, who are they then? "If a government saves tax, stops revenue leakage, stops corruption and ends mafia raj and then it gets money, we will spend that money on people because it belongs to them,” said Mr. Mann.
Prime Minister Modi has in recent days hit out at the competitive populism of extending 'revris' (freebies) which are not just wastage of taxpayers' money but also an economic disaster that could hamper India's drive to become atmanirbhar (self-reliant), he has said.
His comments were seen directed at parties like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which have in the run-up to assembly election in states like Punjab and more recently Gujarat promised free electricity, among others.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had suggested setting up a specialised body to examine "irrational freebies" offered to voters during elections.