Why welfare schemes of States alone are considered 'freebies', DMK asks SC

Photo used for representation purpose only.

Photo used for representation purpose only.

Why are welfare schemes introduced by State governments alone branded ‘freebies’, the DMK asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Why not put the Centre's "tax holidays" for foreign companies, "waiver of bad loans of influential industrialists" and granting of crucial contracts to "favoured conglomerates" in the same bracket, the party queried.

Seeking to be made a party in the ongoing ‘freebies’ case, the DMK said there was no “straight-jacket formula” to decipher which scheme deserves to be called a freebie. The Constitution empowers States to promulgate welfare schemes. The term ‘freebies’ cannot be interpreted to restrict States’ competence to provide welfare. “Such schemes have been introduced in order to provide basic necessities which poor households cannot afford. They cannot be imputed to be luxuries. Schemes such as free electricity can have a multi-dimensional effect on a poor household,” the DMK said.

Also Read | States, freebies and the costs of fiscal profligacy

The party said it had introduced various welfare schemes such as rice at ₹ 1/kg, free distribution of colour television sets to poor households, free bus passes to women amongst others for uplifting the poor households.

“A welfare scheme providing a free service is introduced with an intent to secure a social order and economic justice. In no imaginable reality, it could be construed as a freebie,” the party argued in its impleadment application.

Diverse populations and regions have different needs. The State has to cater to all. A single scheme cannot be applied to all the States, it said.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2022 3:21:18 am |