In this article, M.Karpagam of School Of Excellence in Law Tamil Nadu Dr.ambedkar Law University Taramani, Chennai discusses Non essentials freebies in election and state resources.

In this article, M.Karpagam of School Of Excellence in Law Tamil Nadu Dr.ambedkar Law University Taramani, Chennai discusses Non essential freebies in elections and state resources.

Do non essential freebies amount to frittering away of state resources

India is a democratic country as enshrined in the preamble of our constitution which is ensured through the elections in which people select their representative. Issuing election manifesto is important for those who desire to come to power. These election manifestoes are to reflect what the parties participating in the election intend to do if they are opted by people. But these manifestoes are highly misused by these political parties. Though the supreme court ruled in favour of Tamil Nadu in Subramaniya Balaji’s case in which the legality of freebies were contested the supreme court was of the opinion that providing freebies though not against public policy it shakes the very concept of ‘free and fair election’ which is considered to be one of the basic structure of our constitution.

Though its legality cannot be questioned providing non essential freebies poses a great threat to the economy of the state. State government usually gets is source of income from primary, secondary, service sectors and from various taxes which people pay. What freebies are non essential is a question to be considered. As the response of the political parties in providing freebies is justified by vocalising that those are for welfare of the people who could not afford by themselves. This intention of the political parties is not reflected in the manifesto which is given frivolously in strife with other parties with an urge to win the election.

For contention, we could consider those which are essentially needed for the basic standard of living for the people who could not afford, be considered essential freebies like mid-day meals, rice in ration, uniform and books for students of government schools.

Freebies could be considered essential when reaches those who are really in need. These distribution of freebies can only be implemented from the state resources which is already limited for other uses of the state. Depleting the sources of the state for the promises given by the political party can no way be justified. This utilisation of state resources for those non essential freebies further places constraints on the economy of the state. It further increases the debt already borrowed by the state.

The freebies provided by the Tamil Nadu state government like colour television, laptops, and other household schemes cost the government around 11561 crores. These money could be used for other purposes which would better increase the welfare of the state and that of the people or this could have been used to clear the outstanding loans of around USD600 million got by the government for urban development project from the world bank.

The above is just an example of one of the state that erodes off its state resources by giving freebies this is the similar condition with many other states of the nation. Though the state purports to provide freebies it has to frame implementation process as such it would reach those in need. Because of this lack of non implementation mechanism even the essential freebies could even become non essential which is the wasting of the state resources unnecessarily for example in the above example of state of Tamil Nadu the government gave colour television and other home appliances on the bases of ration card holders. There was many implementation defects like some areas of the state received while people in other areas did not receive or they received twice. Looting of these freebies given by the government by the intermediate politicians renders all the essential freebies non essential and fritters away with state resources.

Political parties manifesting for elections should think better alternate for freebies for instance instead of subsiding loans given for education they can provide for employment to those unemployed who could work can discharge the loans this in tuen would raise their standard of living and also increase the income of the state, similarly with those of the loans of farmers the state can provide them with better qualities of seeds and water which would render a good yield for them to discharge their loans and would further increase the income from the primary sector. The 2016 election manifesto of the present tamil nadu government which promises to provide mobile phones for the ration card holders is totally inefficacious as this is the hi-tech generation where mobile phones are in the hands of all. this money which is ought to be spent on mobile phones could be uses to install CCTV cameras in all the police stations of the state which would decrease the rate of crimes like custodial death, custodial harassment and would also increase the efficiency of the policemen which would to some extent stabilise the law and order of the state which would increase the welfare of the people.

Political party which comes to power after giving list of freebies utilise state resources for providing them and increase the financial constraints of the state and leave their office after 5 years without proper foresight of what would be the status of the state after they leave the office. This financial constraint, in turn, reflect back to the people in the form of inflation, increased taxes etc by the subsequent government.

Election commission should take cognisance of the situation and issues guide guidelines in respect to freebies in election manifesto as urged by the supreme court in Ssubramaniya balaji case. The scope of guidelines in mode of conduct of elections with respect to manifesto particular with respect to freebies should be more stringent and it would be better if election commission would issues order to political parties to stop the issuance of freebies to people.

To conclude we the people should be cautious in choosing our representative. There must be awareness among people that providing freebies would burden them as the state resources get depleted. As it is difficult to ascertain and demarcate essential from non essential freebies it is better off to take this concept of providing freebies and political parties can promise to bring better policies for the people which in turn would give them an intellectual choice to choose which would strengthen the concept of democracy.


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