Freebie Model of Governance IASToppers
Video Summary

[RSTV The Big Picture] Freebie Model of Governance

The role of freebies in Indian Politics has been expanding specially in the past decade. Political parties have changed their strategy for attracting voters. Almost all political parties promise freebies which are then implemented in some way or the other once they are voted to power.
By IT's Video Summary Team
September 06, 2019

Contents

  • Introduction
  • IT’s input
  • What is the rationale behind freebie model of governance?
  • How sustainable or justified is this model?
  • How it affects the people of India in election?
  • How fair is the legality of manifesto of political party?
  • Conclusion
  • Way Ahead

[RSTV The Big Picture] Freebie Model of Governance

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Introduction:

  • The role of freebies in Indian Politics has been expanding specially in the past decade.
  • Freebies cover a wide range of goods and services such as bicycles, laptops, smartphones, TV sets, waiver on water and electricity bills etc.
  • An analysis of manifestos of various political parties done by Election Commission earlier in 2019 reveals a marked emphasis on distribution of freebies and doles to voters.
  • Almost all political parties promise freebies which are then implemented in some way or the other once they are voted to power.

IT’s input:

What is freebie model of governance?

  • Freebies are the things that government in power is promised to provide to the people for free. The policy of the freebie can be adopted only by the government in power while promises could be made by any political party.

What is the rationale behind freebie model of governance?

  • The freebies can be broadly divided into two categories. One is the manifesto of a political party before the elections and the other is government in particular states going forward and bringing schemes related to freebies.
  • Tamil Nadu government has already introduced freebies to the Indian politics and also succeed in it. These freebies were challenged in Supreme Court also, and SC given certain guidelines and asked election commission to revise the code of conduct and lay down some guidelines.
  • If government want to give free service to needy people, in that case there is a difference between a subsidy and a freebie. If government is given a subsidy or freebie to one section of the society, it must be make sure that the money riding off will have to come from somewhere else.
  • But now a days, all political parties are indulging in freebie in some way or other. For example, the parties in power like in Delhi, the current government announced free power, free water and free bus services for women.
  • The idea of freebies was come up in last ten years to India as a result of the lake of confidence of the present government in its governance.

How sustainable or justified is this model?

  • Although the freebies will not come under the corrupt practices, but it is not healthy. It actually come from the tax payer’s money. So, people will ask for the money he is paying, being used for the free service for others. Thus, it is not appreciated by the people.
  • It is in some way to influence the voters rather than giving free facilities to the citizens and it corrupts the political system in some way.
  • In an educated society, freebies don’t work or it will influence people with less extent.
  • Government can rest assured for a good governance if three institutions of the state work properly, there is no need for freebies. The three institutions are:
    • The police
    • The Ticket Checker in trains/public transport
    • The banker
  • If a government is indulging into a freebie model it indicates that the government is not sure or confident on its last (generally five years) tenure of governance. So, when the government is not sure on people being fulfil the demands of people and unsatisfied with their performance, then only the parties will go for freebies.
  • The model of freebie can only be the part of strategies of some political parties to face the elections which is not sustainable.
  • The freebies cannot give any guarantee to the political party to win the elections. (As in case of Tamil Nadu government, both the parties were giving promises for freebies)

How it affects the people of India in election?

  • The people of India on a large number of occasion prove freebie giving political parties wrong.
  • The best example of this can be the Lok Sabha election of 2019. The election was on national security issue and other political issues. People also voted on this basis and the result can be seen.
  • So, it is clear that the people want a stable and strong leader government at the center rather than freebie giving government.

How fair is the legality of manifesto of political party?

  • Supreme court directed election commission to ensure in the model code of conduct that political parties will not make such promises in the election manifesto. And if there is any promise, the parties have to comply with that if voted to power.
  • The new model code of conduct clearly says that political parties will not make such announcement as their election manifesto.
  • Apart from all the things, the larger responsibility lies on the political party and they are probably going into this race.
  • There is no legal way to control the government for making announcement like freebies. But there could be raise a question against them by opposition or the people and also can go to the court also.

Conclusion:

  • If the party in government understands the need of the people or they have confidence on their own governance, there is no need to give and people no need to offered by a freebie.
  • The freebies model undermines the judgement of the people, election process and also undermines Indian parliamentary and democracy of the country. The model doesn’t look like very sustainable and not exactly the election winning formula every time. But to go away with such short of culture is the onus that lies on both the sides.

Way Ahead:

  • As the elections in a democracy are thought on the base of the performance of a government or the lake of it by the opposition rather than promising freebies. So, not renting the democracy by allowing such things to the politics is in the hands of people.
  • Political parties also have to analyze such things in the states where it is taking place. The parties who are contesting elections and making promises before the elections and policies after the election to make those promises and policies most informed one and the voters as well by asking informed questions.

 

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