A boost for SC’s position on gifts

Gifts from political parties are ruinous for the economy and the social fabric, but no party has had the courage to do without them. Finally, the Supreme Court was forced to take an initiative to end the threat. She gave the political parties a week to designate the members of a committee that the court wants to set up, to study the problem and propose measures to deal with it. The Center accepted the court’s view that the gifts are detrimental to the nation and should be stopped in the best interests of democracy. India’s Chief Justice NV Ramana wants the Election Commission and the Center to play a key role in implementing the committee’s suggestions.

Political parties employ gratuities in successive elections, whether to civic bodies or to the Assembly or Parliament. No party has the moral or ideological strength to abjure handouts while seeking votes on its political, social and economic program. Giveaways, otherwise known as giveaways, have proven effective in the past in winning elections. If a television receiver was the freebie that helped a lady win a southern state, it was the promise of free electricity up to 200 units per family that helped a regional party up north. Even national parties like the BJP and Congress cannot afford to face an election without promising freebies to the electorate. For their part, voters have also come to take these gifts for granted as if they were their birthright.

The danger is that voters no longer base their decision on what a political party has stood for or sacrificed to promote the common good. Their decision is influenced by the value of gifts such as free electricity in Punjab, bicycles for every female student in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and ration kits like in Kerala. They lead to economic and environmental disasters like in Punjab where free electricity has encouraged farmers to dig deeper and deeper wells to collect often wasted water. Remember the promise of computer tablets at ridiculous prices that the government finally could not keep. The usefulness of freebies itself has become questionable, as each party offers free goods and services competitively. Whoever bids the best is expected to win but there is no guarantee because despite the moon’s bid Congress could only win two seats in Uttar Pradesh.

In the early decades of the Republic, voters voted for parties or candidates they believed could effectively represent and advance the nation. MPs and MPs thought their main job was to make laws – until MPs and MPs local development funds were given to them to build roads and utilities. Soon they began to be seen as glorified contractors and their success was measured by the amount of concrete used for construction. Gifts have become counterproductive. Now, wherever the Aam Aadmi party participates, it can only offer free electricity. Like the one who rode the tiger in apocryphal history, political parties cannot remove freebies without losing. They should have taken action themselves to end this public corruption. They should be grateful to the Supreme Court for taking this initiative which needs their full support.

To separate or not to separate is the question

Marriages are made in heaven but separations are permitted on earth. And they come with a price. Nobody knows that better than a dentist. A female doctor from Mumbai found extraction to be the easier option when her married life hit the Rock of Gibraltar somewhere in Maharashtra. She moved with her two children from her husband’s home to stay in the relative comfort of her parental home in Mumbai. It was then that she realized that the extraction was not only painful but also expensive. She had to support herself and her children in these times of runaway inflation which also comes with a GST tag. She calculated the cost at Rs 1,10,000 per month. Who else should foot the bill than her ex-spouse and father of her children? No one knows if the amount was circumspect or exorbitant – but gravy for goose is gravy for gander, and the judge concluded that a dentist like her with so much experience could easily support herself and those of his children. Divorce is easier said than done!

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