Jayalalithaa has announced freebies without even knowing what people want, say experts
Shivani Chaturvedi | May 19, 2016
In a state where people look forward to freebies, and might be looking again for the ones announced in AIADMK’s 2016 election manifesto, many feel that not everyone want freebies this time and not everyone is benefiting from them.
The freebies cost the state huge amounts of money and Tamil Nadu’s financial health is in a bad shape, says professor S Janakarajan of Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS). “At least in the last elections, J Jayalalithaa had done exhaustive research to know about people’s need. But this time, without even knowing what people want, the manifesto was released. AIADMK’s manifesto for this election is just to keep the freebie tempo on,” he says.
The Tamil Nadu government has a liability of Rs 4 lakh crore. “Where is the money going to come from? How would the government take care of these freebies announced in the manifesto?” asks Janakarajan adding that it is going to be a tough road ahead for the AIADMK government as it would have to manage the financial health of the state, fulfill promises made in the manifesto and also confront the opposition, which is stronger this time.
M Vijayabaskar, who teaches at MIDS, too feels that resource mobilization, for these freebies, is going to be a challenge for the government. What people can look forward to from this manifesto is again a tricky thing, he remarks. “However, given the past history the government has delivered 50-70 percent of what it promised. At the same time in cases of freebies like mixer and grinder, the quality was not good,” says Vijayabaskar.
Prabha and Vijayamala, who work in a private company, say that the need of the hour is to have infrastructure development; more power projects should come. “Has the government really taken into account what the people want before announcing the freebies?” they ask.
Some of the promises in AIADMK’s manifesto include uninterrupted supply of power, free electricity of 100 units every two months, waiver of all farm loans, no FDI in retail, free laptops with internet for 10th and 12th standard students, special financial assistance to fisherfolk, 50 percent subsidy on mopeds or scooters for women, free cell phones for all ration card holders, free wi-fi at public spaces, among others.
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