Freebies – allurement or empowerment; Sitharaman-Yellen symbolism; Future imperfect for Pakistan

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Opinion Watch

Freebies – allurement or empowerment

Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to claim a higher pedestal for his government’s doles while bashing states ruled by Opposition for practicing freebies. Spokespersons have afterwards fought over distinction between freebies and welfarism, and the audience still wonders if there is any difference at all.

Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat Assembly elections are the two polls where the people may weigh the arguments on freebies. The Indian Express in its Editorial has given an account of poll promises. In Gujarat poll promises are – 300 free electricity units, Rs 1000 per month for each woman, unemployment allowance of Rs 3000 per month, debt waiver upto Rs 2 lakh for farmers by Aam Aadmi Party in Gujarat; free medical treatment upto Rs 10 lakh, free electricity for farmers, Rs 5 subsidy per litre for mil producers by Congress. In Himachal Pradesh, the Noida-based daily detailed, Congress has promised Rs 1500 per month for each woman (18-60 years), while the BJP has promised Rs 25,000 to all pregnant women and other schemes.

The daily sticks to the stance that the debate is subjective, while referring to the three-judge bench Supreme Court ruling that stated that freebies is not a corrupt practice. Poll promises are being increasingly seen trapped in the low return of a pattern for which the people develop contempt. Tamil Nadu has shown that despite excessive welfarism the state leads on several social and economic indicators. The corporate giveaways is ignored in the debate. The whole Revdi discourse was aimed for distraction from the slumping economy, and the arguments should rest there.

Sitharaman-Yellen symbolism

The Times of India has dug out virtues in the photo-op of Nirmala Sitharaman and Janet Yellen. The daily finds exceptionalism in the photo-op. It stated that Sitharaman is the first full-time finance minister of India and Yellen was the first woman chair of the US Fed before becoming the first woman to lead the US Treasury. The daily cites the National Family Health Survey data to claim that only 18 per cent married women in India get to decide on ways to spend their earned money.

The Times of India Editorial is a classic example of editorial bankruptcy in the largest circulated newspaper of India, which falls for povertarian intellectualism. Such symbolism is dished out to entertain intellectual dwarfs, who have further become dumb by video and TV watching. Symbolism is meant to show scale of women empowerment. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has given tickets to six women out of 68 candidates in Himachal Pradesh and 16 out of 182 candidates in Gujarat. That’s the reality of the day, and certainly not the bogus Sitharaman-Yellen symbolism. By the way Hillary Clinton has already been Vice President of the US, and Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister of India long ago.              

Future imperfect for Pakistan

The Pioneer in its Editorial has expressed concern that Pakistan is staring at an uncertain future in the backdrop of the murderous attack on former Prime Minister Imran Khan. The daily opined that the attack was meant to stop Khan from marching to Islamabad. The Noida-based daily argued that the people in Pakistan should worry the return of the murky politics of bullet over ballot. It further stated the impending retirement of the Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who may not get an extension, makes the Rawalpindi Corp look in a bad shape. On the pattern, the daily argues that an unstable Pakistan is in no one’s interests, including India.

Such arguments are often repeated. Khan’s belligerence despite assassination attempt is good for Pakistan, for he’s calling the bluff of the power wielded by the Pakistani Army. It will be in everyone’s interests if the Pakistani Army is tamed by the civilian leadership, as that would pave the path for peace in South Asia and also Afghanistan.

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