March 25, 2011

Turning the poor in Tamil Nadu, to beggars

World over, every nation talks about enabling and empowering its citizens to become self reliant and financially independent individuals. But in Tamil Nadu, politicians see merit in promoting "beggar culture" among the poor, and thereby making large populations "dependent", in the State. They call this sops, freebies, during elections... other times, it would be called dole.

Even after natural disasters, there is a conscious move among developmental agencies, governments, NGOs to empower, rather than give relief, in kind. Infact, post tsunami in Tamil Nadu, we saw this phenomenon happening right in front of our eyes... Lot of people rushed in with aid, and this gave immediate relief to the beneficiaries, but in the long term, brought in a culture of laziness and a mindset of "begging bowl culture"... It took many years to erase the harm done by these so called enthusiastic NGOs. One of the main complaints with NREGA today, is that it has made people lazy and labour is hard to come by, in India, since its implementation.

The election manifesto of the main parties reads like a discount store or worse, a store that is folding up and filing for bankruptcy. It is most shocking and disgusting to put it mildly... I deliberately brought this topic with different colleagues of mine and as expected, got different and ingenious answers too!! Some are hilarious and some are quite leftist:-). Here goes a sample of reactions:
  1. These are not to be mistaken as sops, these are required for the under privileged. "Why should only you and me have laptops? They too are hardworking". (oh really indeed? Wonder if they know the meaning of earning their bread)
  2. "Brilliant move!! They can take it a little further and start community kitchens in every street and serve breakfast, lunch & dinner, much like the soup kitchens in the US. All homes can close down their kitchens. Because, giving rice, wheat, gas separately may take up too much time". (makes sense, maybe even pilferage can be brought down, I quipped)
  3. "There are no free lunches in the World, obviously we are paying for all this" said one.
  4. Some said, white goods retailers in State will have no customers, all goods will be available free, at ration shops
  5. "They can give gold coins but not "mangalsutra", as it is very demeaning for women to be bound by such gender stereotyping" (whoa!! a feminist here, amongst us:-))
Welcome to the decadent State of Tamil Nadu politics and elections, which the Times of India calls "Dance of Democracy":-)

1 comment:

Rajan Alexander said...

Great post. This kind of populism will bankrupt the state.

Jayalalithaa seems to have Death Wish: Virtually Gifting a landslide win to the DMK?

The MDMK, a long time ally of AIADMK, has walked out of their alliance. Even assuming MDMK had remained within the AIADMK flock, the formidability of its rival – the DMK re-constituted alliance – is so comprehensive that it had a two digit lead, assuming the 2009 Lok Sabha performance as a baseline. This gave the DMK Alliance a vote share of around 53% and AIADMK alliance around 44%. With the exit of MDMK, the vote share of AIADMK at start up of the campaign falls to 41.33% – trailing their rival by a whopping 12-13%.

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