Chandigarh:The major political parties promising moon to voters in the form of freebies in high-octane Punjab Assembly elections are “not looking beyond poll victory” as there is “no roadmap” for implementing such sops, economists said on Wednesday.
“Political parties are just trying to lure voters by promising moon to them. No party is looking beyond victory in elections by promising sops because there is no roadmap or strategy to implement these tall promises, given the fiscal situation of the state,” R S Ghuman, Professor, Nehru SAIL Chair, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), said here.
“The poll manifestoes should not have a narrow vision as we generally see. The vision of a manifesto should be 15-20 years for the overall development of the state,” he said. The economists also said that political outfits were playing “politics of polarisation” by offering freebies like sugar, ghee at low prices, houses to the poor, land to Dalits etc.
They asked the parties to rather come out with plans to empower public by ensuring employment generation and social security. Senior economist Satish Verma said the sops would “incapacitate” people. “Parties are playing politics of polarisation by offering sops. Issue should be development rather than offering something free to people,” he said.
Congress, which has been out of power in the state for 10 years, has promised a host of freebies like farm loan waiver and free power, 50 lakh smart phones to youth etc. The ruling Akalis have promised sugar at Rs 10 per kg, ‘ghee’ at Rs 25 per kg, 20 lakh jobs for youth, facilitating 50,000 youth to acquire taxis without down payment, free two-wheelers to graduate, senior secondary students etc.
AAP has promised making farmers debt free by 2018, Rs 10,000 compensation every month in the event of crop failure, 25 lakh jobs, free wi-fi hot spots, houses for Dalits, Shagun amount Rs 51,000 etc. Notably, over 80 per cent of state’s revenue gets consumed by salary, pension, interest payment on borrowings and power subsidy, leaving little resources for spending on development expenditure.
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