Rahul Gandhi’s sop for the poor will eat into the vitals of economic growth

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Lalit Shastri

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, in the run up for the Lok Sabha election, today announced that five per cent of the poorest families in India will receive Rs. 72,000 per year.

“We will wipe out poverty by guaranteeing minimum income to 50 million or 20 per cent of the poorest families, Rahul Gandhi said.

Rahul Gandhi’s sop of direct money transfer reminds me of this edit I wrote long ago. I am prompted to reproduce it below:

Two isms of politics eating into the vitals of economic growth in India

One is seeing with a deep sense of concern that the two isms-neopatrimonialism and clientelism-are being followed so deceitfully by those who swear by and use democracy to usurp power and do everything to remain riveted to the seats of power in India.

Neopatrimonialism is cancerous because the corruption it breeds at all levels of government functioning is eating into the vitals that should otherwise lead to economic growth and general well-being and prosperity of all. The Hugo Chavez model of politics (the world is aghast by what’s happening in Venezuela today) was followed to a great extent by the previous Manmohan Singh led UPÀ government at the Centre, presided over by the Congress party led by Sonia Gandhi and her band of loyalists. They went a step ahead and put themselves on the pedestal and all along pretended as if they were the only ones to shape the destiny of Indian people through newly created Acts passed by the Indian Parliament to guarantee jobs, food, and education. While doing this they also aped the cash transfer policy that was being followed in Brazil and Mexico without bothering even an iota about its pitfall and the impact it would leave on the middle class wage earners and the economic growth of the country. The Congress party evolved a system that equates the party leadership that is lmited to the Gandhis as an enlightened despot. The other functionaries of the party are like the Indian satraps or the European feudal lords of the middle ages manning their brutally carved out mains, manors or the ancient Roman latifundia. The Communists who ruled West Bengal for a long time had mastered this form of politics but in recent years many other parties also have demonstrated that they excel in this game of clientelism where funds meant for welfare are allowed to get siphoned away and fill the pockets of party loyalists whose numbers keep increasing with time and the political parties draw maximum mileage from this expanding support base during elections.

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