Freebies can make states go bust like SL, officials told PM | Updated: April 04, 2022, 1:13 PM

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Freebies can make states go bust like SL, officials told PM

In a long meeting, which lasted for around 4 hours, between PM Narendra Modi and senior bureaucrats, a few officials raised concern over the populist schemes announced by several states. The officials claimed that ‘freebies’ or populist schemes are economically unsustainable in the long run, and can take India down the same path of Sri Lanka or Greece, according to reports from several outlets. PM Modi held the meeting with secretaries of all departments at his camp office at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg on Saturday.

The meeting was also attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister PK Mishra, and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba along with other top bureaucrats of the Union Government. During the meeting, Modi categorically told bureaucrats to come out of the mentality of managing shortages to the new challenge of managing surplus. PM further told the officials to give up the old story of citing “poverty" as an excuse for not taking up major development projects, and asked them to adopt a bigger perspective, the sources told news outlets.

Citing the teamwork shown by the secretaries during the COVID-19 pandemic, PM Modi said they should act as secretaries of the Government of India, not merely as secretaries of their respective departments, and should work as one team. He also asked secretaries to give feedback and suggest loopholes in policies of the Government, including those which are not related to their respective Ministries.

This was the ninth such meeting of the PM with secretaries since 2014 in which more than two dozen secretaries expressed their views, and shared their feedback with PM Modi, who heard them with an open mind. 

As per several reports, the officials, who held prominent positions in the states before going to the Centre, warned that numerous states were in dire financial straits, and would have gone bankrupt if they had not been a member of the Union.

Freebies announced before polls

Many political parties including the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) have offered tonnes of freebies just before the polls as an election-promise. This trend is growing as several other political parties are imitating this strategy to win elections

In the recent assembly elections in five states, these political parties had announced various schemes in which they promised free electricity for households, and free money to all women who have attained a certain age.

However, no matter how good they seem from the outside, the reality is these schemes are not economically viable, and moreover, sends a wrong message to the population, which ultimately gets dependent on such schemes, and resultantly negatively impact the social fabric of a state or nation, Sri Lanka is the prime example in front of us.

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