It’s a free-for-all between the BJP and AAP over the freebie issue. The Centre has come out with a point-by-point rebuttal to the comments and allegations by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on the matter.
Government sources told News18, “Arvind Kejriwal is deliberately framing the argument in a manner that is wrong. Nobody is saying that giving free benefits to the poor is wrong. But it is also wrong to classify the loan write-offs as being freebies, or to say that the corporate tax rate cut was designed to benefit the corporates.”
In fact, the Centre cites an example to make the point that it gave free food over and above the subsidised food provided under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Central government sources said the objection is to the fact that many parties have promised free gold, cookers, etc, while they don’t have the funds. And they have not bothered to have long-term economic welfare or corrective steps to ensure more employment, or improve ease of doing business, they added.
For example, while the Punjab government promised money in the bank accounts of women, the chief minister came to Delhi, appealing to the Prime Minister to release Rs 1 lakh crore as urgent funds . “This makes it clear that they don’t have the money. So why promise a freebie?” said the sources.
But the Aam Aadmi Party disagrees, saying the state’s funds have depleted and it’s the right of the Punjab governments to ask for money from the Centre. More importantly, it says, the BJP too has made many poll promises that never got fulfilled.
The central government sources have a response to this. “There is no justification for political parties offering freebies that the government’s exchequer cannot afford and will eventually lead to bankruptcy of the state. When they promise free electricity, water, or other freebies, they are merely borrowing from future generations to reward present ones,” they said.