Freebies have become a point of contention between the Centre and states ruled by parties that are not part of the NDA. The Supreme Court is also hearing a public interest litigation on the matter and at the last hearing indicated that it could consider setting up a panel to look into the issue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday shunned the political culture of offering freebies to score electoral victories, criticised last week’s ‘Black Friday Protest’ by the Congress during the ongoing celebrations of the 75th Year of Independence — saying that no amount of “black magic” could save the party — and reiterated the government’s resolve to finding lasting solutions of vexed issues such as stubble burning in place of short-cut measures to check air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR) in winters.
While dedicating a ₹900 crore second-generation ethanol plant in Panipat that will run on farm residue including stubble to the nation, the Prime Minister counted its five long-term benefits – saving fertility of the soil that is affected due to stubble burning, new ‘green job’ opportunities around collection and distribution of stubble, additional income to farmers, environment protection by stopping stubble burning and savings of valuable foreign exchange by cutting fuel imports.
Modi said people who have a tendency to avoid problems by adopting short-cuts for political selfishness can never solve an issue permanently. “Those adopting short-cuts may get applause for some time, and may gain political advantage, but that does not solve the problem. Adopting a short-cut will definitely result in a short-circuit,” he said, referring to the chronic issue of air-pollution due to the stubble burning.