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23rd November 2023 (11 Topics)

Public Good vs. Freebies

Context:

In an election, individual votes are fungible but every single vote counts. Direct benefits are a legitimate aspect of building a political mandate.

Election & Fiscal Responsibility

  • Intellectuals condemn expansive welfare promises in ongoing state elections as "reckless" and "fiscally irresponsible."
  • Supreme Court and RBI express concern over the financial risks associated with irrational freebies from public funds.
  • Debate centers on defining public good versus freebies and the necessity of comprehensive fiscal reviews for expenditure.

Challenges in Political Communication and Governance

  • Political parties face challenges in mass communication, requiring simple messages for effective outreach.
  • Direct benefits like cash transfers are easily communicated and understood, providing tangible positive impacts on the electorate.
  • Governance complexities and contingencies hinder showcasing development, making it easier to focus on infrastructure or direct benefits.

Impacts

  • Excessive reliance on direct benefits erodes the party platform and weakens ideological coherence.
  • Transactional arrangements between parties and voters escalate benefits, signaling a depletion of party ideology.
  • Political leaders risk compromising the party platform by allowing direct benefits to overshadow broader ideological frameworks.
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