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Reinforcement of revdis, not welfare

  • Published
    7th Nov, 2023

Context:

There is a trend of competitive populism in various Indian states however; it also raises questions about the sanctity of the MSP and the fiscal sustainability of such policies.

NFSA and Competitive Populism

  • NFSA Continuity: UPA's NFSA, 2013 provided subsidized food grains to 35 crore Indians.
  • Competitive Populism in Chhattisgarh: Congress pays farmers above MSP for paddy, raising questions on MSP's sanctity and fiscal sustainability.
  • Shift towards Short-Term Benefits: Governments favor freebies over long-term investments in education, healthcare, and agriculture, reflecting a deeper political economy issue.

MSP & Fiscal Viability

  • Sanctity of MSP: Chhattisgarh pays paddy growers significantly above MSP. This raises concerns about equity for farmers in other states.
  • Fiscal Sustainability Challenge: Procuring rice at high MSPs and distributing it for free poses fiscal sustainability risks. Government stocks may grow excessively.
  • Neglect of Essential Sectors: Investment in public education, healthcare, irrigation, and agricultural research is overlooked in favor of short-term benefits.

Concerns

  • Transactional Voting Behavior: Voters prioritize immediate benefits over long-term development, perpetuating a culture of instant gratification in politics.
  • Need for Strategic Planning: Governments should balance short-term freebies with long-term investments for sustainable growth and development.
  • Way forward: The need of the hour is to invest in gaining public trust and votes not the freebies being distributed in bulk to buy votes.
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