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  • Writer's pictureRitik Agrawal

SOCIO-LEGAL ASPECTS OF FREEBIES

Reshma Praveen, Prashant Kumar

Chanakya National law University

INTRODUCTION

Freebies essentially means things provided free of cost. As the name connotes itself that it is something which is free. Freebies is a very diverse concept which is leading the politics in India to new controversies. Freebies has many forms. In the name of welfare schemes, in the name of public distribution system, in the name of loan waivers. Recently freebie politics was at the peak due to the condition in Srilanka. Srilankan economy collapsed due to the freebie politics which was introduced in their economy. Freebies has both advantages and disadvantages which I will be dealing in further chapters. Freebies is not a new concept. It is actually helpful for the poor and the needy persons. But sometimes or we can say that nowadays it is used by politicians as a tool to exploit the democracy in India. They disregard the concept of free and fair election whereby luring the people in the name of freebies and influencing the voting pattern. People get lured to the free items or things provided by the political parties. Even we will see the case in Tamil nadu where a case was filed against the government of Tamil Nādu under section 123 of representation of people act of 1951[1]. Freebies consist of many items like free water, free ration, free electricity, free bus passes, free mobile phones, free mangalsutras and even free scooties. It has a wide ranging list that has societal impact. There are one set of people who consider freebies to be detrimental for a country and then there is a set of people who see freebies to be the most important aspect for development of a society or a country. Freebies is mainly used in politics and politicians even use it to favour the rich businessmen to waive their loans in name of freebies. Freebies is there in other countries also where there are even open kitchens in the name of freebies. It all depends on economy to economy aspects, whereby one country can afford such freebies. Freebies has a positive impact in a society when used in education and health sector. Health and education is something in which every politician either from the opposition or government side, they agree that health and education freebies should be there for the development and prosperity of any country.

BACKGROUND OF FREEBIES IN INDIA

India is a huge nation with a number of aspects which influence its development.

The most important one is the politics. Politics is an aspect which influences everyday life of the person in India either directly or indirectly.

In politics there has been a concept of freebies. In recent years there is a wide controversy regarding the freebies.

First time when the topic of freebies came in the open forum of media was in the year 2006.

In the state of Tamilnadu there was a party called DMK which made an offer that it would give free colour TVs in 2011. It would give free laptops to students, mixer grinders and 25kg rice to the BPL families.

During that time the opposition in Tamil nadu criticized the step by DMK.

But during the same year the opposition party of DMK i.e. the AIADMK started the trend of freebies on their own. They promised to give 20 kilo free rice to rational holder, free bus passes, and students would be given laptops from 11th grade. Even the late jayalalitha said about giving 4 grams of gold to women for mangalsutra. Mangalsutra is an important component of marriage which they used as freebies to garnish their political aspirations.

Now from the state of Tamil nadu, the freebies culture started.

Coming to Bihar, in the year 2006, the chief minister of Bihar started the scheme of giving freebies in the form of bicycles to the ST/SC girls. It was a very successful scheme of Bihar which also becomes an inspiration for other states like Orissa. In Orissa, a similar scheme was launched. Similarly west Bengal also adopted the same scheme. In 2014 the political party JDU also made a trend of freebies by providing free napkins to women. Sanitary napkins which is an important essentials in the life of a women.

In 2013, Delhi made wide breakthrough by giving freebies which also started many sort of controversy. Arvind kejriwal started the concept of free water, free education and free health care. The scheme was made popular and the Orissa government also started providing free drinking water to the urban poor.


BJP also launched in goa similar sort of scheme with the theme save water to get free water.

In tamil nadu there was a case filed against the government there that they are actually bribing the people through these freebies under section 123 of representation of people act[2]. But the Supreme Court held in this case that it is not bribery. There are many yojnas in our country which has the concept of freebies inculcated in its roots like the rani Lakshmi bai yojna which strives for giving free scooties .

In the state of Uttar Pradesh there were freebies of cylinders on the festival of holi and Diwali. So the concept of freebies is an integral part of the society, government scheme and the political parties.

Even our honourable prime minister inaugurated the amma two wheeler scheme[3] so Freebies is given by every political party and has a long history. It is not a new concept but it has come into limelight in recent years due to the peculiar type of freebies by the political parties which grab the attention of people and the media.

A political party promising a colour TV, grinder, cycles, or free housing, electricity and employment, cannot be considered bribery or corruption. This was the main conclusion that the Supreme Court came to in 2013 in the Subramaniam Balaji vs Government of Tamil Nadu case[4] in 2013, when a petitioner went to court against the distribution of free colour TVs by the DMK government in state after it won the 2006 Assembly elections. The SC looked at the question of ‘free gifts’ from the government, or ‘freebies’, and whether they’re violative of the Constitution. 

IMPACT OF FREEBIES ON SOCIETY

ADVANTAGES

Freebies are regarded as a very noble concept by many persons in the society and they give a wide ranging example to justify their point of view.

For them it is the money of society which is spent in the society in the name of freebies. It is the money of the people only and there is nothing wrong if we are using it. It is not something which is free but a form of taxpayers money used for the wellbeing of the society which includes the underprivileged society in country like India.

Education and health care holds vital importance in our society. It has become the basic necessity for the wellbeing of the society.

It is argued that free education and health is very important for a country to prosper.

For marginalized people to come to the same level as the prospering people, we need to ensure that they are given valid opportunity. Education is something which will help in ensuring the wellbeing of a society.

But now education has become a business which is affecting mental and social health of students. Students have to take various loans for their education which ultimately trap them in the web of debt. The youth of the country instead of working for the nation is seen to be depressed due to the loans which they have taken for the completion of their education. Education should not be a business product or a system of exploitation.

In Nordic countries the education is free which leads them to top the literacy rate in the overall chart of the countries.

Health care is the most important aspect whereby the people should be provided free healthcare check-ups. India has youth population and to use this in a positive manner, one should use the concept of freebies by providing free education and health care as education is the key to success and health is wealth.

If free electricity is provided to the people, it will help the poor in many ways. No sort of discrimination will be there. No student will have to sit under the street lights to study. Electricity has become a very important aspect in the life of a human being and even a necessity. So by providing freebies in the form of electricity is very important as it has become an integral part of society.

Freebies if used in an efficient manner will lead to the development of women.

Like for example in Bihar due to the scheme of free bicycles the dropout rate of girls decreased to a significant number.

Like in Assam the women’s were given free sewing machines which they used for their employment.

Freebies help in providing employment.

When a small amount is spent on freebies it leads to the development of the society like in the case of Bihar and Assam where freebies helped in the development of women through the lens of employment and education.

Freebies help in the overall development of society.

Like if small kiosks is fix in particular places then it will ultimately help the persons in need of water.

Freebies also promote happiness in the society.

Like for example if in the name of freebies any exhibition is introduced or parks are constructed or public gyms which will help in enhancing the mental health of people in this stressful period of time.

DISADVANTAGES

Arguments against freebies lies mainly on the concept of financial burden.

Ø Freebies are said to have a negative impact in the society. It burdens the government.

Ø It is hazardous for the environment.

Ø It will lead to wastage of the natural resources.

Ø Like the component of providing free water and electricity will ultimately lead to the excessive wastage of water.

Ø Whereby people will waste water when provided free.

Ø Whereby electricity wastage will be there.

Ø It will have a negative impact in the economic prosperity of a country.

Ø As it will lead to the burden on the money of the state welfare and will lead to the disturbance of other development project.

Ø There is undue influence on voters as many parties use freebies to lure the voters during the time of election.

Ø It will lead to the case of srilanka whereby the economy of a country will shrink.

Ø States have lack of money to provide these freebies like in Bihar the cycle scheme was stopped due to the lack of money.

Ø Freebies are wasteful and unnecessary in a society.

Ø It is detrimental for the free and fair elections in India.

Ø In the name of loan waivers it destroys the credit culture in India.

Ø Revenue of the state is put at stake. Freebies lower the quality and competitiveness of the manufacturing sector by detracting from efficient and competitive infrastructure that enable high-factor efficiencies in the manufacturing sector.[5]

CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTION

After analysis of the the advantage and disadvantage related to freebies, it is very much evident that it is a very controversial concept. It is important for every state to look in before their capacity before providing freebies. Every state has its own financial capacity. Freebies is something which should be given only in the necessary aspects like health and education. Health and education is an important part of our society. Some freebies are important and should be provided by the government for development of a society. But on the other hand one should restrain from providing freebies which are necessary. Freebies depend on case and circumstance. Like basic transportation is needed in a society and for that bicycle or a public bus is a good concept but if we provide scooties or cars for it then it will ultimately lead to the wastage of money and burden on the economy.

One should see that if if it is a necessity for a society. Like for a developing country like India health and education is a necessity but the same in developed countries we will see that the countries even provide free meals to the students and in some countries they provide free education to even to the international students.

It is vital to see the economic aspect also like Delhi and Bihar has a wide difference related to the economy. Delhi government can provide many things in comparison to Bihar in the name of freebies. State like Bihar has already less fund, so they cannot spend on unnecessary items. They have to fulfil their necessity first then only it will be help and prosper in a right manner.

Freebies as a concept should focus on necessity rather than luxury items. We can even give luxury items as freebies but it totally depends on the economy of a country. If a country is able to provide necessities in a full-fledged manner then there is nothing wrong in giving luxury items as freebies.

Freebies is successful only if before providing, these are properly planned and executed and is monitored that it is even helpful or not.

If the economic management of a state is proper then there will be no economy downfall due to it. It also need skills which the government should possess before providing any sort of freebies. So financial management is also important or we can say that it is the essential element for any state to prosper either through the means of freebies or any other way. So freebies is important for development of the poor and if used in a judicious manner, it will help I development of a country.

 BIBLIOGRAPHY

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