There is a hue and cry over governmental efforts to help the poor people in the country. The unstoppable tears of the so called “tax payers” over the state sponsored welfare schemes are nothing but their arrogance and ignorance. Arrogance because they feel that their hard earned money paid in the form of taxes is going to lazy people as freebies. Ignorance because they think that development can happen with 25% of the population below the poverty line. The same category of people employs poor citizens in their homes and factories without adequate payment. If all the rich and mighty people employ the poor ones with minimum wages, India will be poverty free nation. But one can watch such people going nonstop in the 24×7 television channels over the sickness of poverty in the country. Look at Vijay Mallaya, who owes Rs.9000 crore to Public Sector Banks over his failed Kingfisher airlines. Despite his billion dollar yacht buying and enjoyments, he refuses to pay the basic salary for Kingfisher airline employees. Some of them have committed suicide due to the inability to meet the basic needs of their families.
Lakhs of shareholders who invested their life savings in private companies don’t even get their principal amount. The companies can show the poor global economic scenario and escape the investors questioning. One day they can run away without much trouble. Shardha Chit scam in the eastern part of the country is one of the prime examples. Sahara group is another case in this category. In these cases, the judiciary had acted brilliantly and ordered the arrests of its owners. Thousand other companies have escaped without paying their investors.
Governments are supposed to be the harbinger of development for everyone. If the scale is tilted towards the rich, it is the government’s duty to bring it to the level of equality. Alas! That never happens! Governments are run for the rich by the erstwhile poor people. Once into the seat of power even the poorest of the poor can forget about the social cause. That is the reason why India’s majority of the lower bottom is still in the same position despite seven decades of post independent growth.
There is another class of people which is always louder against subsidies. They think that subsiding diesel, fertilizers, cooking gas is a horrendous crime committed by the government. They want the Public Sector Oil Companies to sell petroleum products at the market rate. Everyone knows that the market priced Reliance petroleum closed its shop because of high costs. Exorbitant prices of essential fuel will push up the food prices. In the end it will complete destroy the basic structures of the society. According to a report by Moneycontrol.com, the Government of India spends only $60 billion dollars on subsidies. On the contrary there is $14 trillion of black money stashed abroad. From where, this uncountable black money came from?
It is desirable to leave the industrial growth to the business class. But one must understand the history behind it. When the private sector refused to enter into industrial development in remote areas, government was compelled to start its own companies. People who argue against the Government’s presence in industrial development must read the “Bombay Plan” to understand the reluctance of business class to venture into the industrial growth way back in 40s.
Government must not abandon its duty of protecting its poor citizens. In this mission it should differentiate between the needy and greedy. It is high time that a targeted distribution of the welfare schemes is done. Those who are poor must be identified and all support mechanisms must be given. No point in announcing schemes which finally end up as scams. Will the Modi government eliminate poverty in reality?