“The Delhi CM The freebies debate has been given a distorted turn. Health and education were never said to be free. No Indian government has ever denied them. Therefore, (by) classifying education and health as free, Kejriwal is trying to inculcate a sense of anxiety and fear in the minds of the poor,” the finance minister said, demanding a genuine debate on the matter.
PM Narendra Modi’s recent remarks “rewari” or freebies have triggered a political debate, which has been attended by some opposition parties. Government sources said the Center has sought to support the poor and needy through schemes such as additional quota of free food grains from March 2020, but free electricity or television sets, mobiles and cycles seen free of cost.
Stating that the parties are making election promises without impact on the exchequer, sources said this leads to additional borrowing by the states and reduces the expenditure required on public infrastructure, health, education and law and order.
Moreover, subsidies or free facilities like free electricity and water have not been adequately included in the budget, leading to the bleeding of state utilities and prompting the Center to take steps to weed them out from time to time. being done. “If you want to distribute to the people of the state you budget for any freebies if finances allow. But when thousands of crores of rupees are owed to the power distribution companies in the state, why is the promise and announcement of free electricity made?” said an officer. States have outstanding power dues of about Rs 1.4 lakh crore. Power distribution companies owe more than Rs 1.1 lakh crore to generating companies.
Free electricity has been a major election issue for AAP as it has sought to replicate the “Delhi model” in other states.
Finance ministry sources also refuted Kejriwal’s claims on GST on food products, citing Sitharaman’s recent statement Parliament Where he said that before the new system came into force five years ago, many states were taxing packaged food items. It had also said that the move followed a unanimous decision GST Council,
A government functionary said the opposition is giving freebies because it lacks a coherent strategy to take long-term corrective steps, create more jobs, increase income or improve ease of doing business.