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Human resources are indeed the real asset for any nation, and, if properly harnessed, they can be the driving force for any country’s growth in a sustainable manner. Still, much depends on the incumbent government’s policies and attitude towards the welfare of people.

But if in the name of ‘welfare’, almost everything is given free to large sections of people reckoned as vote banks, the emerging situation could negatively impact the hard-working nature of people, particularly the working class.

Electoral politics adopted by ruling parties may compel them to give almost everything free to people in the name of welfare. Traditionally speaking, people-oriented programmes are those which serve common purposes such as roads, drinking water facilities, and other community assets. Now, the very meaning of public welfare has changed.

Benefiting people individually or even personally has become a trend in welfare politics and this kind of attitude reflected by successive governments has made the working class, constituting about three-fourths of Indian society, lazy. In a competitive spirit, the government is dumping thousands of crores of rupees in the name of welfare schemes to attract or grow vote banks.

It is almost like gambling on the part of the government, which blindly thinks that people would vote for them in the elections if they are given freebees. For example, former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh and TDP supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu announced several individual-oriented programmes for people just days before the 2019 General Election.

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Countless women beneficiaries of Self Help Groups across the state were given Rs.20,000-Rs.30, 000 individually in the name of their welfare, with the government boasting that it was committed towards the real interests of people. Still, he was defeated in the elections of 2019. Unmindful of such examples, the present regime of Jaganmohan Reddy also appears to be sailing on the same boat.

That is why Jagan is pumping funds for welfare schemes.  But where does all this money come from?  Considering it is taxpayer money, are people really happy with the government for such munificence?

Any responsible government will think of creating permanent assets for the state in the interests of coming generations. However, the debt burden of Andhra Pradesh state has gone up to nearly Rs.3 lakh crores; out of which Rs.1. 40 lakh crore has been obtained as loans by the Jaganmohan Reddy government over the last one and half years.

The situation may go out of control in the state if the grave financial condition is not fixed. What happened in Venezuela where people had been given everything freely?  Venezuela’s economy collapsed and there is no more fiscal discipline in that country. The irremediable fiscal situation resulted in civil war and extreme unrest in that country, which witnessed large-scale violence, looting, and arson.

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Is Andhra Pradesh too moving in the direction of Venezuela?  Since ours is a society with a large proportion of illiterates, not everybody might know the repercussions of implementing such policies! Sincere taxpayers who are not getting such individual benefits might feel let down by the growing debt burden on the state as well as on them.

According to one survey, every individual in Andhra Pradesh will have to pay Rs.70, 000 to free the state from debt trap. This may hurt sections of people who are not beneficiaries of welfare schemes measures. This also means that committed people who pay their taxes sincerely would be pushed further into troubles by way of increases in their share of the overall debt.

Is it proper on the part of a responsible government to penalise sincere individuals like this?  Is it proper to push someone into troubles only to make others happy by indiscriminate doses of welfare measures?  All people, regardless of caste and creed, should be treated alike by a welfare state! But what is happening in AP?

Where has the crucial subject of assets creation gone?  Instead, the state government is compelled to go for loans totaling thousands of crores of rupees almost every month to meet its regular requirements.  This is the pathetic fiscal situation of AP.  It will be an uphill task for the government to put the state economy on track and set things right if the present mix of ‘welfare policies’ is continued!

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Welfare policies are fine as long as they are intended for the downtrodden and backward sections and are backed by constructive policies.  Free power supply to the agricultural sector is an antithesis of this and example of fiasco.

Free power to farmers was the brainchild of Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy of the Congress. He launched the scheme 22 years ago. Before that, as PCC president, he had made it a poll plank and won in the subsequent elections. Initially it was meant to last two seasons so as to enable then debt-ridden farmers to come out of their problems. But during the time of implementation, YSR ignored the crucial point of letting farmers to enjoy free power for two seasons.

He was apprehensive about being misunderstood by farmers if he sticks to two seasons. Apart from giving the go-by to the two-season plan, the government treated alike farmers, whose land holdings ranged between 2acres and 100 acres!  Now it has become a huge burden for the government and the ruling dispensation cannot afford to even ‘touch’ the issue without feeling the shock! This is the bitter truth, regardless of the party in power.

So, welfare programmes must be tempered by fiscal reality. #KhabarLive #hydnews

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