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Supreme Court calls for a panel to look into freebies issue

What are Freebies?

  • Election promises like free laptops, electricity, etc. before elections to secure the vote  of the people are called freebies.
  • There is great ambiguity in what is included in freebies and what is not.
  • Some of the election promises are good for the public. Deepening the public  distribution system, employment guarantee schemes, support for education and  enhanced outlays for health are some of the promises that are good for the economy  and the country in the long term.
  • However, short-term irrational freebies that cost heavily on the economy and social  cohesion, in the long run, should be avoided.
  • No law directly governs the contents of the election manifesto and ECI is recommended to frame guidelines on election freebies.

What are Freebies

When are freebies good?

  • In areas of low development, elections bring with them the expectation of freebies to  fulfil some of the public aspirations. Sometimes these freebies are need-based and  essential for the upliftment of the people.
  • They help to provide safety nets to the most vulnerable segments of the population  and are necessary sometimes.

Also Read : Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) : Current Affairs Booster for UPSC Exam Preparations

When are freebies bad?

  • The problem occurs when this spending is financed by debt and is unsustainable in  the long term.
  • In this case, freebies come with a huge economic burden on the taxpayers. This  disturbs the macroeconomic stability of the country by changing the expenditure  priorities.
  • Expenditure priorities being distorted away from growth-enhancing sectors  hampers growth.
  • Providing consumptive goods like free water, free power, etc. costs heavily on the • environment and makes people callous about their use. Depleting groundwater in  Punjab is an example to quote here.
  • Irrational freebies from public funds before elections unduly influence the voters and  disrupt the purity of the poll process and the spirit of democracy.
  • The distribution of private goods or services (like free laptops), which are not for  public purposes violates the right to equality before the law.

When are freebies bad

Practice Mains Question:

Politics and economy should go hand in hand when talking about freebies. Discuss. (250 words)

Also Read : Updated Nationally Determined Contribution : Current Affairs for UPSC !

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Freebies in elections : Check Out UPSC Current Affairs for CSE Preparation!
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Freebies in elections : Check Out UPSC Current Affairs for CSE Preparation!
What are Freebies? When are freebies good ? When are freebies bad ? Let's go through this article to understand the Freebies in elections.
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