A few months ago, I wrote a blogpost lauding the efforts of Arvind Kejriwal, pledging my support for his party because; and I quote:
And that’s not it. I continued:
… in 2014 elections, given the choice between UPA, NDA and Anna/ Kejriwal, I would prefer to vote for a government that is based on accountability, that has shown its willingness to reduce corruption, that has ACTUALLY done a lot for the people even before they were ‘expected’ to do anything, people who actually want India to progress…
So, now when the Arvind Kejriwal team came up with their platform, I am aghast. Not only is it not sustainable, it has strong socialist bias which, in the present economy, is catastrophic. It claims to be FOR the people, but people cannot progress till the country progresses. It cannot progress at the ‘cost’ of national economic health. Accountability is not enough to support a government. It is populist propaganda at its finest.
I can’t believe that an ex- IITian, IAS officer came up with this platform.
The vision document of Kejriwal’s party says:
1. Lokpal Bill will be brought in within 10 days of the party being voted to power.
2. People will decide the price of essential commodities.
3. Any person can lodge a complaint against any leader with the Lokpal.
4. No beacons on cars of any MPs or MLAs.
5. All expenditure and fund details to be posted on the party’s website.
6. All colonial laws on land acquisition to be abolished.
7. Right to Reject and Right to Recall.
8. A maximum of 2 years to act on any case of corruption.
9. Everyone will be provided with good education and good healthcare services.
10. Farmers will be given good price for their produce.
11. People will have the right to participate in the formulation of laws and government’s policies.
12. No government money will be used in any area without the will of the people.
The points 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 make sense. Most of them focus on anti- corruption, but that’s all right. That IS their main platform.
Now when we look at the remaining points, not only do they not make *any* sense, if we try to take the general sentiment they try to portray- they are actually catastrophic for the country.
Let’s look at the second point, ‘people will decide the prices of the essential commodities’?
First of all, what necessary commodities? Houses? Clothing? Food? Blankets? How can you decide the prices of ALL these commodities? He’s proposing a move AWAY from the free market mechanisms. i.e. to people who don’t care about economics- what he’s proposing is extreme government intervention in the pricing mechanism of the country. More subsidies, imposing price flooring, food stamps, they would inevitably lead to shortage of these commodities in the market. That’s basic economics.
Plus, the increasing expenditure would lead to higher inflation, higher unemployment. There is a reason RBI is recommending reduced government expenditure for over a year now. We NEED to reduce the government expenditure. For our country. The downgrading of our S and P’s rating is a red signal. We need to belt up.
This is a step back. This should NOT occur.
Let’s move on to the 6th point. The colonial laws on the Land acquisition are cumbersome. I wrote a paper on it a while ago, and I completely agree with the fact that it needs to be amended.
But here’s the catch. It needs to be amended. NOT abolished. Abolition would merely leave a gaping hole in the system, which would be worse than the present.
Again, if you aim at reducing the price of food commodities, and then aim at increasing the proportion that reaches the farmers, you either want to remove the intermediaries, or increase the non wage income to the farmers. Increasing government expenditure would lead to inflation, lowering GDP growth, a crises. Especially at this highly volatile present day situation.
The 10th, 11th and 12th points again have the same problem. You’re talking about the decision of the people. Of a heterogeneous entity with widely different tastes. They cannot come to a consensus. You will have the final say. These are promises which cannot be fulfilled.
I admire Arvind Kejriwal, I really do. However, now, I can see Anna ji’s point. This party cannot sustain itself on an anti-corruption pro-people sentiment. Because it’s just that, a sentiment. And I don’t want to believe that Arvind Kejriwal would try to enter politics with false promises aimed at appeasing people, because that’s exactly why we don’t like UPA/ NDA.
Maybe Mr. Kejriwal should just focus on his role as an anti-corruption crusader.
(The opinions in the article are completely subjective to the author and in no way reflect the opinion of TIE as an online community)