Welfare State

Top story in a mainstream financial daily today (August 11) had this headline: ‘Finmin Puts its Foot Down on Free Mobile Scheme’. Hopefully, sooner than later, the present FM, being a BPL(Businessman-Politician-Lawyer) 3-in-One PC, will relent, if the service providers would agree to supply mobile handsets and first sim cards ‘free’ to every citizen of India.

Now with promises of AADHAAR card during the current century, a ‘zero’ balance bank account as part of ‘Financial Inclusion’ for all, hope of getting all government benefits credited to these ‘zero balance’ accounts which can be withdrawn with the help of AADHAAR-enabled White Label ATM cards, an NPS account into which GOI will credit Rs1000 every year (initially for the first five years) as matching contribution, several benefits like bagfuls of rice at Re1 a kilogram, free TVs, sewing machines and bicycles and what not from state governments, the common man is going to be pushed into a lifestyle from which he may find it difficult to move out.

He will now stop worrying about potable water, shelter, healthcare and other mundane niceties and start grumbling about the low per capita availability of guns in India (as reported in the same newspaper on the same page) and to the dismay of Finmin ask for a revision of ‘minimum wages’ commensurate with all these basic needs which he is used to. We are progressing much faster than ‘curiosity’ and the Welfare State seems to be much closer than Mars.

Another email which is in circulation talks about India being a rich country (richer than you think!) with about 1500 lakh crores of wealth accounted and kept abroad (they call it ‘black’ or unaccounted money in India). Many dream that part of this will soon find way to India as investment and we will prosper much faster. So long as you just dream and not talk, you can avoid punishments. Make haste. Dream-detectors are likely to be installed on footpaths.


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