Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu

Naidu cautions against ‘freebie culture’

The Public Interest Litigation(PIL) filed by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay in the apex court sought action against political parties for irrational freebies.

New Delhi/Hyderabad: As the freebies politics debate returned to the spotlight, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday cautioned against announcement of populist measures by political parties on the eve of elections, and said the “freebie culture” has led to deteriorating financial health of many states.

The remarks by Naidu in his last address as the country’s Vice President came even as Telangana’s ruling TRS said the welfare of poorer sections of society is not a freebie and that welfare measures taken by governments should continue. Naidu demits office on Wednesday at the end of his five-year term.

Firing a fresh salvo at those calling government’s welfare schemes as “freebies”, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal advocated making free education, world-class healthcare and employment for all as fundamental rights, saying these are not freebies but the duty of a responsible government.

Meanwhile, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court submitting that an economic impact assessment is essential before distribution of freebies, and sought constitution of a committee of experts to examine the practice without adequacy of budgetary provisions. Naidu’s remarks came against the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently cautioning people against what he called as “revdi culture” where poll freebies are offered to woo voters, and called it “very dangerous” for the development of the country.

The Supreme Court had on August 3 also asked stakeholders like the Centre, Niti Aayog, Finance Commission and the RBI to brainstorm on the “serious” issue of freebies.

The Public Interest Litigation(PIL) filed by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay in the apex court sought action against political parties for irrational freebies.

Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, on behalf of the petitioner, submitted that two highest economic bodies of the country have expressed concern over long term impact on distribution of freebies by states without proper fiscal and budgetary management.

A PIL in the SC stated that economic impact assessment is needed before freebie distribution

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