Friday, 4 July 2008

Price of populism?

Today's the Times of India, had an interesting article called 'Fear of Flying', which goes on to talk about how the growing airline industry is struggling as a result of the high Aviation Turbine Fuel prices, which is the result of some unrealistically huge tax structures practiced in India. Do check out the link (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Editorial/Fear_of_Flying/articleshow/3194392.cms) or alternatively just click on the title of this post.

My comment to the editor was, "It is a very complex situation made by catering to populist demands more than anything else. The air-industry is a business. Waiving [Rs.] 60,000 crores to debt-ridden farmers is a political move. As are so many other examples one can think of. The point is where is the funding going to come from? The centre and states have taxes as their main means of securing funding and the ethos goes that a few will pay for all.

Hence be it the salaried segment of people or the corporate who believe in making profits through honest means, will end up paying for all of those populist promises made in the electoral battlefield. What makes it even more interesting a twist is that it is the so called non-business oriented communist dominated states of Kerala and West Bengal apart from the lone Andhra Pradesh, who have begun to understand that a positive cycle would mean lower taxes, more volumes, better absolute realisation of monies for the state treasuries. When will the other states wake up?"

The point that I was trying to make here is that despite having some of the finest intellectuals running this amazing nation at the centre, they are hardly the majority - who are actually made up of people who have being given the 'job' of running the country on the basis of the very democratic voting process that's enshrined in our constitution. Considering that, the sheer numbers, i.e. votes, is provided by a large part of the Indian population pyramid, made up of people who somehow manage to survive on a day to day basis, where is the question of the educated and supposedly intellectually aware citizen actually making a difference by voting for and electing a responsible individual who will go on to serve the best interests of the nation? Fact is that most of our 'able' political leaders, in a very fragmented power play scenario, are in post based on the votes of just a fraction of the population whom she/he represents and to whom have been made a range of populist promises from loan waivers to clothing to electronic goods?

The summer of 1948 and the summer of 2008 has some vast differences. As a nation, then we were finally free and making our own decisions. As a nation, today we are poised to grow is the term. Are we going to only remain poised?

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