oppn parties Loan Waivers: No Laughing Matter

News Snippets

  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
oppn parties
Loan Waivers: No Laughing Matter

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Chief Minister of West Bengal has petitioned the Prime Minister to completely waive off the Central loans to West Bengal given the state’s precarious financial position and inability to pay the same. It has again raised the bogey that when the TMC came to power, it inherited a bankrupt state.

So far so good, but what about the excesses committed in the last four years?

The TMC government has, despite the sorry financial condition of the state, indulged in one treasury draining populist scheme after another with abandon, as if there is no tomorrow. It has sought to build vote banks for the party at the expense of the tax payers and now it wants the Central government to underwrite the same.

Cooperative federalism does not mean the Central government will finance excesses of the state government. It is not like a joint family where the patriarch will fund the drinking-disco going binges of the youngest male member. There has to be some responsibility and the buck has to stop somewhere.

States will have to learn to live within their means. There are hundreds of welfare schemes for which funds are provided by the Centre. If the state announces its own schemes, it has to necessarily generate the funds from its own resources. One example will suffice: where was the urgent need for a nearly bankrupt government to provide monthly stipend for imams of all mosques in West Bengal? It was an unabashed attempt at winning over a particular community as a vote bank. Should the Centre finance this?

At the same time, there are reports of funds not being utilized in scores of Central welfare schemes and being repatriated. Is this the way to manage schemes?

The way out for the state is to curtail fancy welfare schemes, micro manage the funds that are given by the Centre for all-India welfare schemes, initiate appropriate revenue generating mechanism, plug leakages, clamp down hard on the rampant corruption at all levels and manage its books properly.

Loan waivers from the Centre will be its ticket to indulge in further excesses and ask for further loan waivers. This has to stop once and for all.