Freebie: A government policy or program that provides goods, services, or benefits to people at no cost, often seen as a means to garner political favor.
A policy aimed at protecting and promoting the economic and social well-being of its citizens, often through financial or other resources.
A strategy or policy aiming at the economic growth and advancement of a state or region, generally involving infrastructure development, educational advancements, and fostering industries. Next, we’ll take five different policies and encourage the debate participants to argue under which category each policy falls, taking into consideration the definitions provided and the long-term and short-term effects of each policy.
Policy 1: Universal Basic Income (UBI)
Critics argue that it encourages dependency on the government, detracting individuals from seeking employment.
Proponents see it as a safety net that guarantees a minimum living standard for all citizens, reducing poverty and inequality.
It can be seen as a tool for economic growth by increasing purchasing power and stimulating demand in the economy.
Policy 2: Farm Loan Waivers
Critics claim it is a populist measure used to garner votes and doesn't solve the underlying issues faced by farmers.
Advocates argue that it provides immediate relief to farmers in distress and can prevent farmer suicides.
By alleviating debt, it potentially allows for more investment in agriculture, fostering rural development.
Free Electricity to HouseholdsFreebie Perspective:
Seen as a populist measure with potentially adverse effects on state finances and encouragement of wasteful consumption of electricity.
It helps in improving the living standards of the poor by reducing their financial burden.
Could foster economic development by increasing disposable income and promoting equality.
Policy 4: Free Education till University Level
Critics argue it might burden the economic structure of a country with massive costs.
Ensures equal opportunities for all citizens to receive education, promoting social equality.
A well-educated populace can contribute significantly to the economic, scientific, and cultural development of the country.
Policy 5: Infrastructure Development like Roads, Bridges
Generally not viewed as a freebie, but critics might argue against projects seen as unnecessary and only aimed at gaining political favor.
Infrastructure development indirectly supports the welfare of the community by providing better transportation, which can lead to better accessibility to education, jobs, etc.
Seen as a core development policy, fostering economic growth by improving connectivity, encouraging investments, and creating jobs.
Differentiation is made based on the policy's design, its long-term and short-term effects, and its impact on different sections of society. Examples of Policies from Telangana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh:
Rythu Bandhu Scheme:
Financial assistance to farmers for each season.
Provides financial assistance and necessary products to pregnant women and newborn babies.
Aims to provide safe drinking water to every household in the state.
A scheme aimed at women’s empowerment, facilitating direct benefit transfer of scheme benefits.
Promises Rs.6,000 monthly allowance to unemployed youth.
Scheme to provide free medicines and diagnostic tests to people.
Indira Gandhi Maternity Nutrition Scheme:
It provides Rs.6,000 to pregnant women in three installments.
A welfare scheme for providing electricity connections at a subsidized rate, and financial assistance for various needs including medical treatment, education, etc.
Provides financial assistance to economically weaker families during the marriage of their daughters.
Charan Paduka Initiative:
This initiative provides shoes and slippers to the migrant laborers walking barefoot on highways.
Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana:
A scheme to provide financial assistance to farmers based on the registered and procured area of their paddy crop, sugarcane, and maize crops.
Dr. Khubchand Baghel Health Assistance Scheme:
A health assistance scheme to facilitate free medical treatment to families with an annual income of less than Rs.6 lakhs.
Mukhyamantri Suposhan Abhiyan: An initiative to fight malnutrition in the state by providing nutritious meals and supplements. Each state has its own set of welfare schemes and “freebies” aimed at various groups including farmers, women, economically weaker sections, etc. These policies are sometimes praised for being supportive welfare measures, while others criticize them for being populist measures, especially as they sometimes put a strain on the state's financial resources.