ISSN 2330-717X

How The Government Betrays Fellow Citizens – OpEd

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A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. It normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government is a means by which organizational policies are enforced, as well as a mechanism for determining policy.  On the other hand, Opposition is strong, angry, or violent disagreement and disapproval. Official means approved by the government or by someone in authority. Official Opposition implies so assembly and so as to so progress so better in so a democracy so and so uphold so political so alliance. 

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In India, single opposition party has to meet at least 10 per cent seat criterion, not an alliance. Many of the Indian state legislatures also follow this 10 per cent rule while the rest of them prefer single largest opposition party according to the rules of their respective houses. The Opposition’s main role is to question the government of the day and hold them accountable to the public. This also helps to fix the mistakes of the Ruling Party.

The Opposition is equally responsible in upholding the best interests of the people of the country. They have to ensure that the Government does not take any steps, which might have negative effects on its people. The role of the opposition in legislature is basically to check the excesses of the ruling or dominant party, and not to be totally antagonistic. There are actions of the ruling party which may be beneficial to the masses and opposition is expected to support such steps.

Punjabis are well known worldwide for their excellence in their own field of expertise. They are heading various global institutes, organizations and so on. Irony of the state is that they are not welcome to their homes due political and bureaucratic hindrance and set up. Besides, there is totally lack of proper infrastructure and environment. Government must realize this and make use of this brain out infrastructure to home.

AAP’s National Convener Arvind Kejriwal had promised to charge tariff only on those units consumed over and above the 300 free ones. Along with AAP supremo, Bhagwant Singh Mann, then state AAP president and now chief minister, and Raghav Chaddha, co-in-charge of Punjab affairs, were also present there. They had promised 300 units of free electricity to all domestic consumers in Punjab. Recent announcement of the AAP government in Punjab about implementation of its promise of 300 units of free power from July 1, but unannounced outages had already started. The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) government has thus played fraud with the people of Punjab in the name of free power. It’s a clear breach of trust and amounts to betraying what they had then promised on June 29 as ‘Kejriwal’s guarantee’.” 

Furthermore, it seems to be a poll gimmick as this announcement is not for the people of Punjab. AAP had used Punjab platform as a launching pad to pave way for its penetration in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. All their assurances were enough white lies to ice a cake.  This is why the announcement has been made three months in advance. Before the polls, the AAP had promised free power up to 600 units for all, but after polls Kejriwal changed his colour faster than a chameleon. It is yet to be seen whether power board will agree to it or not. It is a serious issue as the state is facing a financial as well as power crisis. 

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Terming as poll gimmick the AAP government’s announcement of providing free power to Punjab residents, the question arises: What’s the economic sustainability of the move at a time when the state was already reeling under a financial crisis.

The AAP’s announcement on power subsidy was hollow like a bamboo. The reserved category was already getting 200 units’ free power, what exception did they bring? This announcement is high on rhetoric and low on delivery as nearly 27 lakh consumers were already getting the benefit of 200 units of free power in Punjab and the AAP had added 100 more but with a lot of conditions that many people would not be able to fulfill. The announcement of 300 units of free electricity a month with a rider — if the consumer consumes more than 300 units a month, they will have to pay the full bill — amounted to breach of trust of people. Where is the budgetary allocation and from where will they bring this money?” State government did not have a blueprint for the budget allocation of Rs 6,000 crore under this scheme. Recently, announced power subsidy policy of the state government has put the general category at the receiving end as they would have to pay the full power expense if they consumed over 600 units of two-month billing cycle. Government must explain the reason for not extending the benefit of to all consumers

Socially disadvantaged sections, who were earlier getting 200 units of free power, will get 600 units of free power only if they have load of less than 1 kilowatt. If any of these consumers were filing Income Tax returns, they would not be eligible for getting free power. 

AAP national convener had also promised uninterrupted electricity supply if the AAP came to power in the state. But now hardly any day passes when there is no power tripping and break down varying from an hour to more besides weekly power cut for 6 to 10 hours. All this amounts to lack of preparation on the part of government functionary. 

State government should issue a white paper about their power preparation when in the coming two months, power demand would be 16,000 kilowatt during the paddy sowing season. How planned   on meeting the rise in demand; what’s the current status of the thermal plants in the state and what efforts were being made to ensure coal supply to them. Irony of the fact is that government acts only after something wrong happen which is of no use.

As there is the general saying: “Ab pachhtaye hot kya jab chidiya chug gayi khet ” (What is the use of repenting now when the bird has eaten the harvest)

Dr. Gursharan Singh Kainth

Dr. Gursharan Singh Kainth is Founder–Director of Guru Arjan Dev Institute of Development Studies

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