A campaign upended
Apropos of the editorial “Modi is the message” (FE, April 8), the Bharatiya Janata Party seems to have upended the very tenet of campaigns per se. It had all along been demanding that it is the electorate that must come up with “people’s manifesto” of electing Narendra Modi as the next prime minister of the country! Sanity seems to have now visited the BJP. It realises that it is the party that makes promises to people and not the other way round. The much belaboured document of the BJP has at last seen the light of the day, at sunset time. Enthusiasts of the development driven agenda were perhaps hoping to cross the parlous straits of 2014, purely on the strength of this assiduously engineered “veneer”. They forget that it is the plank that carries the veneer, not vice-versa. That a party plank built and seasoned through years of extreme political climes can only be set aside in an act of political harakiri ought to have dawned much earlier on the BJP collective. They practically fell between two stools. For the BJP, this episode coming under fading light has attendant damage.
Your recent editorial “Responsible budgeting” has rightly cautioned the future government to work on controlling government expenditure on populist social welfare plans like food subsidies that will bite the exchequer’s purse in a huge way. Subsidies make people expect the government to provide them even the basic necessities which, otherwise, they would have to work to earn. Increased expenditure on health, education and infrastructure are fruitful to educate people and to create employment. While they serve to bring the population up to a minimum standard, continuing with them beyond what is necessary and making freebies out of them is counter-productive. Hence the expenditure on subsidies must be gradually reduced in budgets. Again the concept instead of “train a man to fish instead of giving him” fish stands valid.
Cast it away
This refers to the recent column by Surjit Bhalla “Election 2014—what's happening?” During the World Conference Against Racism in 2001 in Durban, South Africa, a group of academicians and representatives of NGOs said: “Caste discrimination is racism and more.” As a first step towards ending social evils like caste discrimination, the political class should stop playing the communal and caste card for their vote bank. The states and the Centre should look at