Watch out for populism

This refers to the Editorial ‘Populism pushes out true welfare in State budgets’ ( February 28). It is disturbing to learn that poll-bound Telangana and Karnataka have offered several ‘freebies’, instead of focussing on long-term social assets.

This is being done solely with an eye on grabbing power. It also goes without saying that the other three poll bound States — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh may soon come out with all-alluring offers for voters.

However, for politicians banking on short-terms gains may prove counter productive in the long run.

SK Gupta

New Delhi

The freebie culture taking deep roots, with parties across the political spectrum resorting to competitive populism, is a matter of grave concern. The Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Telangana budgets, with freebies galore aimed at enticing voters, are a case in point.

While free meals for schoolchildren and free bus rides for women have their benefits ranging from increasing the enrolment rate of children in schools to empowering women, political parties often fail to distinguish between welfare and populism. It is time political parties shun populism and focus on the welfare of the people in its truest sense.

M Jeyaram

Sholavandan (TN)

Freebie worries

The editorial ‘Freebie culture’ (February 28) seems an easy route for politicians to secure the perks of power.

As regards the declining ratio of revenue expenditure in some States, one wonders whether it is the result of fiscal prudence or some innovative accounting mechanism at play.

RBI could consider rating States on fiscal parameters with negative scores for freebies while encouraging greater expenditure on health and education.

States ranking higher could be eligible for more attractive borrowing terms and funding from the Centre. Similarly ranking could be done on aspects like quality roads and ease of living as is being done for cities under Swachh Survekshan. This could lead to better governance in the true sense.

V Vijaykumar


Advantage trams

Apropos ‘Tram scores over e-bus’ (February 28), the tram once running in major cities were scrapped being dubbed as a snail mover. E-bike, e-scooter, e-bus have become the norms of the day in fighting pollution and carbon reduction. Metros are making in-roads in Tier-I and Tier-II cities.

West Bengal and Maharashtra introduced e-buses which have fancy looks. The cost of replacement of batteries of e-buses is huge and safe disposal of used batteries is another big question.

No doubt, establishing tram routes with overhead electrical equipment requires one time investment with dedicated routes on the road surface. It does not require any dedicated stations.

Carrying capacity of trams will be higher than e-buses. Trams can withstand extreme weather conditions which e buses may not. Life-span of trams is more than e-buses which require periodical maintenance and replacement of cables and tyres.

RV Baskaran