No Right To Cash
We support public funded welfare programs to address specific problems. Namely addressing malnourishment, infant and maternal mortality, child marriages and bonded labour.
We do not support cash transfers. We support universal in-kind welfare programs that are available to all residents without descrimination. We oppose using Aadhaar at points of sale or for any transactional purposes, which leave beneficiaries at the mercy of officials and private partners of the govt welfare programs. We are concerned with Exclusion errors and perpetuation of caste, religious and gender discrimination in the distribution of welfare benefits and hence oppose all forms of targeted welfare. We support universal welfare programs.
Why we supported the National Food Security Bill 2013.
1. PDS is already implemented by States. NFSB merely provides more funds from the Union. We agree with left economists that the increase in spending because of NFSB is close to about 30000 crores per annum and that food is an investment on India's work force and not a freebie.
2. The poor contribute a very significant portion of the Union's tax kitty by way of Indirect taxes (sales and services). We believe tax revenue from such consumption based sources must necessarily be spent on welfare or not imposed at all. A program to nourish those taxpayers and their children, to the extent of ~60% of the population at about 1.2 lakh crores makes a lot of economic sense.
3. Liberals have other solutions to fix PDS by adopting what works in states, namely universal coverage, tighter govt oversight on shops and govt owned transportation. There are about 5 lakh ration shops in the country mostly owned by individuals and few SHGs. My proposal is to allow FCI to open retail shops on a massive scale and encourage organized retailers like SHGs, Amul, HopComs, Karpagam, Food Bazaar, Reliance, Walmart etc to become PDS retailers. There is an incentive for private retailers to become PDS retailers because of volumes and sale of non-PDS items from their stores.
4. We need to make a distinction between,
a. public investments (public schools and hospitals, PDS, polio vaccine) which are necessary,
b. tax exemptions (IT parks, custom/excise duty waivers, income tax deductions, farm income) which are acceptable and
c. freebies (farm loan waivers, free rice, color tv, energy subsidies (electricity, petrol, diesel, LPG, kerosene) which are downright wrong and immoral.
We oppose cash transfers and freebies. We support universal in-kind welfare.
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