The misled, misinformed middle class - Good one by ET

The middle class which heavily backed the Aam Aadmi party (AAP) during the Delhi elections appears to be having some second thoughts for a whole host of reasons. Let me address two of these pet peeves in this piece: We don’t like the subsidies for power and electricity, AAP is the B-team of the Congress and is being used by them to stop the Modi juggernaut.

I’ll start with the last one first, as it’s the easiest and the more ridiculous of the two. Firstly, these conspiracy theorists must ask themselves these questions: Who had the guts to expose Robert Vadera? It is an accepted reality that everyone (including those in the media and the BJP veterans in Delhi) knew about Mr. Vadera’s dealings but no one but Arvind Kejriwal had the wherewithal to stand up to the high and mighty, and put everything at risk to bring to light serious charges of corruption. Besides, the ministers of the UPA government, most of whom were from the Congress, was also exposed by the then Team Anna. Would the B-team of the Congress strike at the very heart of the Congress? It just does not make sense whatsoever.

Next, let’s look at the subsidy question. The total electricity subsidy announced by the AAP when in power in Delhi works out to about Rs. 242 crores out of a total Rs. 40,000 crores annual Delhi budget. It is arguable that any sort of subsidy is questionable because ultimately it is funded by the taxpayer’s money. But a little bit of research will reveal that while there are visible subsidies like the one announced by the former AAP government in Delhi, there are other camouflaged subsidies that quietly pass unnoticed.

Take the case of the Delhi Golf club (DGC) which is situated in the heart of Delhi on 179 acres of prime land provided on lease by the Central Government. In 2012, the lease period was extended till 2050, when DGC had requested to increase their lease to a fifty years term starting from 2021! The current lease will expire in 2020. It came to light that the land roughly valued at Rs.46,722 crores had been leased out to DGC for a paltry sum of Rs.5.82 lakh per annum through 2050! In other words, the government is financing the DGC with a more than generous gift. Not surprisingly, the DGC has on its board of directors a host of central government nominees.

Despite all this, can you compare the amount of media coverage on the DGC issue to the endless, hairsplitting op-ed pieces from so-called pundits over the 242 crore subsidy of the AAP government? Unfortunately, the fact that the benefits extended to DGC serves an exclusive “rich man’s club” while the electricity subsidy that benefits 28 lakhs of the 34 lakhs power consumers does not seem to factor anywhere in the equation.

One could argue that both are subsidies and two wrongs don’t make a right. Fair enough. But when subsidies are on the chopping block, every single one of them that qualifies as a subsidy must be open to debate. Unfortunately, India’s governance and politics has deteriorated to such an extent that those with connections in high places like the DGC routinely walk away with sweet deals spread over decades, while the aam aadmi is left to fend for himself.

To be fair, some members of the opposition did raise the issue about the DGC but nothing ever came out of it. It is more than likely that the opposition wanted a piece of the action as much as those in power and were never serious about completely fixing the core issue. In other words, had they been in power, they would have more than likely done the exact same thing and extracted their own share of benefits. The DGC is not a new invention and has been around for decades. It has survived the patronage and support of various governments at the center.

The truth is that no government ever thought of this as a gross injustice despite the fact that people were struggling even for basic amenities like clean, uninterrupted water and power supply, shelter, and women’s security. Not many kilometers away from where the DGC is located, you have people dying in the cold each winter. On the one hand, you have Aam Aadmis who are struggling without even the basic “lifeline“ water and electricity. On the other, you have Khaas Aadmis enjoying golf on a tax payer subsidy. If you are one of those out there complaining about the AAP's subsidies, then you need a serious reality check.

The DGC issue is just one example. Look around the country at each golf course (for starters!) and you can be sure to find similar buried subsidies for the rich and famous. The middle class needs to think beyond the anti-AAP rhetoric in the media. Their initial support for the AAP was not misplaced. All they need to do is look beyond the headlines and it will be obvious that there has been no greater champion for their cause than the AAP. Don’t succumb to the Law of the Middle Class (See Law #9). more  

View all 10 comments Below 10 comments
Yes AAP is in the minbds of the people as an alternative, so our efforts ashould be focussed on people direct interaction and discussion, probably they will get that little confidence in AAP when we are in front of them rather than the regular poster boys of politics. more  
Thanks Seema for sharing this great piece of information. Everybody consider at the core that AAP is an alternate who can rightly address their issues. more  
Tanvir ji,If APP has lured their and supporting MPs with cash rich departments, Sops, and other benefit just to keep their support,then what is the difference between AAP & other parties. APP taught a lesson to all political parties that this is the way to do if your not allowed to do what you want to do in favor of people .This is the value based politics.And they did it rightly. more  
Media has been fed money like never before in the history of television, so they will always speak for BJP in their favour and try to tarnish AAP image by calling all sorts of names like B Team of Congress. more  
Excellent article. Seema, thanks for posting it. :-) more  
Post a Comment

Related Posts

    • Good Budget announcement on Citizen Charter for Tax payers

      This was a good move announced by FM. Can we please share our inputs via this circle as the subject has been extensively discussed. The feedback for what should be in charter of citizens should com...

      By Reeta Kumar
      /
    • Shared this from Transforming India

      Every member of the circle please vote on this poll. The Govt needs to know whether or not NRC will cause corruption problems.

      By Naina Mittal
      /
    • corruption in bocw deptt.

      there is rampant corruption in every state to issue labour licenses as well as permit under bocw as well as migrant workers license.the fee is fixed per person;even though the procedure is to apply...

      By Suresh Dasarathy
      /
    • Corruption under BOCW act is a must

      I am writing this on behalf of my husband who is in the EPC business. According to him corruption under BOCW act is a must. BOCW stands for benefits of construction worker and all busin...

      By Sandhya Agarwal
      /
    • Reliance Finance lending to indirectly linked borrowers

      There is attached news today saying that Reliance Home Finance lent 12000 crores of money to a set of potentially indirectly linked borrowers? Who the hell is investigating this. How many more bad ...

      By Amit Mishra
      /
    • Fighting Corruption from close to two decades

      Am an Architect who lived I Dubai close to 30 years and got back in 2003. I have been fighting corruption for close to two decades and have couple of cases in court that I filed. I also have a case...

      By Ajit Ramchandran
      /
    • Medical Corruption

      So when the doctors are exposed for taking bribes for prescribing ton of medicines of a particular type their association comes back and threatens whistel blowers. Imagiine your own fami...

      By Bharat Lal
      /
    • Excellent Detailed Report

      By LocalCircles and Transparency India on corruption in out country. http://bit.ly/indiacorruptionsurvey2019-...

      By Ruchika L Maheshwari
      /
    • Accountability of Lokpal body

      Lokpal is paying Rs 50 lakh a month as rent to 5 star luxury AshokaHotel in Delhi for office space. It occupies 12 rooms in the hotel & in last 7 month looked into over 1000 complaint of corrup...

      By Ruchika L Maheshwari
      /
    • Corruption in India

      Folks this is the survey of localcircles site and well describes state of affairs on ground. This should be shared and reshared so it reaches PM Modi

      By Ruchika L Maheshwari
      /
    • Addressing Political Corruption - Inputs needed

      The nation is watching Maharashtra and seeing how every political party is keen to come in power. Political Corruption is one of the leading form of corruption in India and is one of the primary re...

      By Transparency International India
      /
Share
Enter your email & mobile number and we will send you the instructions

Note - The email can sometime gets delivered to the spam folder, so the instruction will be send to your mobile as well

Please select a Circle that you want people to invite to.
Invite to
(Maximum 500 email ids allowed.)