Fatal loan waivers of Indian politics

loan waivers, Indian politics, congress, BJP, rahul gandhi, narendra Modi, niti ayog, KISAN YATRA, Uttar Pradesh
loan waivers, Indian politics, congress, BJP, rahul gandhi, narendra Modi, niti ayog, KISAN YATRA, Uttar Pradesh

Once when BJP was snubbed by the voters in Himachal Pradesh, senior BJP leader Santha Kumar made one quite interesting statement. He said “we denied GULAB JAMUN to the patient of diabetic and instead offered KARELA JA JUICE and patient got offended”. He was referring to BJP’s purported hard steps, taken to fix long term problems but did not go well with voters in short term.

Notwithstanding that it would have been a monotonous rhetoric of a leader of losing party; Shanta Kumar made a very important point which is no less than a gospel truth in Indian politics.

Ironically, Indian voters are like that diabetic patient only, who prefer to eat a GULAB JAMUN to quench his craving today and ignoring the fact that it would hit him hard in days to come. Politicians make most of this characteristic of voters. Knowing very well that these short term appeasement tactics would have dire consequences in long run, politicians still don’t shy away from them when going get tough for them in the political arena.

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Rahul Gandhi’s latest mega political campaign “KISAN YATRA” in Uttar Pradesh is the latest example. Congress is making desperate attempt to float the sinking ship again in UP. In pursuit RaGa invoked decades old favourite tool of politician and that is loan waiver of farmers. Celebrity poll manager Prashant Kishore pulled a rabbit from the hat in form of KISAAN MAANG PATRA, which has further dramatized the whole matter.

Loan waivers, freebies, subsidies committed by political parties in desperation to regain political ground remains one the biggest menaces to overall ecosystem of the country. Loan waiver is absolute wastage of exchequer’s money; it put banking system in undue pressure, maligns the overall culture on banking/credit system. Those who are very well in position to repay loan, also don’t pay back. They know that someday some politician will be become Robin Hood and let them off the hook. Those who genuinely pay back, feel cheated once waiver is announced.

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Make no mistake. Even farmers are not gaining out of such waivers. First of all only a part of such waivers scheme goes to the deserving lot. Moreover it shuts the door for future loans for farmer. In 1990, Devi Lal announced loan waiver in Haryana. It was a complete disaster and it crippled the whole rural banking system in Haryana as even those who were not eligible to a loan waiver, stopped repaying. So what would happen ultimately is that a farmer with even good intent will not get a loan, when he would genuinely need it.

But Congress and Rahul don’t care. They need to revive at any cost. Who cares about what would happen in future. After all this is tried and tested formula. It did work and won elections for Chandrashekhar Rao and Chandrababu Naidu recently and Rahul believe that it will work for Congress as well. Rahul is following what his predecessors (Indira & Rajiv) have done in past. Once, in a barefaced attempt to have quick political gains in Tamil Nadu, Rajiv Gandhi awarded BHARAT RATNA to MG Ramachandran.

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Little did he care that by doing so, he was demeaning the most coveted and prestigious title of the country. UPA regime had mastered this art and brazenly used short term appeasement tactics. Indian Railway is one glaring example. For years together UPA did not hike ticket prizes, as they feared political backlash and then there was pressure of allies like Mamta Banerjee. The ticket prices were insanely low (they still are). It is no rocket science to understand that any organization would one day collapse if it continues with financially unviable operations for long.

This tactic is very tempting and at times most assertive of politicians fell prey to this. Initially Modi was determined to sail the Land Acquisition Reform bill through. But there came a point where he realized that it may boomerang, his own cadre/RSS was finding it to bitter to handle. Modi gave in despite knowing very well that the bill would be good for country in long run. If patient himself is not appreciating KARELE KA JUICE, then better don’t enforce it.

India is currently marching fast. The GDP has crossed $ 2 Trillion and it is already third largest economy in the world on PPP (Purchase Price Parity) basis. According to CEO of NITI AYOG, Amitabh Kant the economy can well go beyond $ 10 Trillion by the year 2032.

However if something can potentially jeopardize this then it is our politician’s tryst withpopulist but fatal schemes like farmer loan waiver.

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In a democracy, politicians do what voters want them to do. If voters themselves are aligned with short term gains, then politicians can’t entirely be blamed. The diabetic patient himself should reject that tempting sweet and cuddle bitter medicine instead, and the politicians would fall in line and the way Indian democracy is evolving, we are heading towards that situation for sure.

One last word to Congress. In case you really want to resurrect the moribund organization, then please correct the basics and don’t take short cuts like farmer loan waiver. You can listen to the old and evergreen advice, given by the wise people “if you want to really want to be healthy again then please treat the disease and root infection, rather than just treating the symptom”. Farmer loan waiver is just a medicine to supress the symptom of disease only, and the at top of it has serious side effects.

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