The AIADMK and DMK Gift Shower; experts point out financial implications

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Loaded with grants and gifts to woo the electorate ahead of the April 6 elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly, the populist electoral platform of rivals DMK and AIADMK is also being debated for the financial implications on an already heavily indebted state.

With the late DMK leader M Karunanidhi’s ‘hero’ manifesto from 2006 that promised, among other things, free color televisions, virtually setting the trend for similar races in the future, Tamil Nadu has seen it all — free laptops , dairy cows, mixer-grinder and gold for thali (mangal sutra) among others.

Also in 2021, the Dravidian majors chose to make a slew of promises labeled “free,” a more politically correct term used to describe giveaways by supporters of such largesse.

The two parties – AIADMK in search of a record third term and DMK foreseeing a strong combeack after a decade of opposition, converged not only on these freebies, but also on other contentious issues such as repeal. of the law amending the law on citizenship and the release of seven convicted persons. in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

Free washing machine, housing for all, solar cookers, exemption from education loans, government jobs for families with no one in the service of the State, etc. reserve 75 percent of jobs for locals and forego various loans and provide various aids.

The two have pledged a phased ban in a state whose coffers are largely filled with alcohol sales, even as DMK’s ally Congress has pledged to implement the dry regime soon after the installation of the “new government”, apparently led by DMK, after the elections.

Economically, however, experts believe the new government will inherit the mantle of huge tax debt and the burden of balancing development programs and finding new funds for insurance polls.

He will face several challenges, especially amid the apprehension of the post-election second wave of covid-19, while AIADMK and DMK argue their assurances will turn into government projects when they are elected to power.

“In my opinion, the giveaways announced by both parties are phenomenal. I wonder if anyone made a financial burden calculation if the party implemented all of its promises when it came to power,” said Mr. R. Sivaraman. , former secretary of Union revenue. .

In an apparent reference to AIADMK, he said that “one party” has promised a government post to one person from each family with no one on duty.

“This was apparently announced without verifying the reality of the number of households in the state. Imagine the tax liability the government would accumulate in terms of salaries for all government employees if thousands of households were housed,” a- he told PTI.

Madras School of Economics principal and professor KR Shanmugam says one-time gifts may not strain the economy in the long run.

“Recurrent spending in the form of implementing populist plans can require a huge volume of funds and could leave the government with little time and resources to devote to other development activities,” he said. .

When poll pledges become government programs, the government will develop a funding model to improve people’s lives, he said.

The state government has done very well to improve the situation during the pandemic and has made the conditions operational to revive the economy, he noted.

“Tamil Nadu’s economy is expected to register a positive growth rate of 2.02% in 2020-2021 at a time when the country faces a negative growth rate of 7.7%,” he said. .

Agreeing that there were apprehensions of a second wave of COVID-19, he said its effect on the economy was questionable.

Claiming that many AIADMK assurances are part of ongoing social assistance programs, former minister and party spokesman S Vaigaiselvan said the funding will never be a constraint for the government-led government. left.

“The performance of the Palaniswami government, the electoral manifesto and our achievements will secure us a third consecutive victory,” said Vaigaiselvan, also the party’s candidate in the Aruppukottai Assembly constituency.

The DMK is also confident of meeting the financial demands to implement its multitude of populist promises.

“Our leader, Deputy Stalin and the electoral manifesto are the two heroes of this election to the Assembly. Our electoral assurances are achievable,” said DMK spokesman A Saravanan.

On Tamil Nadu’s huge debt burden of around Rs 5.70 lakh crore by March 2022, he said that “the debts and borrowing are due to financial mismanagement on the part of the government. lack of administrative efficiency. Corruption has also played a huge role “.

Incidentally, DMK’s manifesto, released on March 13, said that the implementation of all promises was possible by rooting out corruption, pursuing measures such as austerity and increasing tax revenues.

Pointing out that the history of such populist promises in the state dates back to 1967, when DMK founder CN Annadurai secured three measures of rice for Re 1 through the public distribution system, BJP Vice Chairman M Chakravarthy, claimed that the party did not implement it when it stormed into power then.

After coming to power, the party changed its slogan to “moondru padi latchiyam, oru padi nichayam” (3 padi (about 1.5 kg) is the goal, 1 padi is certain) “, he said. .

“The DMK also failed to keep its promise of two acres of land to the landless poor (made in 2006). But the AIADMK has fulfilled almost all of its election assurances,” said the leader of the BJP, whose party is an ally of AIADMK. .

The BJP is fighting the elections to ensure that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development and welfare initiatives also reach Tamil Nadu.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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