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Patriotism can be unbound and unchained astronomically
After the formation of Narendra Modi-led government at New Delhi, a few patriots gave a clarion online and media orchestrated call requesting the affluent customers availing the LPG subsidy to voluntarily surrender the rights.
It is not known how many crores of the well to do patriots responded to this nationalistic call. It cannot but be insignificant, going by the past experiences. Only about 2 lakh Indians out of 30 cr courted arrest during Quit India Movement in 1942. It was a similar pathetic story in the aftermath of Emergency declared in 1975.

While the nationalists are so much agitated over the Central government's annual subsidy of Rs 22,000 cr on LPG (2010-11), the scores of undeserving subsidies quietly enjoyed by the affluent sections went unnoticed by the patriots. I list out a few of them for the kind attention of the nation saviours. Please note that the list is only illustrative and not exhaustive.

Diesel subsidy given for the poor farmers and public transport has been benefiting diesel car owners, telecom towers, diesel generators and others who do not merit. Subsidised fuel and that too on credit for aviation sector is another cruel joke. The revenue foregone by the government annually on 'diamond and gold'- the basic minimum needs - stands at Rs 66,000 crore only.

As taxpayers, all of us are familiar with an animal called 80C, which is the tax deduction we get if we invest in certain products like mutual funds and insurance policies. All told, that revenue forgone adds up to more than Rs 30,000 crore.

Add all the other implicit subsidies like health insurance or interest on loans taken for higher education, and the figure rises to almost Rs 37,000 crore. This is a subsidy for those earning Rs 20 lakh and above a year. As much as Rs 70, 000 crore is lost to the exchequer in the name of fertilizer subsidy. Most of this money, however, goes into the coffers of fertilizer companies and wealthy farmers. Organic farming duly supported by RSS and Swadeshi Jagran Manch can shut out this subsidy at once.

How many of us paid market rates to get our degrees and doctorates? We go abroad, pay Rs 1 crore for our degrees- and get the government to forgo revenue of Rs 316 crore (deduction on account of interest on loan taken for higher education, under Section 80E). About Rs 20000 crore worth subsidy each year is provided by state electricity boards for domestic connections.

State subsidies to the Hi-Fi private schools & hospitals are meant for the affluent sections. Subsidised education from high end institutions like IIT, NIT, AIIMS, IISc and business management schools is state sponsored for the IPL class. Add the subsidy to city clubs, cigar clubs, golf clubs, BCCI, IPL, Formula One Racing etc and tax/duty concessions to ultra-luxurious SUVs for tourism industry. The cars imported for tourism are liberally used by the high and mighty without an ounce of shame.

Modi Sarkar has decided to say a good bye to the Planning Commission because we are in a free-market economy unleashed in 1991. In the liberalised, privatised and globalised economy, the state has no business to interfere in business matters. We are told that competition is the sole mantra and there cannot be any more free lunch. Survival of the fittest is the golden law and market forces will act according to the supply & demand situations in the LPG era without the blessings of a Mai-Baap Sarkar.

But the reality is strikingly different in respect of the corporate sector. Mai-Bap Sarkars of UPA-I & II and NDA-II in the LPG era have given continued state supports worth Rs 41 lakh crore under the head Revenue Foregone (Corporate Income Tax, Excise & Custom) from 2005-06 to 2014-15 through the Union budgets to our big ticket Lalas.

The provisional figure written off for the corporate needy and the belly-aching better off is Rs 5,72,923 crore in the union budget for 2014-15. Or Rs 5.32 lakh-crore if you leave out something like personal income tax, which covers a relatively wider group of people.

It's close to three times the amount said to have been lost in the 2G scam. About four times what the oil marketing companies claim to have lost in so-called "under-recoveries" in 2012-13. Almost five times what this year's budget earmarks for the PDS. Over 15 times what's been allocated for the MNREGS. And over 10 times the money needed to improve sanitation across 118 towns and 1649 village panchayats situated on the banks of Ganga. It's the biggest giveaway, an unending free lunch that's renewed every year. Gee, it's legal, too. It is government policy. It's in the Union Budget.

On an average, Rs 1457 cr worth of free-bies is doled out to corporates each calendar day. And an hourly dole of Rs 61 cr. All in the name of incentives to step up production and employment. Neither has been achieved is the stark reality. Mutual scratching is the funda of this free lunch in LPG era. Let the competition and hard work go to dogs. Believe me these doles will not make our Seths lazy.

And it is the largest conceivable transfer of wealth and resources to the wealthy and the corporate world that the 'nationalists' almost never look at.

Illegal state patronage in allotting mines to corporates is a phenomenon well known to all of us, thanks to CAG, media, NGOs and Supreme Court. While the giant steel makers like SAIL, Tatas and Jindals get their iron ore requirements at the rate of Rs 500 per ton from their captive mines, their less fortunate brothers get the same ore at Rs 5000 per ton. But those who enjoy the Rs 4500 per ton unlawful state support do not pass on the benefits to the people.

The story is similar in the case of power generators having captive coal mines and those without. The state purchases power at a particular rate from all producers conveniently ignoring the free lunch provided to the lucky Lalas.

Banks are very severe on common people in recovering the loans. Humiliation and insults from the recovery mechanisms are very common if you are a pretty ordinary citizen. But the state-owned banks have written off loans worth more than one lakh crore rupees in the last one decade. 95% of the benefits went to big corporates. The Himalayan NPAs pertaining to big defaulters are carefully kept under wrap. Is it not the mantra of 'the survival of the strongest'?

For want of space, neither the free-bies showered on the sellers of education, health & God and real estate sharks nor the lottery offered to the chosen few in the name of Discretionary Quota nor the mother of all loots ingeniously called as SEZ is elaborated here.

My humble request to our patriotic brigade is this: Instead of frittering away their valuable time and energy in opposing petty subsidies on cooking gas, rice, kerosene etc, they should rather target the mega free-bies enjoyed by the millionaires and billionaires in the Liberalised-Privatised-Globalised era under all governments including the Modi Sarkar.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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