Governance with an asterisk
Vikas Upadhyay | 13 Sep 2017

In our college days we have been taught that India is a welfare state but the way the present government is working has shattered my entire notion of "welfare state".

It gives the feeling as if the country is being run like an MNC and the government schemes and policies are the policies with an asterisk sign attached to it.

Now, we can neither take the statements of the Prime Minister on their face value, nor can we trust the government's policies completely, because all have "*conditions applied" to them. Like for example, during demonetisation, the Prime Minister said thousands of times, and even the hoardings to that affect were placed at several locations that your money is safe and you can exchange it till March 2018. But later, a condition came in that you should not have been in India till December 30thto be able to exchange your money and that too if you have got the certificate with regard to the money being carried by you at the immigration while you are entering India.

Similarly, the fuel (Petrol and Diesel) have been told to be made governed by the market price but the condition attached to it is that the government is making huge profit from it as it says that the infrastructure in the Oil Companies are required to be upgraded to be made Bharat VI compatible, however till date the government has not come up with any white paper to show as to how much money is actually required to upgrade the infrastructure of oil companies and how much money has already been collected by this profit. The people of India have right to know whether the windfall profit being made by the Oil Companies is being diverted for purposes other than the up gradation of infrastructure of Companies.

The government also said that the gas subsidy will be transferred directly to the bank accounts, but once we were made to pay the entire amount on the gas cylinder (which includes huge taxes which we pay on each cylinder to the government, which is much more than the subsidy amount) the government gradually started to cut down on subsidy and is rather planning to bring it to ZERO, without disclosing the same to the public.

The government advertised GST on the concept of One Nation One Tax but still kept liquor and fuel (Petrol & Diesel) out of GST and is still charging huge taxes on the said products. Further, on vehicles which have become cheaper after GST the government initially imposed some cess but when inspite of that the prices remained less the government is now planning to impose more cess on it so that the prices come to the pre-GST level. So whatever could have become cheaper is going to be brought to the pre-GST level and what has become expensive has to be borne by you as the GST is apparently for the good of the nation.

In last year the Indian Railways has earned Rs. 1400 Crores only from the cancellation of tickets, that is because in most of the cases the passengers are not allowed to file their TDR, the rules about cancellation are made so opaque that the passengers are not being able to avail the facility.

The Prime Minister of the country asks us all to go digital but when we transfer money through NEFT / IMPS we are made to pay for each transaction, similarly any swipe of debit card invites certain charges which is in addition to the annual charges we all pay for having the said credit or debit card, the deposit of money in the account beyond a particular number invites further charges coupled etc. etc. which all makes the "go digital" idea expensive and makes dealing with cash much more simpler and easy. Further, the poor internet network and the unreliability of server also makes it difficult to trust online payment and even if you use mobile wallet still you end up making it sure that you have enough cash in your physical wallet to take care of your needs and payments.   

It is very important that people have trust in the government and its institutions. The government certainly needs money for its activities and it has every right to collect revenue by way of taxes and other cess but that all has to be transparent and there so be no fine prints or *conditions attached to it as this will only make us all sceptical about the government, its policies and its leaders.