The Government of India has a pretty bleak record on basic amenities. Even within metros and Tier-II cities. The UNICEF says a million (i.e. ten lakhs) infants die every year in India and 40% within a week of their birth. There is so much lacking in the infrastructure for basic amenities here.
The other day, in the middle of the city, people had to put up with party workers occupying and digging up roads (to install a dais and a series of banners) for a few days. The reason - the TN Govt. was launching a new scheme.
Apparently, if you are a ration card holder and qualify for certain conditions, you get free ingredients to make sweet Pongal from the Govt. viz. jaggery, rice, cashews... FREE!
Its interesting what kind of society the Govt. is intent on rearing for the next generation. The kind of family which looks up to the government for free new clothes on festivals, free ingredients for sweets, free TVs to watch special programs. If we keep at this for a decade more, we will eventually reinvent a warcry from the last century - 'FREE'dom is my birthright! Elsewhere when Obama leads Americans towards Change, people in Chennai will still be looking expectantly at the Government for some loose change. By the way, wasn't the existing political philosophy of the state founded on something called the Self-Respect movement? I forget.
Slums next to Teynampet signal still have lanes lined with human feces. Basic healthcare is non existent. Clean drinking water is not free. When all these essentials are not free, Bravo! to the TN Govt. for their free jaggery and cashews for Pongal.
Oh, yes. Its marketing, alright. Election year. But spending on marketing, when the raison d'être of the Government is violated doesn't make much sense, does it? What next? Free pegs at the local TASMAC? Free Gold Flake Kings for Below Poverty Line families?
I just learnt that the origins of this scheme were in 2002 under the previous ADMK regime. Its like both fronts are vying for the top spot!
Ranting like this won't help even a little bit, I know. Crap.