Sunday, 3 March, 2024

Stop Giving Freebies

Leaders of all hues and stripes have one important responsibility- to serve the nation and people. A leader of high stature always aspires to serve the people and society without seeking monetary benefits from them. A leader will unequivocally gain people's praise and support if he/she serves the people selflessly. The leaders who seek people's mandate to win public offices and positions for undertaking their pro-people, pro-nation projects are always accountable to them. Sometimes, we witness some aberrations in our leaders as they deviate from their important responsibility.

In recent years several of our leaders have indeed drawn flak in recent years for the reasons that have not gone down well with the public at large. They have shown a lust for public money despite receiving allocated perks, remunerations and other facilities which their positions bring to them. According a report, leaders across the political parties, their cadres and well wishers have received a whopping 4 billion rupees in the government freebies within 14 years since 2006. Most of the government largesse was drawn or received in the name of undergoing medical treatment, mostly in foreign countries. Some have received them under financial support. Those who have benefitted include former presidents, former prime ministers and ministers, lawmakers and individuals and some institutions.

Almost all governments that formed after 2006 doled out the state’s funds to the leaders who sought them under financial support heading. What is irritating is the fact that every year the governments have disbursed the freebies more than ceiling capped by the budget. For example, in the fiscal year 2071/2072, the government had set aside Rs 200 million under the economic assistance and support headings, but in the same year Rs 2.51 billion was handed over for the same cause. It clearly shows that the government has miserably failed to curb distribution of freebies. This spending appears to be a tip of an iceberg. Every government since 2006 has shown an appetite to fork out government funds to their leaders, cadres, well-wishers and institutions close to the ruling parties. Such spending has always gone beyond the allocated mark during the tenure almost all governments formed since 2006.

There is no denying that some leaders, lawmakers and individuals do need government's financial support whenever they are afflicted with serious health disorders that require treatment abroad. But sometimes, it has been witnessed that many leaders, who have their access to public freebies, tend to fly abroad even for treating ailments that can be treated at home. As these leaders' show strong urge to make merry on the government freebies, the concerned parliamentary committee and to a large extent the government must try to put a brake on this bad practice. The leaders must be told that the government's funds are actually the tax payers' money that must not be spent without the public consent. While a few leaders, lawmakers, individuals and institutions demand financial support from the state, the government must not act irresponsibly by providing public funds in a wayward manner. It must not fork out public fund by going beyond the allocated limit capped by the sovereign parliament during the fiscal budget presentation. Doling out public fund without seeking the consent of the parliament is indeed a disservice to the people and the nation.