Jag Venugopal's Blog

March 12, 2013

India’s a more advanced welfare state than even Sweden

Filed under: India — Jag @ 10:41 pm

Take that USA! India now even beats Sweden in being a welfare state. How you may ask? Well, in which other country do they distribute laptops like candy?

OK, let’s rewind. The head goon Chief Minister of one of India’s poorest states had a brain wave. Why not leapfrog the other Chief Ministers of the great motherland in showing how much he cared for his people? Others merely handed out bicycles, blenders, sarees, television sets and the like as government largesse. Akhilesh Yadav decided to hand out laptops to everyone that passed tenth grade. And each laptop has his face and his pop’s face plastered on it. How convenient!

Distributing laptops has significant advantages. For one, you don’t need to deal with pesky contractors as you would have to if you decide to improve sanitation, roads, and access to water. Secondly, the visible benefits are immediate, without the usual legal circus that accompanies any real project designed to benefit people. Third, real projects take time. And by the time they are complete, your rival could be in power and take all the credit. Ergo, the laptop giveaway! A final side benefit of laptops is that they tend to be small, yet expensive. All the bribes you could make on a large project can be made quickly and less obviously by purchasing high-ticket electronics.

Sarcasm aside, it is a crying shame that a Chief Minister is allowed to take the people’s money and hand out expensive goodies to a minuscule section of the population. This in a state and country crying out for basic necessities such as clean air, water, sewers, roads and access to basic education.

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