Friday, 22 March 2013

There are somethings money can't buy !

A few days back our government made a change that was amongst the most crucial and the most trendsetting of changes that any government is ever likely to make on a social front. I'm talking about the Direct Cash Transfer scheme which is all set to render the existing public distribution system obsolete and which in all probabilities will spur an entirely new system of government aided distribution. Although the prospect of transferring the tantamount amount to the bank accounts seems to be a more plausible concept than providing subsidies, there is an inherent flaw - one that is capable of demolishing our whole society within a couple of years.

Whereas the pre-existent public ration system supposedly ensured that people get the requisite amount of grains,cereals and other basic desiderata at highly subsidized rates to sustain their petty lives, the new system would deter them from getting the subsidies on purchase and would instead transfer the amount to their bank accounts that ostensibly would be linked to their Aadhar Identification cards.This would undoubtedly whim away most of the corruptibility that was so prevalent in the previous system, it has the capability of defeating the very purpose of the new system. We, on one hand are ready to give these destitute,deprived and tormented souls a way to control their lives and manage their money, but we fail to realize that they are in no position to know how to use it.

The families which are entitled to these benefits are the ones who have have been literally savaged by circumstances and have the least of considerations about their future, be it long term or short term. The demographics of these families are both varied and vivid and yet if there is a common link, it lies in their value system. Their value system and their credos are ones that have been created and generated in their own niche environments. For them, its not about living a better life tomorrow, but about just living through today and living through today in the best possible manner. Life, for them, is no more a present, but just another obligation that needs to be fulfilled with the least possible compunction. It is this very underpinning that we have to be considerate about.

These families, which have long been deprived of money, will know no way to use that money.They are extremely weak on pecuniary management. Till now, it was about the food and the food was something that had an inherent capability of being vehemently distributed in an equitable manner. But now, when it will come to money, it would be the guardian who gets to have his/her say depending on whether its a patriarchy or matriarchy. Subsequently, the guardians who incessantly have only been considerate about their present just because they sensed no future, would contrive the possibility of bettering their present lives by using this money. However, for them it would not be about shelter or clothing but about the savory and ephemeral luxuries that were once inaccessible. In an instant, most of the newly earned money would be spent on liquor,tobacco and other stuff from the similar cohort. Consequently, this temptation of using a more than justified sum of money on personal pleasures would outweigh any considerations about the iniquities vested on the family. Slowly and slowly, these habits would become inveterate and would spread over all the members irrespective of their ages. This would eventually take their share of grain from them and would make them addictive to privileges which after a point of time, they won't be able to afford.

This is not merely about the lackadaisical value system but about the vicissitudes of life. These families would never have a reason to believe that saving the money or spending the money more judicially would do any good. This is because in their communities, money saved today would be robbed by others tomorrow. Hence, they'll have no other way but to spend it as soon as possible and in as rewarding a way as possible. They would eventually become incorrigible as this may be the only way of living a life. We, as the upper strata of the so-called society, have to understand that these sections are not capable of a cultural retribution. They, in fact depend upon us for any upheaval or any direction. And by giving them cash in lieu of subsidies, we'll be doing nothing but sending them in an avenue whose consequences are hard to conjure.

Now the question is to find a suitable replacement. Although the existent system obviously has its vagaries and flaws, it has worked well to some extent for quite a lot of time. If scrapping subsidies on sale is the only viable option, a monitoring unit will have to be setup to make sure that the families are using the balance in their bank account for the things that they are actually supposed to buy.Most probably, the concept of after sale subsidy transfer, which means that the requisite subsidy would be transferred to the account only after making a purchase,would be the best bet. However, that would mean that these families would first have to shed their pockets, which again is an quixotic proposition given their state. Hence, a pre-sale subsidy transfer could be done with due and stringent checks on the manner in which the allotted capital is spent. To encourage healthy spending habits,families who tend to save and use only as much as needed should be rewarded with extra inflow and such incidents should also be duly promulgated. Once again, its upon us to realize that these families will do what we direct them to do. Their fate may be sealed by us, buts its them who complete the fabric of our nation.

This post was written as a part of the #iDiya initiative. Here's the link for the same.
http://www.isb.edu/idiya/