The Upper middle class in India is not particularly appreciative of the programmes such as Food Security and NREGA. They see it as a wastage of public money or more specifically the tax payers’ money. Their logic is : Why waste money on something which doesn’t create any asset or on someone who can’t fend for himself or herself!
On the face of it, the logic seems powerful. But, it’s NOT.
Subsidies don’t stop at food itself.
In developed countries, where people have ample to eat, the people have turned obese. The obesity in many developed countries have reached to such percentages (half or two-thirds of the population) that the Government has to think of providing money incentives to obese people to lose the excess body weight. Some countries such as England are even sending people to weight loss programmes such as weight watchers to help money skint to lose the excess body weight. The idea is: If they don’t give subsidy at weight loss; then the Government will have to spend more money on treating the diseases linked to obesity.
In short, subsidy doesn’t stop at food itself. Even people who can fend for themselves or businesses who make millions every year are also provided subsidies in various forms.
In short, Subsidy is not for poor, it’s for anyone struggling in something, which is considered necessary for survival. For poor, that necessity is Food.
Let I wrap the thoughts with NREGA (or National Rural Employment Guarantee Act).
BJP always makes mockery of it as a programme which doesn’t create any valuable assets. That’s why it propagates the scheme as a waste of taxpayers’ money.
This is simple misinformation.
NREGA is not meant for asset creation. It’s a simply a way to provide job security to those, who have none. The job security is important as feeding someone without making him/her work, is not satisfying for the person. In addition, since real money is necessary for other necessities as well, hence Governments offer job security to unskilled or semi-skilled people. In simple, NGREA is not for asset creation, it’s to employ that person who has no skills to get a job elsewhere. It’s a way of creating jobs, when there are no real jobs offered by private, public or unorganized sector. The concept of NREGA is based on an Economic theory, which says that, if there’s rampant unemployment in a country, the Government should make people dig ditches and refill them. And at the end of the day, pay the person. That’s creating a job for them, just for the sake of employment.
It’s quite understandable that a large section of our fellow countrymen have remained unskilled. May be they are not that fortunate as we are, who had the privilege to take education up to College, at very Subsidized rates (Education Subsidy provided by Government).