‘How can he reduce tariffs?’ said the opposition. The bureaucrats too muttered some such inanity that appeared to agree with the politicians. The people were confused.
Debates happened on almost all TV channels, every nukkad, and every office lunch-break. Some called it foolhardy while others just said, ‘What’s the harm if we’re getting a benefit.’
‘Harm? Where is he going to find the money for such subsidies? It isn’t just electricity tariffs. He has promised free water as well.’
I said, ‘Listen, he is a tactician and knows the sort of louses people of Delhi have become. He knows that we love free stuff.’
‘So does that mean he gives away everything for free? Delhi will be bankrupt and this is what the finance pundits and the economists say, not me.’
‘The pundits and the economists need to look up and beyond their pedantic outlooks,’ I said. I then explained that behind every freebie there has to be a meaning. Now, as yet every freebie has had a politician’s vested interest behind it… look at all the agri-subsidies or employment generation schemes or the hair-brained beautification schemes… they all had either looming elections supporting them or some lucrative kick-backs that the newspapers keep stumbling upon once in a while.
So what sort of kick-back is this man expecting from these tariff cuts? Kick-backs? No… I think it is all about slyly getting the non-metered homes adopt electricity and water meters. And this is just one of the benefits he just might be able to gift Delhi. The other benefit is that his schemes just might ensure that people get more disciplined in their use of water and electricity… after all, water will be free only if a household uses up to 700 litres in a day. Even the rest of high-consumption households might restrict unnecessary usage as the charges will get steeper for them. So Dilliwalas actually begin to learn their lessons in conservation!
22 January 2014
Note: The toon was done on 01 January 2014… but my laziness delayed the uploading of this post.