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Freebies is a thing or service that is provided free of charge. The political parties promise to offer free electricity, water supply, free medicines, insurance, monthly allowance to the unemployed, laptops, free network, etc. in order to secure the vote in their favor.

During last few years, some parties are making Freebie as the practice for making government with the agenda of providing free food grains, free hospital treatment, free electricity, free food, etc. to its citizen. To some extent, it is good but for long term it may hamper the economic growth of state and nation. For example, the Sri Lanka government had cut taxes and provided free goods and services without taking proper care of economic status of the nation. This resulted in collapse of economy of Sri Lanka. For long period, it will lead in financial burden to nation leading to indebtedness.

Arguments in favour of Freebies:

  1. Freebies facilitate the growth. There are some expenses made by state or central government which leads to economic growth. For example, public Distribution System, where there is free distribution of wheat, sugar, rice etc. helps in growth of individual, NAREGA, free covid test during the pandemic etc. have shown the overall growth of economy. Such practices improves the productivity of people and build a healthy and stronger workforce, which results in achieving the set goals towards family and nation.
  2. Freebies also boost industrial growth of nation. There are many states like Tamil Nadu, Bihar, etc. which provides sewing machines, cycles, and saris. This results in an increase in sale of such industries.
  3. Many states are providing free laptops, books, Internet access, etc. which helps in building talented doctors, scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers to nation. Freebies can be considered as investing in children education for nation.
  4. Freebies help the states which are less developed and have high poverty rates or high unemployment. In such states, freebies surely help in the reduction of inequality and help in improving the standard of living. Many states provide building free toilets, roads, etc. This will people to stay healthy and improve the required standard of living.

Arguments against the Freebies:

  1. The Freebies bring a lot of expenses by state or central government. These affect the financial condition of state. If states spend without any control and accountability, it will hamper the growth of nation and hence the breakdown of economy. For example, in Sri Lanka, there were cut of taxes and free education, distribution of goods, etc. without any properly controlled system. And hence lead to failure in economic growth.
  2. The huge borrowings by state or central for Freebie will reduce the financial reserves which government can use in emergency or any pandemic.
  3. The promise of irrational freebies from public funds influences the voters and right candidate may not be voted which may bring better economic and social growth to nation.
  4. The freebies also have given birth to increase in corruption rate. For example, in PDS, goods like rice, sugar, wheat etc. hardly reaches to the needy people. There are people who sell such goods in market at higher price. Hence, it does raises the corruption and black marketing.
  5. Freebies gives rise to unethical practice as it is like giving bribes for vote.
  6. Freebies like free water, free electricity, etc. do affects the environment. An individual pays a high attention to expenses when cut from his own pocket. But, when same services are provided at free, people hardly pays attention is conserving water, saving electricity etc. It affects environmental and sustainable growth adversely. It is human tendency to use service or things in excess when provided for free.
  7. The freebie is also provided to hide the underperformance of political parties. Many parties make promises but fail to keep on their promises. Such parties provide free cylinders, free food, etc. so that people don’t switch their vote to other parties.

Issues with Freebie Politics:

  1. The freebies announced or provided to people are not coming from the pockets of any political parties but from the taxpayers. Hence the burden of freebies is directly or indirectly on public itself.
  2. The fiscal deficit of all the nation is increasing at an alarming rate. In such case, providing freebie can be breakdown and collapse of economy.
  3. According to CRISIL report, many states are in debt and financially deficit. This will make state unable to spend on capital expenditure like building roads, public infrastructure, hospital etc.
  4. The major issue and challenge with freebie practice is it gives a way to growth of corruption. There Is leakage of goods, funds etc. and hence the actual benefits of providing freebies doesn’t reach the mass.


Recently, as per RBI, states like Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Bihar, and Kerala are at risk fiscally. It is warned the financial risk from freebies is highest in the case of Punjab. There is a need to take a stand by the state government for judicious and efficient use of freebies.

It is very important to understand that India is a large country where a large section of people is under the poverty line and are employed. Such groups of people can’t be ignored. The freebie should be given judiciously and sensibly. The leakage and corruption should be regularly checked. The freebie can be harmful for the long term and hence, there is a need to check and stop unproductive forms of welfare spending. The freebies in the case of PDS, MNAREGA, free education, free insurance, etc. helps in overall economic and social growth. however, it has some negative impacts that can spoil and slower the economic growth of a nation if freebies are spent without any limit, control, or process in long term.

The freebie can be effectively managed by making people aware to not misuse such services. There are many people who don’t fall under the category of below-poverty people but still taking the advantage of the Public distribution system.

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