Freebies don't improve lives, make people unhealthy: PMK

Chennai, Aug 12 (IANS) Freebies do not improve the living standards of the poor, the PMK said Monday, adding that to finance the freebies, the Tamil Nadu government was increasing alcohol sales, thus adversely impacting the people's health.

In a statement issued here, the PMK said the party's Puducherry unit general secretary R.K.R. Anantharaman told the Election Commission in New Delhi: "When the central and state governments are facing a financial crisis, there is no sufficient money in the state to spend on freebies. In order to pool funds for freebies, the Tamil Nadu government is increasing the sale of alcohol and liquor by Rs.5,000 crore per year."

Following the Supreme Court judgment on promising freebies in poll manifestoes by political parties, the Election Commission had called a meeting of national and state political parties Monday in Delhi to discuss to draft guidelines on manifestos, which would also be part of the Model Code of Conduct during elections.

"Last year alone, the sale of liquor and alcohol was to the tune of Rs.23,000 crore. The consumption of liquor and alcohol causes various health hazards," Anantharaman said.

He said in the current fiscal, the Tamil Nadu government has allocated Rs.45,176 crore towards freebies and subsidies.

"As certain subsidies are very essential, most of the subsidies are only making the common man lazy and not hard working. Except those which are given to students, the rest of the subsidies are not going to fetch any returns, as they are not ideal investments," he told the Election Commission.

Tamil Nadu's debt load is expected to go up to Rs.1,55,129 crore this fiscal and as such, spending around Rs.50,000 crore towards freebies and subsidies will only affect the state's finances, he added.

According to the PMK, the Election Commission should insist that the promises in the election report should be such that enable people to stand on their own legs.

The AIADMK government is handing out free laptops, mixers, grinders and other things to the poor; the earlier DMK government in the state gave away free colour television sets.

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