Venkaiah dis­ap­proves of com­pet­i­tive pop­ulism

Calls for struc­tural changes to sus­tain­ably in­crease in­comes

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Re­porter

Com­pet­i­tive pop­ulism among po­lit­i­cal par­ties and of­fers of loan waivers and free power in the run-up to elec­tions are just tem­po­rary so­lu­tions that do not ad­dress the need for struc­tural changes to sus­tain­ably de­velop in­comes in the coun­try, Vice-Pres­i­dent Venkaiah Naidu said on Sun­day.

‘Short-term fixes’

De­liv­er­ing the Chief Guest ad­dress at The Hud­dle, a thought con­clave or­gan­ised here by The Hindu, he said: “Prom­ises of free power mean that first we’ll get low power and then no power... Loan waivers [sim­i­larly] are tem­po­rary so­lu­tions. Farm­ers need credit ev­ery sea­son. What we need are struc­tural changes.” Pop­ulist mea­sures may have short­term po­lit­i­cal gains, but lead to long-term eco­nomic prob­lems as they are “un­pro­duc­tive,” he said.

Mr. Naidu termed them “com­pet­i­tive pop­ulism” that is fraught with “tall and im­prac­ti­cal” pro­grammes. “We’re sup­posed to be a ma­ture democ­racy. But peo­ple get away with these prom­ises and hand­ing out lol­lipops to vot­ers,” he said.

Vice-Pres­i­dent M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sun­day sought a code of con­duct for me­dia per­son­nel to con­tain sen­sa­tion­al­i­sa­tion of news and the scourge of paid news, as well as one for in­dus­try and cor­po­rate or­gan­i­sa­tions to “weed out” in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies that had tar­nished the im­age of the coun­try through eco­nomic of­fences.

He was ad­dress­ing The Hud­dle, a thought con­clave or­gan­ised by The Hindu, in Bengaluru.

Dur­ing his speech, pep­pered with trade­mark catch­phrases and wit­ti­cisms, Mr. Naidu also stressed the need for the three wings of democ­racy, the ex­ec­u­tive, leg­is­la­ture and the ju­di­ciary, to main­tain the del­i­cate bal­ance as en­vi­sioned by the framers of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

“Now you are see­ing the trend of one wing en­croach­ing on the other while for­get­ting its own re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. No­body should en­croach into the do­main of oth­ers,” said Mr. Naidu.

Sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment was the theme of his ad­dress, with the Vice-Pres­i­dent point­ing out that de­spite the pos­i­tive im­pact of govern­ment pro­grammes and poli­cies, the coun­try should ask it­self if the eco­nomic growth has been in­clu­sive, par­tic­u­larly in ru­ral ar­eas and those en­gaged in agri­cul­ture.

“Mak­ing peo­ple liv­ing in ru­ral ar­eas an in­te­gral part in the de­vel­op­men­tal process should be the aim of the pol­icy mak­ers and plan­ners. Pro­mot­ing in­vest­ments in mod­ernising agri­cul­ture, main­stream­ing of ru­ral liveli­hoods and cre­at­ing mar­ket av­enues for ru­ral pop­u­la­tion will help in en­sur­ing eq­ui­table de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

The Vice-Pres­i­dent said he was hold­ing con­sul­ta­tions with the Prime Min­is­ter, politi­cians and State lead­ers to come up with ideas for im­prov­ing farmer in­comes. These ideas, he said, were passed on to the govern­ment.

K. MU­RALI KU­MAR ■

Venkaiah Naidu at The Hud­dle in Bengaluru on Sun­day.

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