Supplying essential items at subsidised rates

Note: 1 crore = 10 million

Note: US$ 1 ~ Rs. 50

The government of the Indian state of Kerala has decided to supply rice and wheat at ration shops at the rate of 25kgs per month at Rs.2 a kilo against the present rate of Rs.3 a kilo to 20,00,000 families living below poverty line. The government would incur an additional expenditure of Rs.5 crore per month or Rs.60 crores per year. The benefit to a family is Rs.25 per month. Cannot a person earn additional Rs.25 per month by working? The wage rates are around Rs.150 per day for males and Rs.80 per day for females, i.e. Rs.230 per family of two working people (one male and one female). Instead of giving rice at Rs.2 a kilo, if the government provides jobs for just one additional day in a month, the government need not supply rice at Rs.2 a kilo. They can even price rice at Rs.9 a kilo. The cost of one month’s supply would be Rs.225, the same as the wages for one day.

Now coming to the creation of jobs, it is very easy in India compared to countries like Japan, US and other developed countries. Every village needs at least 5 or 10 public toilets. The unskilled people can be asked to dig pits. Every village is dirty. The unskilled people can be asked to clean the village and wages at Rs.150 for males and Rs.80 for females can be given. Every month, people can be asked to clean the village once in a weak. In every village, the lake can be deepened and cleaned. Roads and streets can be repaired. Such works are sufficient to provide additional one day work for all families below poverty line.

In towns and cities also, a large number of works can be undertaken. One is cleaning of the streets and roads. The other is transporting the garbage. The third is washing the public transport vehicles (at present vehicles are not cleaned as they should be). The potholes in the streets and roads could be closed. The public places like railway stations, bus stations, vegetable and other market places could be washed. The lakes around the towns could be deepened to hold additional water during rainy seasons. Trees can be planted in parks, on the sides of streets and roads wherever possible, watering the same etc. Used water can be recycled and used to water the plants and trees.

Supplying essential items at highly subsidized rates will only make people lazy and the number of people below poverty line cannot be reduced.

This applies to all developing countries in the world.


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