As Assembly Elections approach in many parts of the country, a few villagers from Uttarakhand submitted a "Maang Patra" - a list of demands, to their leaders.
I have decided to do the same for our politicians too. Now the thing is, the poor give votes and the rich give money. What does the middle class give to the politician? NOTHING. Therefore, we are milked till there is no more left, to feed the other two.
Nevertheless, the middle class Indian's Demand Letter is a start. If we want to stop paying 33% tax on income + up to 18% tax on all items of consumption while the other economic classes conveniently create companies or go to the Ration shops and get freebies, then we have to go from being keyboard warriors to vote warriors.
With that assumption, we present:
The Middle Class Indian's Demand Note
1. Some recent political parties have made a habit of promising insane freebies and winning elections. That is the same as the Congress Model. The money given by the rich goes to party funds. So, is your father paying for the freebies? NO, we are. And we will not pay for them any more. Any party that offers freebies will NOT get middle class votes.
2. In being a welfare state, India has made poverty a rather attractive career option for many. We need the introduction of a yellow Adhar card. This Adhar card will be issued to the third child. This Adhar card entitles the holder to vote and be counted as a citizen of India, but the card holder CANNOT use any welfare schemes of India. No free ration, no free Jan Dhan yojana, no MNREGA, no free treatment at govt centers, no reservation benefits. Not just that, the children of yellow card holders will also not be able to benefit from the welfare schemes of the government. If one parent already has two children, even if it is the first child of the other parent, the Adhar Card issued will be yellow. It won't matter to those who anyway pay for everything for their children through their nose - we pay for education, health, everything, But those who view poverty and reproduction as career options will have to rethink their strategy.
3. One overarching assumption that decades of socialist mass media has drilled into our heads is that the poor are always hardworking and all of them want to improve their lot. My NGO did a research study on the knowledge needs of the knowledge have nots 2 years ago. It was an eye popping study, but it was unnecessary. The success of the mid day meal scheme should have told us that the average Indian child does not want education, they want freebies. Before the critics eat me out, tell me, why do these poor children only come to school at mid day meal time? Why do they repeatedly refuse food cooked by a Dalit cook? Therefore, welfare measures must provide a means for a family to climb out of poverty, not be the crutch that keeps them there forever. Welfare measures cannot continue ad infinitum for the same set of families. They should be used, rightfully, for families that need them on account of genuine misfortune like riots, war, natural calamities. After a flood, it takes decades to rebuild the house, yet the middle classes get no reprieve because in the books of the govt, they are not "POOR" .
4. There should be no caste based reservations in urban areas. In rural areas, these reservations should be proportionate to their share in the population. Minority reservations should be at state level, not national level. Which means that in the states where the majority religion is not Hinduism, Hindus should be able to benefit from minority reservations and the majority communities of that state should not benefit from reservation that is meant to support minorities.
5. The Economic Survey of India should also include a report on the previous year's budget. Did the government make the right allocations? What percentage of that allocation was actually spent? What was it spent on? Did we get the desired results? Is the entire detailed budgeting exercise doing anything for the macro planning of the country, or is it a cosmetic, PR exercise?
6. Election day should be a holiday only for those who vote. I have asked for this earlier also. No ink mark, no paid leave. This should be true for all.
7. A politician needs to be corrupt because the people need money for everything. Even to come to the rally they need biryani and money. Henceforth, rallies should be banned and prachar should only be in the localities of the voters. We, the middle classes get no Biryani benefits and no politician comes to explain their manifesto to us. Further, all manifestos should be freely available and all candidates should take questions from voters on their website. If you can go to the slums to meet the poor voters, come online also, where the middle class voters are :)