India a welfare state, time not ripe to stop welfare measures: political leaders

India is a welfare state and the time is not ripe for people to stop welfare measures, leaders of various political parties said on Monday, even as the BJP leader in the panel said welfare initiatives and freebie culture.

The leader was speaking at a panel discussion on “Indian Electoral Democracy@75: Looking Back, Thinking Forward” organized by Lokniti-CSDS in collaboration with German Foundation Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

The leaders of BJP, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, NCP, and Samajwadi Party who participated in the discussion agreed that India is a welfare state.

Congress’s Supriya Shrinate wondered why donations given by the government are called incentives when they are for the rich and referred to as free when they are for the poor. While Shrine argued that India has not reached a stage where any government can do away with welfare measures, and the time is not right for a debate on this, Shazia Ilmi of the BJP said that welfare measures and free separation.

Ilmi said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is popular among the poor for his initiatives.

Mario Voigt, a leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who was also part of the panel, said that initiatives from the government should be meant to empower the citizens, maintain the social order, and not make people depend completely on them.

In a panel discussion moderated by Hilal Ahmed, Associate Professor at CSDS, Juhi Singh of the Samajwadi Party and Seema Malik of the NCP talked about increased participation of women in the election process as a sign of strengthening democracy. Malik attributed the rising voter turnout to electoral literacy which has increased over the years.

Shrinate cautioned that it is India’s democracy that has placed the country on the high table, and any attempt to undermine democracy would be detrimental to the country.

AAP’s Saurabh Bhardwaj said that India has been successful in establishing the roots of democracy in its own culture.

The event saw the release of the book ‘Election in India: An Overview’ by Sanjay Kumar, Professor, and Co-Director of Lokniti, a research program of CSDS.

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