After last few elections for Tamil Nadu state assembly, the elected party in power has been doling out freebies to voters. Last time it was free distribution of Colour Televisions to every household, now 87% of households in the state have a TV. This has created unprecedented social awareness for the masses through viewing of News channels. The current party in power has been giving “free” laptops to students of secondary school and colleges. I am not one to be in favour of a welfare state or like the idea of a Government giving freebies. But just like how the “free” TVs exposed people to outside world, the “free” laptops can provide much needed digital exposure to poor students which can transform their lives. Of course, all depends on the quality of execution for which Governments in India are not known for. In the last three years nearly two million of these laptops have been distributed by the state.
Extending the “free” scheme, the State Government has been distributing “priceless” (விலையில்லா) Household items – Fan, Grinder and Mixie to all eligible households. Recently while visiting a friends’ house in Chennai city, I saw these items which they had received from their local public distribution store (Ration Shop) for free and they all look good.