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Naidu cautions against ‘freebie culture’, says bad for states’ financial health

New Delhi: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday cautioned against populist measures to garner votes by various political parties and said the “freebie culture” has led to deteriorating financial health of many states.

“The government should definitely support the poor and needy, but at the same time should prioritise health, education and infrastructure development,” he said. His remarks come against the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioning people against ‘revdi culture’ where votes were sought by promising electoral freebies. PM Modi said this could be dangerous for the development of the country.

Naidu also expressed concern over “erosion” of journalistic norms and ethos due to the growing trend of ‘instant journalism’ triggered by the emergence of Internet and social media expansion.

He emphasised the importance of neutrality and objectivity in media reporting and said news should not be mixed with views. “Media is the fourth pillar of democracy and its neutrality, objectivity and fairness is crucial for survival of India’s democratic ethos,” he stressed.

He said there was a need for constant dialogue between the people and the governments for citizen-centric and responsive governance. He said policy-making and implementation should be a two-way process with people’s participation at every stage.

Addressing Indian Information Service officers of 2018 and 2019 batches here, Naidu highlighted the role of communication in bridging the divide between the governments and citizens. “In a democracy, people need to be empowered through timely information on government’s policies and initiatives in their mother tongues.

On the other hand, governments also need to be apprised of people’s expectations and aspirations in an objective and timely manner,” he said according to a statement issued by the Vice President Secretariat.

“Cautioning against the populist measures to garner votes by various political parties, Naidu said that the freebie culture has led to deteriorating financial health of many states. “Government should definitely support the poor and needy, but at the same time should prioritize health, education and infrastructure development,” the statement said quoting the vice president.

In his address, his last as the Vice President of India, Naidu said “the key to my rise from an ordinary farmer’s son to the second highest constitutional post in the country lies in sheer hard work, single minded devotion and constant travel and interaction with the people in every part of the country.” His term ends on Wednesday.