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Friday, October 7, 2022

Quota in allotment of liquor shops: Telangana’s latest “social justice” measure!

The Telangana government has decided to provide reservation to Gouds, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes in allotment of liquor shops in the state. The state Cabinet decided to give 15 per cent reservation to Goud, 10 per cent to SCs and five per cent to STs.

This was one of several ‘key decisions’ taken during a cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister.  The excise department has also stated that they intend to provide concessions on license fees and application fees to the SC and ST communities.

This move is being projected as a follow-up on the KCR government’s promise to ‘boost entrepreneurship’ among backward communities. If this is the sort of ‘entrepreneurship’ that our secular governments are pursuing, then we have a worrying time ahead.

It is reported that Telangana government earns over Rs. 25,000 crores annually in revenues from liquor licenses and sales. The number of licensed liquor shops in the state is expected to grow by another 226 from the present 2,216. The impact of these additional shops on public health, crime and social well-being is obviously not being talked about.

The quota cancer has become deeply entrenched in Bharat’s body politic. Quotas are omni-present: in education, government jobs, government schemes. Full-fledged quotas in private sector are not that far away (they already exist in some form in certain states), judging by the noisy demands for the same.

If quotas were truly effective, why 74 years after independence are we still languishing at 144th position out of 194 economies in terms of GDP (nominal) per capita?

And another big question is: are the quota benefits reaching the intended people? Abusing the quota system has also been developed to a fine art. So Christian converts still avail SC benefits, the fake caste certificate racket is thriving, and even women elected on gender quotas have been found to be rubber stamps for their husbands. We even have fake income certificates for RTE quota admissions in schools.

It’s anybody’s guess as to how many of these reserved liquor shops in Telangana will actually be run by politically-connected strongmen, in the name of an SC/ST figure-head. KCR probably knows this but doesn’t care, as with this move he kills two birds with one stone: publicity for ‘doing something’ for SC/STs, while quietly rewarding his political cronies too!

Most Asian nations that have successfully modernized their economies and improved living standards for their people have followed a similar model. One that focuses on: rapid industrialization, infrastructure creation, public education & health, investment in science & technology, ease of doing business.

But in Bharat, quota is the miracle cure for all our ills! After all, winning elections is the only thing that matters in our electoral democracy, isn’t it? And what better tool to lure voters and keep them fighting each other, than promising reservation benefits or other doles?

(With IANS inputs. Featured image credit: OpIndia)

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