The freebie culture, dubbed metaphorically as ‘revadi culture’ by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently, grabbed national headlines and we run a comprehensive package on this subject. Taking off from the Supreme Court’s exhortation to the Centre, Niti Aayog, Finance Commission and the RBI to brainstorm on this “serious” issue, our Cover Story describes how prevalent it has become and how dangerous it is for the development of the country. It is significant, says our story, that the Centre has supported the petition filed on this issue and also welcomed the court’s intervention. Our report also encapsulates ex-VP Venkaiah Naidu and PM Modi’s references to the freebie culture and their calls to bring an end to this menace.
The crux of the other story in this package is that freebie politics in India is effectively electoral insurance paid for with taxpayer’s money. It gives multiple examples to illustrate how a ‘freebie’ of today morphs into an entitlement and later a national programme. However, not every freebie evolves into an ideal, stresses our story. Another story explains why freebies are not welfare schemes. Because of the lack of a clear distinction between the two, governments are justifying the unhealthy practice of doling out freebies, says our report.
The spectacular show put up by India at the Commonwealth Games is our Centrespread for the week. Describing it as the country’s best-ever performance, our report says the medal tally earned at Birmingham should be looked at in the light of the fact that four major disciplines (shooting, archery, tennis and Greco Roman wrestling), where India has always dominated, were not included in this year’s competition. It was an all-round performance with our athletes showing particular excellence, says our report, while touching upon all other disciplines where India won laurels. Quoting veteran players, experts and coaches, the story also explains reasons for the great turnaround in athletics. It also recounts heroic tales of struggle behind the success of some medal winners. An accompanying box is about the love and warmth which the sportspersons have received from PM Modi and how it has contributed to coming up with their best performance for the country.
Indonesia, which is at the core of the India’s Act East policy and SAGAR vision, is our Globetrotting destination this week. Stressing upon the cultural and commercial contacts between India and Indonesia for over centuries, our report traces the recent history when President Sukarno of Indonesia was the Guest of Honour at the first Republic Day of India in 1950. It then talks of the rapid development of bilateral relations since the adoption of India’s ‘Look East Policy’ in 1991 and the further strengthening of ties after PM Modi renamed the policy as ‘Act East’.
Jagdeep Dhankhar assumed the second-highest constitutional post in the country this week and we give photo coverage to his oath-taking ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The other key news developments find a mention in the Newstrack.