A quintessential Laissez-faire atypically
Government of Manipur is only my Driving license issuer
It is about questioning the Manipurs’ economic policies on the lines of Welfare state model ~ Raju Athokpam
Modes of governance varies as they are the manifestation of political ideologies. Liberalism dominates due to various successful implementation of her branches. It happened as a reaction to the powerful Left ideology which once dominated the major portion of the East and still currently in the South. Not to talk of Libertarianism (the neo-liberalisation); the Welfare state model has been the best design so far, to combat the Left. The welfare state is the popular instrument of India too. India advocates the Inclusive growth and has rendered many flagship programs like MGNREGS, Bharat Nirman, subsidies to the poor and taxes from the rich, etc. Because Manipur, being a State of India, has obligations and is been on the means to a welfare state model end.
We call the government a necessary evil. Evil because we fear its evil faces if the power goes unchecked or the responsibility goes unaccounted. Necessary because of the consensus which has long been deliberated for thousand years and agreed that it is a legitimate body for public authority, such that no uncontrolled anarchy arises. Back to the welfare model, what are the things to be expected from such a government? Civil amenities like drinking water, good roads and other essential infrastructure like railways, public transport system, food security, basic education, basic healthcare, disinterested justice delivery system, issuance of necessary official papers for public convenience like birth certificate, driving license etc. inter alia?
As a citizen of the soil, I rethink what is that I consume from the services provided by the government lest the tax which I paid is gone somewhere unknown and become a disease to the public economic health? By default, I have a small ancestral land. I use the water from a pond or buy them when it dries up. I extensively used other means like candle, charged lamps etc. as the electricity come only for a few hours a day. I use private shared auto (vehicle) to commute. I use “black” LPG cylinder to cook as there is no guarantee when can I get an authorised connection. Even those who has authorized LPG ends up buying black cylinders as the refill of it is too cumbersome a process. I use private hospital when ill, because government ones are sloppy. In these few examples, there is no service from the government and if so, it is more of a nuisance than a convenience.
Where there is no other way other than to use a government services like roads, the condition is bad. Even a new build road can get worn-out overnight. What offends me the most is the dust from those bad roads. Facing other apparatus like to go to an office for a grant of certificates like marriage, essential licences etc., is equally a nightmare. The easiest of the things can take longest of the time. In there, it seems, the most formal norm is the bribe, without which nothing moves, with which you end up thinking like a place of most efficient work environment and diligent employees.
Apart from looking through a narrow and a common citizen’s economic grievances lens, let us ask what is exactly the government economy today as a whole? On a moral enquiry, one might come to think that it believes and pursue the essence of minimum governance, a laissez- faire. But then, why the taxes are levied from the common citizen? (By taxes, I mean any extra incomes besides the legal revenues of State PSUs and capitals per se).In a primitive sense, the common people like me are slaves. With an example say, I worked for 100 hrs to get 100 INR and tax is 10%. Hence, after working 100 hrs, I will get 90 INR after a deduction of 10 INR as tax. In other words, I worked for 100 hrs and get paid for 90 hrs. This strictly means that the 10 hrs that I worked for no money, is similar to forced labour. We know, forced labour is slavery.
Had it been the case that I get the civic amenities, the question of slavery will unequivocally be nonsensical. Ground reality is that, all I have from the government is a driving license.