Posts tagged ‘compassionate capitalism’

Karnataka’s power problem

I am not talking about political power here. As a citizen of Bangalore, I am currently more worried about electricity. So far, the monsoons in Karnataka have been far below normal. Several districts are lkely to be declared as drought-affected. And this has an adverse impact on power generation and therefore, distribution. And at a time like this, the BJP’s poll promise to supply free or highly-subsidized power for irrigation will come back to bite it.

I read a report in today’s Bangalore edition of the Times of India that former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa has called upon farmers to destroy the meters proposed to be installed. His logic is something like this: if power is to be given free, why meter it? I am amazed at the kind of logic our politicians frequently use. Power may be given free today (personally, I don’t think that is a god idea anyway)- but what about say, next year? And unless the government has a robust estimate of power being given “free”, how will it know how much to cross-subsidize?

Since there is no free lunch (or free power, for that matter), the government has to get some other section of society to pay for the “free” power that farmers enjoy. Also, not all farmers are equal. Some have large land holdings and generate millions of Rupees in revenue, if not profit, each year. Surely these farmers can afford to pay for their power? There is a case to be made for “compassionate capitalism” but surely, this is not where it is needed!

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July 19, 2008 at 9:44 am Leave a comment


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