Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vote For TV

Nope, Ila Arun is not coming up with a sequel of ‘vote for ghagara’ [Video]. “Vote for TV” - is what TDP’s manifesto has for just-around-the-corner election. As done in all the elections and as done by all parties, TDP promises goodies if it comes into power. TDP is promising color TV to lower and middle class families – aping what DMK did in Tamil Nadu. In addition to a color TV, it also promises to give Rs 2000, Rs 1500 and Rs 1000 per month to the poorest, poor and middle class families. The announcement of the manifesto enunciating the above freebies has around aroused a lot of ridicule among the intellectual section of the society. I, personally feel, that their apprehension is nothing but baseless. Let me address the concerns one by one:

First, Ethics – Proponent of ethics accuse TDP of buying votes.

In a nation where very few people actually go to vote, TDP’s offer would, at least, get a few more people to vote. TDP is just offering TV and cash. There are instances where underwear and soup were on offer! No power, no force, no freebies can get the masses to vote. The GenX is too busy in their virtual world to care about the real. TDP’s offer will only increase the number of people who actually vote.

Haven’t you ever promised your son a movie if he keeps his room clean for a week? Haven’t you promised your daughter an iPod if she gets 90% in her exams? Have never your parents promised you a bicycle if you passed in your exams? We don’t really think these as unethical. So then why do we consider TDPs asking for votes for freebies as unethical?

Second – Basic Necessity

A section of society believes that TV is not a ‘basic necessity’. Most people in India don’t even have roti, kapada aur makan (and also water, toilets, electricity, education – you don’t want me to continue, do you?). Now consider the following. An average Indian middle class family spends quite a lot of their time with TV. When Prince fell down in the well, we spend our whole day watching TV and praying that we never have such fate. When Ganesh idols ‘drank’ milk we, obviously, wanted to know which temple most people are rushing to which Ganesh idol is not drinking milk. We also wanted to know in real-time whereabouts of a commissioner’s lost-and-found dog. If you think these are on and off – then what about the one-day matches where the poor TV gets real hot at the end of the day after we have watched the highlights and the detailed analysis of the match we so religiously watched? If even this is not-so-frequent, then I’d have to say what I have been shying away from saying. Soaps Opera. Right from 7:30 pm one to the 11:00 o’clock one – we want to know what each of the super-women is doing in their lives. How about the 12:30 to 2:30 soaps in the afternoon? All these goes to prove that we spend quite a lot of our time with television – on an average about 30% of the time we are awaken. Doesn’t the ubiquitous TV, then, qualify as a basic necessity?

TDP’s freebies are a solution to a host of problems. Brief take on them below-

Recession – Ah, our favorite word! We must have read almost everything, which Google could crawl on, on it and also the forwarded jokes which reaches us before we could reach our mailbox in the morning. Yes. TDPs offer is actually a stimulus package in disguise. With thousands of lower/middle class people in AP, the demand for televisions would increase. So, the television manufacturers would need to hire more people to meet the surge in demand. The TV companies would also need to buy raw materials, etc. So, this would have avalanche impact or chain reaction and better the economy of AP and country as a whole. A lot of people who are laid off from the IT/finance companies would find jobs. This positive feedback mechanism would ultimately pull India out of recession. The problem with recession is the lack of demand and TDP is just addressing that.

The same principle applies to the Cash Transfer Scheme(CTS). One of the reasons (or effects?) of recession is lack of liquidity in market. CTS will inject cash into the market. The demands for cosmetics, clothes, cricket bats, coffee mugs, generators (as quite a few villages don’t have electricity to run TV), oil (to run the generators), fuses, plugs and wires would increase leading to the above positive feedback effect.

Quality of life – The quarrels in the family would decrease as the family would now watch TV rather than talk to each other. The lesser interaction among the family members would decrease the quarrels

Patriotism – Apart from the patriotic movies which are shown on 26th Jan and 15th Aug on TV, the CTS would also increase the patriotic quotient of India. With more cash in hand, the poor people can now buy “branded” liquor. This would increase the demand of liquor. And hence, liquor barons can buy the Father of Nation’s memorabilia!

Better prospects – As per Bittu (in Delhi-6) shows only like Indian Idol can offer opportunity to middle class girls to be successful. Do you know why Bittu didn’t include poor class? The reason is – they didn’t have a TV. Now the TDP provided TV would usher the doors of success to even the poor class

These benefits are just a tip of the iceberg. There are host of other benefits which TDP may have considered and which I, a stupid-common man, cannot understand.
considering TDP’s freebies as ridiculous is ridiculous.

- Think...


deicider March 19, 2009 at 3:27 PM  

I thunk and thunk but could not think what I had thought about........
Hmm I agree Prashant ,TDP has struck a cord with all the issues of recession,unemployment and pure enjoyment all at the same time.
Seems like a sure shot policy for a superhit election.

Anitha March 19, 2009 at 3:31 PM  

I thought its hilarious when I started reading this. When I was in the middle of the article, I thought its very thought provoking and so true. At the end, its again hilarious.

Nice way to awake people.

Abhishek March 19, 2009 at 5:43 PM  

crafty interpretation. nice one.

Dev B March 19, 2009 at 6:07 PM  

WOW. best joke of the millinium. Rather, You should be made the finance minister of the UNIVERSE... yes, even Moon and Mars and any other planet where they can find life.. tooo good economics dude.. I am flabbergasted. ha ha ha... anyway definitely a must read for everyone. I give 10 on 5 for this!!! Yes 10 on 5.

minesh March 19, 2009 at 11:49 PM  

Really a nice post..but the thing to look forward would be to see how many of this lower n middle class ppl turn out to vote...

If such freebies drag ppl out to vote then it should be made mandatory for all parties to follow to it...:-)

@Prasant keep a close eye on how much % increase is there in TDP's votes this election...

Aritra March 20, 2009 at 12:06 AM  

Well written buddy... once again... :) and also quite valid arguments... just would like to mention something on the "ethics" point, in which I seek to disagree a bit...

"In a nation where very few people actually go to vote, TDP’s offer would, at least, get a few more people to vote." - do you think this is the actual aim behind conducting elections in a democratic nation? in this case people are going to vote for a party which has bought them out (I doubt very few people will be able to analyze things from a socio-economic perspective like you) and not for the party they feel are best suited to run the country - what is the use of such voting? the democracy will in no way be benefited through this sort of useless voting...

Lavanya March 26, 2009 at 5:05 PM  

what to say! I feel I've just read an analytical writing essay for one of those GRE topics!

I mean, I'm just looking at it as an essay on a current issue.

Though most of your arguments make sense and are witty/intelligent - I couldnt agree with any of them - mainly 'Ethics' and 'basic necessity'.

Ethics : I dont think we can compare what our parents did/do to what leaders do to the society. What leaders offer here has their own selfish motive as the main objective and would not absolutely bring any well being to us, the voters, once they come to power. I dont think distributing TVs,money is a good use of the hard earned tax-payer's money!

Basic Necessity: From when did TV become one? The way you brought about your argument is nice and comic, but seriously, from when did TV become a necessity in our country?
Do you really believe so? :)

Prashant Mehta March 26, 2009 at 5:33 PM  

@ Lavanya, Aritra, et al:

Sarcasm comes before praise in my dictionary though the Oxford Dictionary may have it otherwise ;-)

Biswajit Biswas March 29, 2009 at 4:10 PM  

Great Work Buddy. I think you have given a reason for distributing freebies for the politicians. Helarious...Ha ha ha ha ha

nick April 20, 2009 at 9:25 PM  

what is wring if a liquor baron gets the father of nation memorabilla. People have always considered people who drink or sell liquor as Bad. Let me clarify drinking is a physical phenomena, selling liquor is a buisness phenomena and being bad is a social phenomena..

Anonymous June 16, 2011 at 4:09 PM  

Seldom read blogs with such sarcastic humor...awesome awesome :) and of course you are coping up boy

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