WHERE ARE THOSE WELFARE STATES?
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WHERE ARE THOSE WELFARE STATES?

New Delhi : India | May 23, 2012 at 4:27 AM PDT
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Welfare State concept has gone long back all over the world. Even if some largest Democracies in the world claim that they are Welfare States by showing some of their policies in health care, insurance, educational scholarships, unemployment benefits, old age pensions, public housing, subsidized prices of a few consumables, public health programmes, they are by and large remained as abstract notions in real terms of implementation, as these concepts derived from real ‘welfare state’ concept of 1850s, have turned as modern political promises for corrupt political leaders to attact the votes of large sections of poor classes in many nations. And for those political leaders after getting the power, these welfare policies have become big schemes in their hands to do big financial scams in the guise of implementation of social welfare policies.

The poorer sections who are at poverty-threshold always believe, with their jaws down, the political speeches and promises made by Demagouges and vote either this party or that party to power, again and again and for some people of these sections get some benefits of the populistic schemes and the remaining middle class sections will never be near by to savour the benefits of these social welfare schemes, because they stand neither on the poverty line nor at the threshold of opulency. That means the Welfare State concept does not apply to the lives of middle-class people as they are not eligible for many populastic schemes or other social welfare programmes, as the governments always keep income limits with an intention to eliminate the middle-classes to avail the benefits of those welfare programmes.

Heavy Taxes and various other service charges like Value Added Taxes, surcharges and service charges imposed on electricity, domestic gas consumption, water bills and sewerage cess, property taxes, gasoline, Railways and Bus transportation services, daily edible products, renewals of vehicle insurances services etc., basically affect the lives of middle-class people like non-professional private employees, private school teachers, small lawyers, rural government employees, and pensioners, because most of the middle-classes people depend on these services of the governments and the people who live on poverty line or below poverty line besides getting benifitted from the populistic schemes of government in the areas like, supply of edible items through Ration shops (fair-price shops) for subsidized prices and scholarships offered to their children, and free education for certain sections of people, with free boarding and lodging at school, college and university campus and social welfare hostels, scholarships, housing schemes, free water supply, allotment of lands free of cost, free electricity, would benefit the poorer sections, with the heavy taxes collected from the services offered to middle class people. These people are not entitled for any benefits of government and governments are never lenient on middle classes people as these sections basically live in urban and sub-urban areas and politicians dependency to get into power, on these middle class sections is considerably little. In countries like India, even among the Middle classes people those belonging to non-reserved communities neither get government scholarships, employment and benefits under social welfare schemes. So economic and social well being and equality in opportunities do not exist for the middle classes in the so called welfare states.

And meanwhile never touched sections are rich people. In the colonies where rich people live, there will be continuous supply of water and electricy without any interruptions, eventhough they too pay the taxes and services charges on par with the middle classes, but no special taxes will be levied on them. Rich class people can get the things done by government where they live, such as formation of excellent roads, bright street lightings, uninterrupted water and electricity supply for all their domestic and non-domestic needs, and continuous police patrolling for providing security. The way the rich people are treated by police, if a complaint is given, is quite different from the way the middle classes are treated. Where as the police complaints given by poor classes will be attended by the police because of the duress from the local politicians and the poor people go to police stations enmasse even if any one of them gets a problem. This kind of unity is lacking in and for the middle classes.

While this is one aspect, how the rich, middle-class and poorer sections either benefit or suffer in the so called welfare states, the other aspect is the concept of ‘welfare state’ and social welfare policies and populistic schemes have turned into good sources for making big money for ruling parties in the guise of implementation of such social welfare schmes. For instance, in the housing construction schemes for poorer sections, providing health care to the poorer sections through corporate hospitals with government reimbursement for the services provided by such hospitals to poor people, biggest frauds have been taking place in some under developed democracies. For example: Records shows that 10,000 houses have been constructed for the poor people with government expenditure but in principle not even 1000 houses could be found there. In the free medical aid to poorer sections, the records shows that a heart surgery worth of 200,000 has been be done by the identified corporate hospital to a poor man even if surgery is truly done or not done, but 200,000 would be paid to the hospital by the government upon production of bills, by taking respective shares by the politicians and bureaucrates at each level. Like that thousands of records would be fabricated and government reimburses money to such hospitals. Local media occasionally raises hue and cry over such kinds of frauds but who will question them, as the anti-corruption agencies would also work under their control? Such kinds of frauds will occur in the guise of implementation of social welfare policies by the governments who claim them selves to be welfare states. I do not say none have been benifitted in the welfare states, but there could be enormous discrepancies between what the records show on the implementation of policies and the expenditure done and the change that is seen in the lives of the beneficiaries, in real terms. For such housing schemes or medical services offered by government the middle classes are not entitled. You will simply get shocked to know that some corporate hospitals bring poor people and take signatures on the surgery forms as if some surgery has been done to them, and some money is given to them for signing on the blank forms, and later the hospitals claim big amounts from the government as if a major operation has been done to so and so poor man.

So, do you still believe that “welfare states exist in the world? By dchaitanya.

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From: Life in Flintville
d chaitanya is based in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India, and is a Reporter for Allvoices.
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