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Two States; One Glorious Destiny
February 18, 2014
Rarely does one get a chance to make a fresh beginning. Even rarer it is for a whole family, say, six people, to get this chance. But for nearly ten crore people to get such a chance at the same time is like epic fiction. And to think that we Telugu people got this opportunity twice, sixty years apart, is beyond fiction. It touches the realm of ultimate truth. A truth which tells you that if you don’t learn from history, you are bound to repeat it.
Truth is that it doesn’t matter what the colour of the ruler’s skin is; or his language; or his religion: if the rules are bad, the ruled will always be miserable. Don’t let the government usurp ever-increasing power in the name of the people, of the race, or of the class. If the government is allowed to become a big employer it will invariably lead to inefficiency in the least and extortion at the worst. When you run a tea stall, you scour the market for the best tea leaves you can buy for the lowest price, the purest milk, the sweetest sugar, employ the most talented tea-maker at the salary you can afford, and try to sell the brew for the lowest price possible to attract the largest number of customers. But in a government tea stall the babu in charge would try to source tea from a family member at a price higher than the market rate, procure watery milk from whoever quotes the lowest amount, and perhaps employ a tea-master from his community (as a matter of token justice) while still taking a bribe (on a matter of principle) and care two hoots for the customer. In private business, the loss is yours as well as the profit. But with the government’s tea, the profit is their’s while the loss is yours. This is true of every state-run department or business.Whatever the size of the project, the nobility of intentions — yes, and even if the leader’s character is pure gold — government bloating leads to population starving. This scenario is as old as the hills. And as immutable.
Therefore, let’s make a clean break from statism in our mint-fresh states. If we can think of the government as only a protector — of individual rights to life, liberty, and property and not as an employer, as a re-distributor of wealth, as a business developer, as an educator (god forbid, what kids will learn from these [mis] leaders) — then we can truly be free to achieve a glory beyond compare. For both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. If we can curb government spending in the name of new capitals and new institutions, new housing for government employees and legislators and ministers by letting them fend for themselves (with higher wages where necessary) we would win half the battle towards progress. The other, more important half would be unshackling business from unfathomable rules and licenses. Dismantle the inspector-raj. The heaviest burden that is slowing the country is humongous taxation to fund subsidy graft. As states, we do not have power over most of the taxes, but we could create a kind of tax haven for the country without even the centre’s help. We could assure to return the income-tax paid by every individual and corporate. This probably should not cost more than Rs. 30,000 crores. But the benefits would be incalculable. Every profitable corporation and high net worth individual would make a bee-line to our Telugu states, making it an employment heaven.
This controversial bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh; a sizeable number may see it as cutting down in half, but we should all grasp it as a chance to grow double. Electing the right people and selecting the right policies could see Telangana and Andhra Pradesh becoming the top two states in India. Let’s be the next Singapore and Hong Kong! We have the talent, we have the language, we have the success abroad. Now let’s replicate it here.