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Arvind Kejriwal Says His Government's Schemes Not Freebies But Efforts To Make India Top Country – Outlook India

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s remarks came after PM Narendra Modi earlier in the day cautioned people against what he called was a ‘revadi culture’ of offering freebies for winning votes.
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Updated: 17 Jul 2022 7:56 am
Free education, healthcare and bus travel for women are not freebies, waiving loans of friends and getting them tenders worth thousands of crores of rupees are "free ki revadi", Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday, hitting back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "revadi culture" jibe.
Kejriwal said the Delhi government's schemes for free education, healthcare and electricity are not "freebies", but efforts to lay the foundation for making India the number one country in the world.
He said education and health services will be free for all in the country if, by god's will, he is in a position to do so.
The remarks of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader came after Modi, earlier in the day, cautioned people against the "revadi culture" of offering freebies for getting votes.
Without naming anyone, Kejriwal said, "I will tell you who is distributing 'revadis' and giving freebies. This waiving of friends' loans worth thousands of crores and getting contracts worth thousands of crores for them from foreign tours are giving freebies."
The AAP, however, hit out at the prime minister over his remarks in a series of tweets.
"There is a limit to shamelessness. Modi, who helped his friends flee abroad after they looted thousands of crores of rupees from the country, is speaking about revadi culture," the party said in a tweet in Hindi.
The prime minister used "revadi", a popular north Indian sweet often distributed during festivals, as a metaphor for freebies promised by various political parties in their attempts to win power and said people, especially youngsters, should guard against this.
Kejriwal asserted his academic credentials and explained the economics of his free welfare schemes.
"I am educated, I have a degree in engineering, I have also studied accounting and law. My degree is real, not fake. I understand everything. Today, after making so many things free for people, the Delhi government is still in profit," he told a virtual press conference.
Citing a recent Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, the chief minister said, "It mentioned that since Kejriwal came to power in 2015, the Delhi government is in profit. No new tax has been imposed. If I have used the large sum of money obtained by ending corruption to provide facilities to the people of Delhi, then tell me what wrong have I done?"
Referring to the Farishtey scheme of his government, Kejriwal said, "We saved 13,000 lives with timely free treatment given to those injured in accidents. Ask their families if Kejriwal is distributing 'revadis' or doing a virtuous thing."
He said two kinds of politics — one of honesty and the other of corruption — are being practised in the country today. By practising honest politics, he is saving money and spending it for free education, health, bus travel for women and other such schemes, the AAP national convenor said.
"The country needs to decide whether it wants honest politics or corrupt politics," he said, adding that his only dream is to make India the number one country in the world.
"They abuse and ridicule me for providing free education, health services, power and water supply, free travel to women. Go and ask the children whose future we have transformed whether Kejriwal is giving free ki revadi or building the future of the nation," the chief minister said.
Those who abuse him for welfare schemes have themselves spent thousands of crores of rupees on aeroplanes, he said, adding, "Kejriwal does not buy aeroplanes. He spends the money on making travel free for women."
India has immense potential for progress but it needs an honest model of politics to fulfil it, he said.
"There are some leaders who are accusing me of giving freebies as if those are 'revadi'. I want to ask them whether sending the children of the poor to world-class schools and educating them for free is even comparable in any paradigm to being a free ki revadi. Is it not an act of nation building?" Kejriwal asked his critics.
He cited Delhi's education model to explain how it has helped the people of the national capital.
"I do not blow my own trumpet. I only state facts. Our schools have recorded a passing percentage of 99 for the first time. Today, underprivileged children of Delhi are clearing IIT-JEE and studying mechanical and computer engineering in the top-ranked IITs. Our students are cracking the NEET and becoming doctors," Kejriwal said.
The AAP governments give free electricity up to 200 units in Delhi and 300 units in Punjab, he pointed out.
"The opposition always asks why does Kejriwal give free electricity to people? I want to ask them, how much of free electricity do you ministers get? Don't you all get 4,000-5,000 units of free electricity? But if the poor get to sleep under a fan in peace for free, it becomes free ki revadi," the Delhi chief minister said.
Those abusing him have bought private planes for themselves by spending thousands of crores of rupees, while he saves money so that women can travel by bus for free, he added.
It has been 75 years since India got independence and in these 75 years, a number of countries have achieved more progress than it, be it Japan, Singapore or Germany, Kejriwal said.
"Even Bangladesh, in certain aspects, has surpassed India. Why are we stuck behind? Why haven't we progressed further? Why aren't we number one in the world? What do we lack? God has given everything to us, mountains, rivers, different types of herbs, crops, beaches, the people of India are highly intelligent and yet, why are we not becoming number one?" he asked.
Everyone should have got free education and health services after independence, Kejriwal said.
(With PTI inputs)
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