India Uncut

This blog has moved to its own domain. Please visit for the all-new India Uncut and bookmark it. The new site has much more content and some new sections, and you can read about them here and here. You can subscribe to full RSS feeds of all the sections from here. This blogspot site will no longer be updated, except in case of emergencies, if the main site suffers a prolonged outage. Thanks - Amit.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Ah, Communist compassion!

The Commie government of West Bengal has outlawed man-pulled rickshaws on the grounds that they are "inhuman." Hmm. Starving because you don't have work, it would seem, is not inhuman at all.

It's quite simple: the men who choose to pull rickshaws do so because it is the best option open to them. They are not trapped in a slave trade. By taking away that choice of profession from them, the government is condemning them to something worse, something that they themselves clearly feel is more inhuman.

In an analysis of this move, the Economist quotes an affected rickshaw-puller as saying: "I may not like it, you may not like it, but I have children to feed."

Indeed, if the government does want all these people to shift from this profession, there is one way of doing that: of allowing private enterprise to flourish, and enabling industrial growth, so that better jobs spring up for all these rickshaw pullers. That doesn't require spending a paisa of taxpayers' money, or making compassionate noises: it simply means removing the many restrictions on economic freedom that this ranking reflects.

Afterthought: at least it isn't BPO workers they're 'rescuing'!

(Economist link via Shruti Rajagopalan.)
amit varma, 10:39 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

I recommend: