India is a vast and diverse country. It is home to 1.23 billion people. This large population has a lot of potential to make India into a global super-power, however much of it remains untapped due to ineffective policies. It is with the objective to change this that we propose to bring about the following changes to make India a better place for our future generations to live in.
Agriculture and Industry.
Development agricultural infrastructure is the first priority for us going forward. Some of the initiatives we plan to introduce to this end are:
- Supply shall be created of affordable tractors and machinery the farmers require to improve production and productivity.
- Transport of perishable commodities shall be made easier by improving rural road connectivity with markets.
- Public investment in the farming sector to be increased substantially rather than subsidies to raise output and boost farmer incomes.
- Dedicated railway corridors shall also be built for agricultural purposes.
- Construction and improvement of irrigation facilities to reduce dependence on the monsoons.
- R&D to be undertaken regionally so that the needs of different regions can be catered to, given the specific soil, climate, water availability etc.
- Reform of the APMC Act & to set up a “National Agricultural Market” where farmers sell directly to consumers.
- To link the NREGA scheme to all of the above plans, simultaneously creating employment and improving rural infrastructure.
INDUSTRY: Industry is a critical part of economic development. If we as a country want to achieve a high growth level then we shall have to revive the industrial and manufacturing sectors, where production has flagged of late. This can be done by:
- Promoting investment in industry and manufacturing by relaxing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms. We plan to work with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and use both monetary and fiscal measures to invite FDI in this sector.
- Creation of a new Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Also Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) shall be made available to new industries in specific sectors to streamline the manufacturing process and improve efficiency.
- Finding a permanent solution to the power woes of the industries.
- Creating an annual dialogue between the Government of India and major industrialists across all sectors to assess the specific needs of every industry and try to find a possible solution benefitting all parties involved.
- Improving the connectivity between factories and markets.
- Simplifying the tax regime, making it less ambiguous and open to interpretation. Further Prospective taxation will be the way forward.
- Making the establishment of industries easier, specifically with respect to land acquisition. We wish to push for fresh amendments to the Land Acquisition Act to make it more balanced.
Our soldiers are brave and industrious, but the equipment and machines they use are either archaic or in disarray. To make our nation more secure, we propose:
- To increase the limit for FDI in defence.
- To promote domestic production of defence equipment to reduce the import bill drastically. Further quality can also be controlled if it is produced in our nation.
- Increased DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) spending.
- To keep India’s nuclear arsenal to the bare minimum required to be used as a deterrent while trying to take the world along a path of nuclear disarmament.
- To expand and make the NSG more organised with a view to respond effectively to internal security threats.
After all these years of independence, our nation of more than a billion people still has hundreds of millions who are illiterate. The number of uneducated people is even larger. Studies have estimated that this lack of literacy/education is causing us losses in the thousands of crores every year, in addition to the millions of jobs that are left uncreated. We dream of a new India that leads the way in innovation and new ideas. We propose to take our first steps towards this by
- Universalising primary and secondary schooling, especially in backward areas.
- Setting up mechanisms to review and revise the curriculum taught at the primary and secondary level to make it more application based rather than focus on rote learning to make the Indian education system globally competitive.
- Taking special measures in the form of incentives and scholarships to increase the enrolment of girls in schools.
- Prioritising a response to the problem of shortage of teachers, especially in public education. Further the quality of teachers will also be checked through teacher training and periodical assessment of teachers.
- Improving school infrastructure. There will be sufficient number of classrooms per school in view of the enrolment especially in the rural and tribal areas. There shall be no power cuts in schools. Decent and hygienic toilets shall be built in every school. Libraries, Computer Labs, Science Laboratories too shall be constructed and maintained. Basic amenities in every school will encourage students to go to school.
- Creating opportunities for the differently abled, physically handicapped, visually impaired etc. to learn. Different styles of teaching shall be taught to teachers to cater to their special needs.
- PPPs in the field of education technology shall be promoted and all efforts shall be made to promote and include the use of technology like smart boards, projectors etc.
- To inculcate the habit of pursuing some social/cultural hobby or sport to promote the all round development of the students across the country.
- Assessing the needs of the industry across sectors and to altering the course content to meet these needs.
- Promoting research with a view to increase the number of PhD candidates, creating intellectual capital in India.
- Making the system more flexible so that courses from various disciplines can be studied together. Further, switching of streams shall be made hassle free and easier.
- Making efforts to Higher education in rural areas shall be made a reality so as to reduce the long travel that the students have to do to receive a formal education.
- Establishing of a host of National Cultural Colleges which will provide formal education in dance, music, art etc of an international standard.
- Inviting foreign universities to set up campuses in India and to also tie-up or partner with them to facilitate student exchange programs to give our students a more competitive edge while also promoting cultural diversity and international harmony.
- Ensuring that the existing IITs, IIMs, and NITs continuously improve, and remain world class institutes while simultaneously increasing the number of institutes at par with them to meet the ever growing demand for college seats.
- Revamping the accreditation system and to make stricter guidelines to improve on the standards of performance and quality of education.
Vocational & Skill Training:
- Vocational Education and Training (VET) is an important element of the nation’s education initiative. In order for Vocational Education to play its part effectively in the changing national context and for India to enjoy the fruits of the demographic dividend, there is an urgent need to redefine the critical elements of imparting vocational education and training to make them flexible, contemporary, relevant, inclusive and creative.
- To build a larger number of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and Industrial Training Centres (ITCs).
- A National Vocational Policy shall be formulated to establish equivalency for degrees, diplomas and certifications in vocational education.
- An accreditation council shall be set up to regulate the quality and standard of education imparted.
- Efforts shall be made to provide better infrastructure and latest skill training through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.
- Teaching Training Programs for continuous skill development of teachers along with periodical review of teacher salaries to retain them in the field of vocational education.
- Special women ITIs and ITCs shall be set up to provide them with targeted quality vocational education and skill training.
- Focusing on Soft Skills Development and making ‘Digital Education’ compulsory to enhance the employability of graduates.
- Reducing pollution by giving incentives to companies and corporations who reduce their carbon footprint.
- Introducing the concept of “Green Certificates” awarded to housing societies, offices etc.
- Starting a “National Afforestation Campaign” to increase the amount of green cover present.
- Promoting the production of solar energy, wind energy and other renewable sources of power to reduce dependence on non-renewable sources of energy.
- Handing out stricter punishments for non-compliance with the pollution control measures.
- Formulating a “National Sanitation Policy” to provide clean drinking water and toilets to every home in need of them.
- Initiating a “National Cleanliness Drive” to clean all rivers, mountains, lakes, beaches in order to make India as one of the cleanest countries in the world, as well as a public campaign against littering and open defecation.
- Prevent extinction and conservation of many endangered species.
We wish to shun the profligacy and indiscipline of past governments by:
- Taking measures for Fiscal consolidation. This will be achieved by reduction of unproductive debt and wasteful expenditure while increasing revenue receipts through strategic stake sale in government controlled PSUs to raise capital.
- Reducing fiscal deficit to 2.5-3% of GDP in the next 3-4 years and introduce measures to target an annual GDP growth of 7-8% in the next 3 years.
- Undertaking measures to ensure stability in the rupee’s exchange and to prevent unfavourable balance of payments.
- Curbing inflation with the help of the RBI.
- Promoting Micro-finance companies and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs).
- Encouraging financial inclusion by providing two savings accounts to 10 crore poor households while educating them about the merits of a banking habit.
– Hashim Arsiwala