Agriculture– Certain reforms need to be made in the sphere of co-operative farming. I would like to promote the idea of collective technology-driven farming on the lines of the USSR experiment, which ensured a spectacular growth in agricultural produce in USSR, which would produce far greater results in the agriculture sector. In this regard, I propose an amendment of the Cooperative Societies Act in all states and the formulation of a National Agricultural Cooperative Societies Act in the Parliament. I strongly believe in Tagore‟s beliefs who said, “If we could free even one village from the shackles of helplessness and ignorance, an ideal for the whole of India would be established…Let a few villages be rebuilt in this way and I shall say they are my India. That is the way to discover the true India.” Towards the fulfillment of Gurudev‟s dream, I would like to promote the Sriniketan Experiment and promote cartelization at the rural level to avoid exploitation of our farmers. Another important aspect of our agricultural thrust would be to make the Viswa Bharti Institute of Rural Reconstruction a world class training institution to harmonize technology with the demands of our Agricultural needs and bring to our villages life in its completeness.
Industry- The revival of the industry is a matter of utmost priority to us. The manufacturing industry which has been displayed lackluster growth over the past few years must be reinvigorated to boost the economy and creation of jobs. The biggest dilemma of the industry remains the deficit of electricity which leads to capacity under-utilization. Considering the fact that India‟s power generation „capacity‟ currently stands at 2.34 lakh MW which should be enough for our needs, it is a disgrace that our country goes without electricity for the shortage of fuel. The immediate thrust would be tap into the untapped potential of our natural resources. A committee would be formed to rework the working of Coal India to improve its working. Simultaneously alternative sources of energy would be made more practical to the Indian case by subsidizing and rewarding their use.
Road infrastructure serves as the arteries to any nation. We recognize rapid development of road infrastructure as a priority to drive the progress of the nation. It is also a source of employment generation. Considerable land has been acquired by the NHAI. Rapid progress on these projects will aid recovery of the infrastructure sector companies. Progress on these projects would reduce the load on banks of unprofitable loans.
Another aspect of utmost importance to us is making India a more business friendly destination. eBiz a project by The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion needs further marketing as the one stop shop to all the regulatory requirements of setting up a business in India. Rationalizing the tax laws would be an immediate priority for us. The Indian taxation system is a national tragedy considering the multiplicity of rules in existence. A more rational tax structure would not only help the tax payers but would also increase the collectability of taxes. An empowered committee would be set up in coherence with the state governments which we consider to be partners in growth rather than adversaries in our march towards development towards rationalizing taxes. Expedient implementation of the GST is a priority to us and efforts will be made to carry dissenting state governments along, to streamline indirect taxes. An analytical review will be carried out under our regime to review our laws which have grown anarchic with time and are unsuitable to current needs of the society and industry. A committee consisting of members of the judiciary, legal community and eminent members of industry will be formed to review our industry laws. Our priority would be to localizing the defense equipment industry in order to cater to India‟s burgeoning defense equipment requirement which would not only help industrial growth but also generate employment and make India self-reliant for its defense equipment requirements.
Defense – Coming to the problem of our defense forces, we have to appreciate the fact that we are located in a very hostile neighborhood and a two pronged strategy is needed to ensure dignity to our existence. One would be mutual dialogue and diplomatic relations aimed towards building peace. Another would be to consolidate our forces in a manner to dissuade any aggression towards us. The forces whose anemic equipment acquisition system has bled the defense forces dry must be revamped to ensure the loftiness of our standards does not make acquisition of equipment impossible. Considering the fact that budget
allocations are made but funds remain unutilized is a matter of trepidation. High quality acquisitions for our defense forces would be a matter immediate focus would be a matter of utmost priority. As mentioned earlier localizing the production of equipment would be a priority but our policy would be to be open towards foreign collaborations and technology transfer agreements would be an integral part of any defense equipment dealing with us. Internal security is also a matter of utmost priority to us. We list tackling of the Naxalite problem as a priority. With negotiations not proving to be fruitful, I am of the opinion that a full-scale counter insurgency operation is required to be initiated in Naxal affected areas, primarily “the Red Corridor”. We assign special attention to the plight of the Adivasis, the locals in these Naxal affected areas, who lie sandwiched between the rampant terrorism of the Naxalites and the administrative machineries like Salma Judum, the government version of the Naxals. The concept of such models is fundamentally flawed. We shall take the path of inclusive growth, ensuring maximum participation from these locals for maximum community development.
Environment – We recognize the need to move beyond the rhetoric of environmental protection to implementing a tough action plan for change and this is what we as the new government would want to do. Thirteen out of the 20 worst polluted cities across the world are in India, according to a recent World Health Organization study. An estimate by the World Bank shows that the health cost of particulate matter pollution accounts for 3 percent of the country’s GDP. We will implement a favorable taxation policy for promoting clean fuels like CNG. Rivers are intertwined with the cultural thread of the society. Every river in India is like the Ganga-, either dying or already dead- as cities take water from them and return sewage, or industries discharge effluents into them. The strategy of river cleaning by building sewage treatment plants has proved to be inadequate. The Ganga revival program will only work if we learn to do pollution control differently. Reinventing the strategy for river pollution control is the agenda, not cleaning rivers in the business as usual mode. Our agenda is to plug the gap by making ecological flow mandatory in all stretches of a river. Also ensuring treated effluent is reused or discharged directly into rivers for dilution and opt for affordable water and sanitation solutions is a priority. Reinvent the way green clearances are managed – Industry portrays green clearances as impediments to growth, but the fact is very few projects get rejected in India on environmental grounds. Official incapacity to monitor a developer’s compliance with environmental conditions means developers can pollute without any checks. Our government will reform and strengthen the environment management systems and green clearance processes to safeguard people’s concerns. A consolidated body for all green clearances- environment, forests, coastal and wildlife- so that decisions can be taken understanding the overall impact of projects is on our agenda. Instead of several regulators, an independent body to grant green clearances, advices the body. Harness the development potential of the Forest Rights Act is primary among our objectives towards empowerment of the tribal masses. Ensuring livelihood and food security of the poorest of the poor is at the core of this legislation however, seven years on, the Act is yet to live up to expectations. We will implement FRA in letter and spirit and include it in our key development agenda. We will implement the next phase of FRA focusing on community forest rights and forest regeneration with people. Program for rural development are in place but the challenge is to match the costs of the project with the gain derived and to fix the shortcomings in the delivery of development benefits to the right people. We will reform MGNREGA for development so that assets are created and employment is used productively. We will build climate resilience and water security through the MGNREGA program for agricultural development.
Education – Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today. As a nation we are now poised to take some historic steps, collectively, to empower our children and thereby, our entire nation. Our Constitution fathers did not intend that we set up hovels, put student there, given untrained teachers, give them bad textbooks, no playgrounds and say, we have complied with Article 45 and the primary education is expanding. In our madness towards quantitative expansion of education we have forgotten to place any emphasis on the quality of education, primary education being the biggest casualty of this. A hundred thoughtless experiments have converted the educational pattern to a near lunatic scramble, each state going its own way with no co-ordination between education at one level and another. Our agenda would be to give educational systems a national perspective and uniformity. Given a mandate, I would move education from the State List to the Concurrent List of the Constitution. The most important problem in secondary education
is the need for diversification. Today everyone who passes the school leaving certificate exam wants to go to college, whether he is fit for higher education or not. We should provide alternate avenues for such students. The pressure on the universities has been responsible for bringing down the standards of higher education. Higher education should be available to every citizen but not necessarily through a regular college. Our emphasis would be to provide correspondence courses, evening classes and part time courses. I am also opposed to indiscriminate starting of new universities for purely ornamental reasons which dilutes the quality of higher education. To sum up my agenda on education, the policies drafted in my regime would be on a long term basis, the cleaning up of these Augean stables and streamlining the education sector would be a ruling priority to me.
Administrative Reforms – Empowerment and Accountability are anathema to the bureaucracy. My aim is to build an empowered bureaucracy, capable and willing to take tough decisions. However errant, corrupt and inefficient bureaucrats must be dealt with is a firm aspect of my governance policy. The project of empowering the bureaucracy would not be complete without making it more rewarding to aspirants who are enamored by the lure of a high paying private job.
The police force is far from efficient, it is defective in training and organization, it is inadequately supervised, it is generally regarded as corrupt and oppressive, and it has utterly failed to secure the confidence and cordial cooperation of the people. Our agenda towards reforming the police is multi- pronged. It encompasses, (i) setting up of a Security Commission in each state to see that the government exercises its superintendence over the police in an open manner within the framework of law; (ii) prescribing a selection procedure that would ensure the appointment of the best officers to head the state police force; (iii) giving these officers a fixed minimum tenure so as to reduce their vulnerability; (iv) amending rules so that arbitrary transfers of police officers done without authority would become null and void; and (v) replacing the Police Act of 1861 with a new Police Act. Delinking the politician policeman nexus to avert organized political crime is essential to delivery of a good law and order system.
The public grievances redressal bill is a way to empower the society against miscarriage of their rights. The revival of this crucial legislation is central to our plans for reinstating public confidence in the administrative process and making responsible the erring public servants.
The aim of all my policies are to create more people friendly structures and bring back the confidence that people have lost in the political and administrative systems. The idea is to go back to the path which would lead to the fulfillment of Tagore‟s Idea of India.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high Where knowledge is free Where the world has not been broken up into fragments By narrow domestic walls Where words come out from the depth of truth Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit Where the mind is led forward by thee Into ever-widening thought and action Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
Participant: Rishap Vats