Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ideal Government Manifesto

The manifestos of the parties fighting elections vie with each other to get the epithet of most boring, uninspiring and lacking in vision or pragmatism. They seem to be more of the ghosts of the past and no fresh air of new thoughts is allowed. What are the pressing problems of India today? What is it that India needs the most today? It is very sad that election debates never move to these issues and are rather lost in the desert of dead habit discussing "emotions", "pride" and all other issues where one can speak for days and months with nothing concrete in the back of his head.

This is the incomplete list of expectations from a Utopian government that I think will lead India to progress.

1. Basic Education: The state of primary education in India is very bad. The lack of infrastructure, proper training to teachers, lack of teachers and political intervention in the curriculum are the major problems in this area. The government should promise that in five years every person shall have access to a school within 2 km of his house. The school shall have a proper (set some standards to be satisfied) play ground, classrooms, benches and black boards, cyber access and a good library. The curriculum making body shall be institutionalised and shielded from political intervention by parliamentary legislation and curriculum making exercise shall be completely scientific with inputs and scholars from all over the world helping in the process.

Adult primary eduction shall be taken up in a big way and every adult shall have access to evening school within 4 Kms of his residence.

2. Basic Health: The Government in co operation with private sector shall initiate and implement a legislation giving the fundamental right to good health to all its citizens and residents. The Government shall provide health insurance to all below poverty line persons and any enact law that no person shall be refused medical care due to lack of finances. In event of lack of finances the government (insurance agency) shall bear the cost or provide means for finances through easy loans or grants. Also there should be a primary health centre with in 5 Km of any person in India and a general hospital with 50 Kms. The private hospitals should be roped in to provide free health care to the financially weak.

General sanitation and hygiene issues shall be taken up on a large scale and within 5 years all open drains and other potential disease spreading areas shall be acted on.

Special care shall be taken of the new born and mother and free food shall be available for the pregnant, new born and mother as primary health centres to ensure healthy babies and low mortality rate.

Special financial incentives shall be given to families adopting family planning and counselors shall visit each primary health centre at least once a fortnight to advise parents about the health, education and future of the child.

Major co operation with Private sector should be there to implement above provisions effectively and strictly.

3. Food Security: The government shall enact and implement a legislation guaranteeing the fundamental right to food and freedom from hunger to all its citizens and residents. Any person shall be able to realise this right at the nearest primary health centre, where any famished person shall be given free food. The school should continue the mid day meal scheme and it should be expanded to evening schools for adults.

4. Water Security: The Government should enact and implement the fundamental right, of every resident of India, to access to portable water. Every Panchayat shall have a water cleaning plant.

The rain water harvesting shall be taken up in big way and every village and city shall have rain water harvesting and ground water recharging centres which shall save the amount of water equivalent to the consumption by the village/ city. In case the saving is less the consumption shall be brought down as well or credits can be traded for money with a city saving more.

5. Infrastructure: The government should enact and implement the fundamental right of every citizen to power and connectivity.
Every village and city shall be connected to the vast web of road networks in India by a 2- lane metalled road.

Every village and city shall have have 24- hour supply. The renewable sources of energy, the Indo-US nuclear deal, the shortcomings in the distribution network leading to 40% losses shall be exploited to realize this goal. A national master plan should be formulated and acted on in five years to realize this dream.

One India- One day connectivity goal should be realized so that any person/ commodity in any part of India can travel to any other part of India in one day in reasonable price. A network of faster travel like the magnetic rails should be realised with railways and other networks acting as support systems to realize this goal in a sustainable manner.

6. Poverty Elimination: Every citizen should be assured the fundamental right to protection from poverty. The current BPL standards should be made realistic by increasing the income limit for BPL families from the present 1970 's standards. Within 10 years this should become the fundamental right of very citizen of India. Avenues for education and employment shall be given to every such citizen and adequate professional training shall be provided. The list of such unemployed, skilled and BPL citizens shall be maintained and concessions shall be given to companies hiring such people.

7. Entrepreneurship: The environment for entrepreneurship and innovation shall be created by loosening all governmental controls and imparting training at school and college level to all students in entrepreneurship. The government formalities for opening up a firm shall be made hassle free and and a one day -one centre process for any sort of firm.

8. Fight against Corruption: The government shall take up fight against corruption on a mission basis. It shall set up a body of experts, with powers to change the procedures, to examine every information system of the Indian government offices and change them appropriately to mechanize the work or reduce the chain of work flow and impact of arbitrary whims of the officer. The system of checks and balances shall be enforced with power to every citizen to easily bring to notice any acts of corruption in any department of the government. The action against corrupt officials should not require consent from the government and intra departmental enquires shall be banned. The corruption sentences should also take into account the direct consequence of the mis deed. If it leads to death of a soldier due to bad equipment then the officers guilty should also be tried for the murder of the soldier.

Social audits should be mandatory and must be organized by every civil department twice an year. The duty to publish act must be passed and a independent body set up by the government shall decide what should published by every department and the deadlines for the same and take up cases of missing the deadlines or consciously hiding the public information.

Every budget shall also also have a larger document pin pointing to which place and for what project the funds have been released by the government. It shall be the duty of the media to inform the public of the particular area about the funds released for work in that area. Same information should be readily available to all public online and at appropriate government office and public representative.

9. Administrative Reform: The administrative reforms are long pending. The bureaucracy needs to be upgraded and specialized for different tasks. The general training imparted for the IAS is not sufficient. Long time back there was a talk of admitting student right after class 12 and then imparting specialized training to them with them parting in different directions after some time. This needs to be implemented.

The bureaucracy needs to be raised from slumber. Every work shall have a deadline and the citizens should be given a legal right to move the courts against the officers if no answer is provided for not acting on the application of the citizen. A commission should be appointed that shall decide the time frame required for every government work. Mechanization shall be undertaken where ever possible to speed up the process.

10. Political non intervention in Reservation: A quasi legal commission should be set up with experts from various fields which conducts surveys and estimates the backwardness of every caste or group on scientific basis and assign reservations for each group in various spheres of life. The commission shall be completely shielded from political intervention and be an institute in itself which shall be the final authority on all reservation issues. Any disagreement should be directly handled by the Supreme Court of India.

11. Judicial reform: There are a lot of pending cases lying in the courts for very long. To make the justice dispensing speedy a multi pronged approach should be used. Laws and rules which not codified properly should be either scrapped or rewritten. Specialized courts should be set up for offenses occurring with high frequency to enable the judges to have better expertize in the area (Financial crimes for example). People's campaign, to remove irrelevant cases and to have out of court settlement with arbitration in civil cases, should be launched. The number of judges in courts should be increased and mechanization of most of the regular procedures should be done to reduce the work load of judges.[thanks to arbitya]

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