Good to know that you are off life support and on your own two feet. One hopes that you can move full steam ahead and deliver things that your earlier version couldn’t. Given that you are fighting fit, here are somethings that i would like from your current avtaar
a) Education - If you haven’t noticed – there is a caste system been created in education. The way the system is moving there are one set of institutes for the middle class and one set for the poor. The former delivers jobs, the latter doesn’t.
This has arisen because the State School and University system has stopped delivering. The policy towards schools has encouraged a mushrooming of private schools – many of which don’t deliver any of their promises. My driver’s sons and maid’s daughter go to schools like these – the kids come out functionally illiterate. Their parents are skimping and saving and depriving themselves to give their kids a better education, but they don’t realise that the schools are not worth the monies that they spend.
Can you please strengthen the State School System. I studied in a state funded school – my education was great. I would like to see more Kendriya Vidyalaya and comparable schools that create a meritocracy.
Can you please stop dragging your feet on this and deliver quality education for everyone. Education that doesn’t just get everyone into class, but also give them very real learning, skills and vocations.There is no reason why parents should sent their children to high fee private schools that don’t deliver. Can you also take a relook at the University system – drag it into this century. There need to be more Universities.Linked to this is the strengthening of ITI’s. More IIT’s are great, but how about good vocational training.
Can you move language out of the Wren and Martin or equivalent space and teach communication instead?
I don’t really care if they are private, public or foreign school/universities – excpet that Publicly funded Universities/schools need to provide world class education. Other Public Sector Undertakings do this – why can’t the education system ?
b) Public Health -The mark of a civilized society is that people who fall ill, will get treated, without mortgaging everything that they have for treatment.
We already have a Public Health System – why is it so shoddy? Why do state funded hospitals look like patients will get Gangrene. Why am I – the tax payer -subsidising medical students – if the same medical students will not go and work in rural India ? Why aren’t there more LMPS – License to Practise Medicine. You – the Government need to evolve a private public partnership to ensure quality health care reaches all, and crack the whip.
Instead of giving ‘free’ medical care – can you please evolve a system of health vouchers & health insurance. Indians don’t value anything that is free – if it is free it must not be good Change the policy to suit the people. We aren’t the British – we don’t see free as entitlement, we see it as substandard.
I would like to see compulsory health insurance for every single citizen. For the poor – pay the premium. Unleash the LIC’s and the National Insurance corporation on this task – they are truly efficient and they will deliver.
c) SME Policy - I run a small business – and i have to follow the same statutory and tax requirements as a MNC that spans every single continent. One of my business partners is for ever filling out multiple tax details. Yet when it comes to Government policy there is little or no support in terms of policies. Can we have a single tax window? Can we have easier access to working capital? can we have a system that is slightly more pro active to our requirements? We, as a sector, generate more wealth and create more employment than the Big Boys – treat us well. We are your wealth generators.
d) Urban Renewal /Slum Rehabilitation – When you are moving out slums into pucca constructions, can you make sure that you don’t create inner cities that become the hotbed of crime 15 years from now ! Learn from the European and the American Cases. Build housing that fosters & nurtures community, that has public congregation areas. Create parks and greenery. Don’t create ghettos, help create strong, vibrant communities. Drainage, water, lighting is going to be a key. Ensure that new constructions have rain water harvesting, have solar panels that deal with basic energy requirements.
Ensure that there is adequate public transportation – look at China for the right things. I don’t want Mumbai to be Shanghai but i wouldn’t mind their high speed bullet trains
e) AgrarianTransformation – We are an agrarian nation. Our farmers deserve better.
The reason why farmers are committing suicide is because their input cost is greater than their output price. This won’t change unless the land holding increases and the farmer has some control over price. You can waive loans year after year after year, but no good will come from it – unless you seriously look at increasing land holding size and at price support.
I understand the historical reason for small land holdings – but can we please look at a decent co-op policy that builds economies of scale while purchasing inputs – seeds, fertilizers etal – and can command a price while selling. And, which above all allows the farmer his ‘do bhiga zamin’ yet allows him economies of scale.
Subsidies here need to get replaced with vouchers – i don’t see why the tax payer is subsidizing the rich farmer.
f) Energy - As India develops we are going to require more energy. The most basic energy that we need is electricity. Stop issuing advisories and start implementing the law on renewable energy sources. Why can’t every village in India be lit up – solar energy works perfectly well in countries like Sri Lanka – why doesn’t it work here ? Why do cities like Patna or Hoshiarpur have to spend so many hours in darkness or using inverters – solar power will light them up.
g) Community Relations - you need to appreciate that the reason why organisations like the VHP, the RSS, the MNS and SIMI have gained prominance is your own policies over the last 62 years in general, and the last 25 years in particular.
Our spiritual needs are taken care by our religious books, our legal needs by the Constitution. Every citizen has the same rights and it is the job of your Government to safeguard those rights. It is actually quite simple. If in doubt, check how Nehru shoved the Hindu Marriage Act down the collective throats of a Hindu Patriarchy to protect women.
You have failed to protect minorities by pandering to their most virulent and violent fundamentalists. Be these fundamentalists linguistic, religious or ethnic. There is no reason why girls in Rajasthan should be married off pre-puberty, there is no reason why Muslim women ought to hear ‘talaq, talaq, talaq’ without support or redressal, and there is no reason why UP’s and Bihari’s ought to fear for their lives in Mumbai. You have failed by not implementing the law.
h) Human Rights – The mark of a civilized society is protection of Human Rights. What are these Rights -these are those Rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution.The Right to Be oneself, the Right to Practise one’s faith, the Rigth to oppose your policies, The Right to speak out against Institutions, The Right to Question, The Right to Enquiry, The Right to Expression, The Right to Redressal…. you get my drift.
The way the system is structured -most of these Rights are violated. You need to do something about it. At the centre of your policy should not be Caste, Community or Vote Banks – it needs to be the Individual. Your job is to protect us. Not the mob that is baying for our blood.
Often Justice Delayed is Justice Denied. And, in the Republic of India – there is no single greater violation of Rights than delays in delivering justice. You need ot seriously overhaul the Criminal Justice System. Bring efficiencies across the board. Pay the Police well, pay Public Prosecutors decent monies, computerise the system, clear the backlog. The way we pay our Police – especially the lower ranks is a disgrace. How do you expect a honest police force when you pay them less than what a driver or a maid makes ? Unless these are done, Human Rights will continue to be violated. We may not have a problem the way China has, but it is still a violation. Justice has not just to be done, but seen to be done.
i) Governance - you, the Government , have Good Policies. Make sure that they reach the people. Make sure that the system is simplified so that people understand it. Have a look at all the 3 zillion forms that are needed to do anything with the Government and ask if it is needed. Single window should work for most things. Put in place checks and balances – but do not ritualise them. Crack down on Leakages. Stop them. Prosecute those who are corrupt. Let everyone in the country understand, appreciate and internalise – that if they commit a crime they are going to be prosecuted to the full extent of the Law, and go to jail if found guilty. Governance is not a concept. It is practise. Good Governance needs to be seen.
You have a mandate. If you don’t deliver, we may have to find someone else who does
Harini Calamur, Citizen of India