On April 6, Janata Dal (Secular) President H D Deve Gowda and Vice-President Bapu Kaldate released the party manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections in New Delhi on Monday. The JD(S) manifesto focusses on the rural poor, with Gowda promising to write off all loans of small and marginal farmers borrowed from cooperative and public sector banks from 1991 onwards. Following is the full text of the Janata Dal (Secular) Lok Sabha Elections 2009 manifesto.
We will realise this manifesto by bringing in political pressure, giving thrust to the programmes and policies and fighting for implementation.
Promise made out of experience
Janata Dal (Secular) is a recognised state party of regional character. As National President of this political party, I would like to share some of my thoughts with my people. These thoughts are originated out of my experience of 50 years of long standing political life.
Today national politics is at crossroads. Coalition governments have become order of the day and the people of this nation have accepted this reality. Of course in a democratic country like India such a situation is inevitable.
In a federal system of multi-cultures, the political parties of regional character reflect the true aspirations of the people at large and therefore such political parties play a vital role in national politics.
In an inevitable political situation of this kind, our party which is committed to secularism, social justice, independent foreign policy, pluralism and economic policies and programmes suited for this land, naturally has identified itself with the Third Front, which is an alternative political imperative.
Two big national parties, have already projected their prime ministerial candidates. For these two parties the prime ministerial candidate is more important rather than any constructive policy and programme. A meaningless and irrelevant debate is on about the future prime minister. By projecting their next prime ministerial candidate the national parties think they have solved a great national problem. How ridiculous! I don’t have any interest in such things and I don’t think it is needed. Instead, my utmost concern and interest is which policies and programmes would do well in solving the multiple problems of this country.
I am essentially a villager. I started my political career from the lowest rung of a representative institution in a democratic set up, and rose gradually from step by step in politics. I have experienced and seen the abject poverty of the rural areas. I have been fighting for the betterment of the rural poor. As a legislator, as an opposition leader in the state Assembly, as a chief minister and finally by coincidence as prime minister of this great country, I was always thinking of changing the dismal picture of rural areas. I had the opportunity of serving Karnataka state as its chief minister for 18 months and next as prime minister of India for 10 months. I have the self satisfaction of having taken certain firm decisions, whenever I had the opportunity, and of implementing special programmes to benefit the poor and rural classes.
When I was the chief minister of Karnataka, I introduced the scheme of providing food grains to poor at the lowest price and green cards were issued to the people below the poverty line in my state. After ascertaining myself that this scheme which I introduced as chief minister of Karnataka was a great success in taking care of the hungry poor. United Front Government under my leadership extended this scheme to the entire nation. BPL cards were distributed to 36 crore poor people of this country. This was a unique scheme introduced for the first time by the Central Government after Independence.
But, nobody took a serious note of this laudable achievement. Now the two big political parties which claim as national parties have stepped down from the attic and are at the ground level. Hence now they might have woken up to the reality! One national party promises 25 kg of rice and wheat to the poor at a price of Rs 3 per kg, while the other national party promises 35 kg of rice and wheat at Rs 2 per kg! Thank God, now I am satisfied that at last and at least these big national parties have now realised and accepted the programmes which I launched during my tenure as prime minister to ameliorate the conditions of the hungry poor.
When I was the chief minister of Karnataka, having understood the problems of the farmers and the importance of the irrigation, I gave a special priority for irrigation projects. Encouraged by this, soon after assuming the office of prime minister, United Front Government introduced AIBP (Accelerated Irrigation Benefit programme) which provides Central Government assistance for all the ongoing irrigation projects of the states. The abject poverty and lack of amenities faced by the slum dwellers of the cities, which caught my attention during my Nagarasanchar when I was CM prompted me to take a decision for allocation of funds to the tune of Rs 500 crore in the Central Budget for the development of slum dwellers. It was the first time that such a huge sum of money was earmarked in the Central Budget for the welfare of the slum dwellers.
A national party, in its manifesto, has promised to provide 25 per cent reservation for women in employment sector. The said party may be ignorant of the achievement of Janata Dal in Karnataka. When I was the chief minister, 33 per cent reservation was made compulsory for women in employment sector and moreover 50 per cent reservation in education department. This reservation policy which I implemented is still in force in my state. Not only this I also introduced 33 per cent political reservation for women in the local bodies. I tried hard when I was the prime minister to introduce the Women Reservation Bill to extend the above to Parliament and state Assemblies.
The intention of saying all these facts is to say that programmes and policies that I introduced and formulated while I was CM and PM have the bearing of my experience.
That is why, at this juncture, when there is a debate as to who should be the Prime Minister and who will be the Prime Minister getting an unwanted spicy publicity, I would like to clarify honestly one point. I am interested in the policies and programmes and their implementation and nothing else. If my party were to get an opportunity to have a say in the new secular set up which may come to power at the centre after the election, my condition being the implementation of the programmes spelt out in this manifesto of my party. I also swear, if need be, I will fight ceaselessly for the implementation of them.
Thus by bringing in political pressure, giving thrust to the programmes and policies, and fighting for their implementation in these three ways our party would like to stick to realise the party’s programmes and we pray the people’s support for it.
It is my party’s prayer for the people of this great nation not to be carried away by hollow, artificial glorification of individual centred politics, but extend their whole hearted support for a political system to come to power, which really cares for its policies and programmes rather than an individual.
This is the second parliamentary elections in India in the 21st Century and fourth after the introduction of the much hyped liberalisation and globalization policies which have landed the country in an economic mess.
The earlier NDA government was so much enamoured by these policies that it coined the INDIA SHINING slogan and used it for election propaganda for the 2004 parliamentary elections by spending Rs 200 crore of government money. But it was rejected by the people outright. Now the UPA government has chosen BHARAT NIRMAN as the slogan for election propaganda of the UPA government for the 2009 parliamentary elections by spending Rs.190 crore of government money. This manifesto is placed before the people of India who will decide through their ballots.
It may be recalled that the NDA government which preceded the UPA dispensation, used the globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation economic philosophy to strengthen its urban vote base and used it as a smoke screen to implement its hidden agenda of Hindutva strategy of socio-political transformation of Indian secular society. The worst face of this strategy was implemented in Gujarat in 2002. But by the time the 2004 Parliamentary elections were held the economic and social consequences of the policies of the NDA government became very visible to the common man. Hence the people of India rejected the false propaganda of INDIA SHINING slogan.
The UPA government which succeeded NDA government claims to have introduced many far reaching and pro-poor policies during its five year rule. Of them NREGP is considered as a flagship scheme for providing jobs for the rural poor. But several studies including CAGs report have shown how public money has gone down the drain because of corruption which is widespread in its implementation. UPA government has been claiming that its economic reform policies have resulted in achieving eight to nine per cent annual growth rate of GDP.
But it refuses to concede that even without these reforms, Indian economy experienced about seven per cent rate of growth of GDP during 1980s. The structural economic reforms were introduced by Dr Manmohan Singh from 1991 with a good intention of bailing out the Indian economy which was in trouble. But the reforms also encouraged unscrupulous people to indulge in financial frauds and till now have created 18 SCAMS involving many top ranking political leaders, corporate houses and stock brokers, the latest being the Satyam Scam. But only about four people have been indicted and jailed so far.
The broad based opposition which started with the United Front government in 1996 against introducing capital account convertibility of Indian rupee saved Indian economy from the ravages of Asian currency crisis quite apart from encouraging all the black money accumulated in India to escape from the country. The UPA government went on assuring the people that Indian economy will not be affected by the economic meltdown which started in USA and spread to all other countries.
But now Indian economy is in recession and the much coveted high rate of growth of GDP has become a mirage. Exports have come down and foreign capital which was invested in Indian stocks and shares has fled the country.
As a result of these distressing economic events, large numbers of people both in organised and unorganised sectors of the economy are thrown out of jobs in the country.
Thousands of engineers have lost their jobs due to the impact of unbridled liberalisation and globalization. The two achievements of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation have been the creation of wide inequalities of income and wealth and increase in the number of people below poverty line to 260 million as estimated by the World Bank.
These distressing economic consequences are slowly impacting the social fabric of the country and strengthening the divisive forces. If the economic distress is not stopped by appropriate policy measures, there will be more violence in the country which may threaten the very existence of democracy in India.
Against this background the Janata Dal (Secular) party would like to present this manifesto of its future policies for the consideration of the people of India in the 2009 Parliamentary elections. The main thrust of the Janata Dal (Secular) party will be to promote development through mixed economy approach and social justice through reducing the wide inequalities created by globalisation, liberalisation and privitisation.
Though the Janata Dal (Secular) party is now a regional party, it is a part and parcel of the broader national Third Front. It may be recalled that the United Front government under the leadership of Shri H D Deve Gowda implemented several pro-people policies, programmes and schemes like issuing 36 crore of BPL cards to the people. The Janata Dal (Secular) party promises through this manifesto that it will endeavour to implement the following policies and programmes by using its persuasive influence within the Third Front.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will strive to implement the following policies and programmes intended to help the poor and the downtrodden including minorities and women by supporting such national alliance and such national leadership which will agree to implement the following policies and programmes.
Rescuing Indian agriculture
Even after 60 years after Independence, agriculture continues to be the main stay of vast majority of the people. Almost 54 per cent of the country’s workforce is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. The successive governments damaged the structure of Indian agriculture in the name of institutional reforms and the much publicized green revolution has tapered off. Most of the policies adopted to develop agriculture have failed. Productivity has declined. Farmers’ indebtedness has increased. In short, Indian agriculture is back to square one. This is evident from thousands of farmers committing suicide all over the country. The much publicized writing off of farmers’ loans has touched only the tip of the iceberg. Some bold policy measures will have to be implemented in order to save the farmers and to rescue and rejuvenate Indian agriculture.
1) The Janata Dal (Secular) party will write off all past loans of the small and marginal farmers borrowed from the cooperative credit institutions and public sector banks from 1991. The government will repay these loans to the banks in instalments so that the banking institutions will not suffer. The Janata Dal (Secular) party will also create a semi-Judicial Authority to conduct Arbitration Proceedings in the case of disputes relating to the private money lenders.
2) The Janata Dal (Secular) party will give top priority for irrigation to increase the area under irrigation. First priority will be given to completion of the ongoing irrigation projects by doubling the outlay on Accelerated Irrigation Scheme which was introduced in 1996 under the leadership of former prime minister Shri H D Deve Gowda. Repair and maintenance expenditure on irrigation dams and canals has been very low because it has been considered as non-plan expenditure. To rectify this, the Janata Dal (Secular) party will treat the expenditure on repair and maintenance of irrigation dams and canals as plan expenditure which will increase the amount substantially. Agricultural universities will be mandated to adopt neighbourhood regions for integrated development by providing extension services to the farmers.
3) A National Agriculture Price Stabilisation Fund will be created by allocating
Rs 5000 crore to provide price support to food grain crops and fruit and vegetable crops. A national network of Warehouses and Cold Storage units will be created through Public-Private Partnership model to help the farmers who are engaged in growing of horticulture and commercial crops. Agro-processing and packaging units will be encouraged in the private sector by offering 10 years tax holiday for such private sector units.
4) A nation wide pension scheme will be launched to provide Rs 500 monthly pension to all marginal and small farmers and agricultural labourers above the age of 60 years. This will prevent hunger deaths in remote rural areas. The pension will be disbursed through India Post to prevent corruption in delivery mechanism. It will also add to the business of the postal services which is facing decline in its business because of the fast growing private courier services
5) All commercial banks will be mandated by amending the relevant Banking Law to lend at least 20 per cent of their advances to agriculture including horticulture, floriculture and fishy culture at subsidised rate of five per cent and the government will make good the loss to the bank on account of this subsidised interest. Further, these loans to the farmers will be covered by insurance for small and marginal farmers and the premium payable will be shared by the concerned small and marginal farmers and the government.
6) The Janata Dal (Secular) party will also examine the feasibility of introducing Fertiliser Entitlement Cards to the farmers who can purchase subsidised fertilisers in open market. This will save huge leakage which is presently going on in estimation and dispersal of fertiliser subsidy.
7) Indian agriculture has started facing the impact of unfair competition under the dictated terms and conditions of World Trade Organisation and by signing many bilateral Free Trade agreements with SAARC countries, and the proposed agreements with ASEAN and BRIC countries. The Janata Dal (Secular) party will appoint an expert committee to inquire into the impact of these agreements on Indian agriculture and will take a decision whether to continue or terminate those agreements to protect the Indian farmers.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will also give notice to the WTO for exclusion of agriculture from WTO arrangement. The developed countries promised to allow free movement of professional people across the boundaries of countries. But suddenly they have started telling that it involves immigration question and hence are not ready to implement that provision. Since Indian agriculture involves food security of the people of India, India will give notice to WTO informing that India will withdraw agriculture related issues from any future negotiations under WTO.
New deal for rural India
Rural India is a partially deserted place today thanks to the misconceived policies of the successive governments. Though sporadic attempts were made to improve the living conditions of the rural masses, because of the unreliability of income from agriculture and failure to create non-farm employment opportunities in rural areas, rural youth have deserted the villages and have moved to unorganised urban India where they are engaged in low paid odd jobs to keep themselves afloat. This new development has added to the already overburdened urban society and economy.
1) Rural India requires our immediate attention. Apart from giving top priority to the rural infrastructure development like rural roads, rural housing, rural education, rural health and rural electrification, the Janata Dal (Secular) party will treat repair and maintenance of rural roads, rural school buildings, and buildings of primary health centers as plan expenditure. This will increase the amount available for repairs and maintenance of rural infrastructures. Such treatment will enable the elected rural local bodies to receive more funds from the Central and state governments to improve the conditions of rural infrastructure.
2) The Janatha Dal (Secular) party will make it mandatory for the commercial banks to provide refinance for the Rural Sthreesakthi Groups which operate microfinance units to help the rural women. Further, commercial banks and cooperative banks will be mandated to lend loans to weavers, and rural artisans at five per cent rate of interest and the government will provide interest subsidy to the banks.
National housing policy for the rural people
The successive governments both at the centre and states have been implementing housing schemes like Indira Awas Yojana for the poor people. But the actual achievement has been far from satisfactory mainly because these schemes have been implemented only as government welfare schemes. There are also reports of large scale corruption in their implementation.
Therefore, it is necessary to involve the private sector builders for providing housing for the rural poor and the middle class if we want to cover them within specified period of time. Private builders have been encouraged to build houses for the urban middle class and the rich in cities by offering income tax rebate, stamp duty concession and also lower interest on their borrowings from the financial institutions. Now it is necessary to encourage them to go to rural areas and build houses for the rural poor and middle class by offering subsidised interest rates on their borrowings from public sector banks, income tax rebate and stamp duty exemption for registering the houses in rural areas.
1) The Janata Dal (Secular) party will formulate such a national rural housing policy for the poor by roping in the private sector builders to provide environmentally safe houses for the rural poor and the middle class.
2) As far as the existing government scheme of providing loan assistance to the rural poor is concerned, the loans sanctioned to the rural poor for housing purpose will be written off. The subsidy for the houses under the government sponsored housing scheme for the rural poor will be increased.
3) Enumeration of shelter-less people will be done throughout the country and in a span of five years, it is our commitment, everyone gets a shady shelter.
Assistance for educated youth for self-employment
Millions of educated youth are unemployed for various reasons in the country. We cannot create jobs for all of them both in the public and private sectors. We cannot also leave them to fend for themselves as it may create socio-political tensions.
1) Therefore, the Janata Dal (Secular) party will ask all the banks to lend loans to unemployed educated youths to start their own self-employment activities such as poultry, fishery, dairy, commercial animal husbandry, horticulture, floriculture etc in rural areas, and computer service centres, internet services, language and computer training centres and a host of modern services which are in demand in urban areas. The government will stand guarantee for loans up to Rs. 5 lakh. Appropriate procedures will be formulated to make them repay the loans through instalments. This scheme will encourage enterprising, educated youth to develop self-confidence in generating income for themselves. The government will also help them in marketing their products by organizing appropriate marketing facilities. The greatest gift a government can give its citizens is an opportunity that will enable them to survive, to grow, and to thrive. Such gift may be good education, or a job or a loan to start a business.
Therefore, the Janata Dal (Secular) party will help the unemployed educated youth to get bank loans to start their own businesses.
Comprehensive health insurance for the poor
After food, health is the second most important item of expenditure which bothers poor people both in urban and rural areas. Some attempts have been made to provide assistance to the poor people by way of reimbursing the expenditure on treatment for some specified diseases. These have not really helped the poor.
1) So the Janata Dal (Secular) party will introduce a Comprehensive Health Card for the BPL families who will be made entitled to receive treatment including investigation, hospitalization and medicines for all diseases and in all appropriate hospitals in the country. The expenditure on such treatments will be reimbursed to the concerned hospitals by the government.
Alternative approach to corporate zamindari (SEZ)
Both Congress and NDA governments copied and implemented Special Economic Zones approach to industrial development by enabling the private corporate entities to acquire vast tracts of fertile agricultural land for developing modern infrastructure to encourage private industries. This approach has not only created unprecedented resistance from the farmers but also has given rise to a new system of private corporate zamindari in India. The congress government led by Jawaharlal Nehru abolished zamindari system of land ownership. Later Smt. Indira Gandhi imposed ceiling on land holdings. Now under the NDA and UPA governments the land is taken away from farmers and given to private corporate entities to own huge tracts of land in the name of industrial development. This is a regressive form of development which should be carefully evaluated before it causes undesirable socioeconomic consequences.
1) The Janata Dal (Secular) party will not allow SEZs to become new form of private corporate zamindari system in disguise. The Janata Dal (Secular) party will appoint an expert committee to examine the SEZs as a strategy of industrial development in the country and to recommend required modifications in this strategy to prevent its negative socioeconomic consequences in the country.
Conditional direct income transfer in place of PDS
In 1996 the United Front government led by Shri H D Deve Gowda issued 36 crore of BPL cards under which subsidised food grains were supplied to the poor people all over the country. The national political parties did not bother then to recognize its importance as a food security measure for the poor in the country. But now these very parties are competing to supply subsidized food grains to the poor at unbelievable price. What is more surprising is that they have failed to take note of the deficiencies of the PDS in the country.
Justice Wadhawa Committee appointed by the Supreme Court in 2006 has found that there is a nexus between fair price shop owners, transporters and officials of the Civil Supplies department which has made PDS inefficient and corrupt. Without realising this ground reality, both the national parties have made promises to waste public money on highly subsidised PDS.
1) Therefore, the Janatha Dal (Secular) party will introduce conditional direct cash income transfer scheme to the rural landless and urban BPL families on the lines of Brazil, Mexico and Chile. Specified amount of monthly income will be transferred to the women members of the BPL families with the condition that they should get their children immunised and send them to school. This new scheme will enable them to purchase whatever food articles they want. This will also prevent leakages in the distribution of food grains at subsidized price to the BPL families. It will also cover their children under universal immunization programme and will ensure school attendance instead of encouraging child labour.
Expansion of public sector
The structural economic reforms were aimed against the public sector in India. In the name of liberalization and globalization, the NDA and the UPA governments sold the equity of the public sector units. UPA government has increased the equity share of private sector in insurance and air transport sectors. UPA government even contemplated to sell the government share of equity in public sector banks. Such policy was pursued in the name of liberalization and privatization. But the wheel has come full circle in the sense that America and Europe which hoisted liberalization and globalization on the developing countries have started nationalizing banks and other financial institutions for saving them from collapse.
Nationalisation has come to be willy-nilly accepted in countries where private sector was worshipped as God incarnation. But in India UPA government is still pushing forward denationalization programme. This should be stopped.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will review all the past privatization efforts and will reverse if found necessary to strengthen the public sector in the country.
The liberalization and privatization in the cement industry has led to creation of cement cartel and arbitrary fixing of cement prices disregarding the interests of the cement consumers. The Janata Dal (Secular) party will create a public sector National Cement Corporation of India which will be entrusted with production of cement and acquisition of cement producing units abroad to break
the private sector cement cartel. It will be parallel to SAIL which has broken the steel cartel in India. Since steel and cement are very important requirements of all infrastructure activity, creation of public sector cement producing organization is necessary.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will also create an India Soverign Fund by diverting a part of the foreign exchange reserves to invest in and acquire cement producing units abroad and coal and oil fields in foreign countries. This will act as stabilisation mechanism for the domestic prices of cement and petroleum products.
Regulating corporate governance
Starting from 1991 till today economic liberalization policies of the Congress governments have resulted in 18 SCAMS. The latest Satyam Scam has exposed the weaknesses embedded in private corporate governance.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will amend the company law to make any corporate fraud a criminal offence punishable by long term imprisonment. It will make it mandatory to appoint one-third of the directors on the corporate boards as independent directors and the SEBI will be empowered to make the selection of such independent directors for the listed companies and the Company Law Board will select and appoint independent director for unlisted companies. The earlier practice of getting the approval of the remuneration of the corporate CEO.s was dispensed with after the liberalization programme.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will put a ceiling on the nature and quantum of total remuneration of the corporate CEOs on the lines introduced in USA.
Financial sector regulation
1 The Janata Dal (Secular) party will amend the Reserve Bank of India Act to change the selection and appointment of the Governor of the RBI. It will be reserved only for the experienced professional bankers and professional monetary economists. The practice of appointing the retired IAS officers as Governors of RBI will be discontinued.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will amend the RBI Act to make it mandatory for the RBI not only to maintain price stability by using appropriate monetary policies but also to ensure the mandated flow of bank funds to the agriculture sector and small scale industries in the country. The present practice of allowing the unwilling banks instead to invest in NABARD bonds will be discontinued.
RBI will be held responsible for the shortfall in the mandated flow of bank credit to priority sectors. The Janata Dal (Secular) party will make it mandatory for the RBI to use the accumulated foreign exchange reserves in the best interest of the country and not to benefit only the corporate sector.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will amend the SEBI Act to empower SEBI to impose severe penalties on brokers and brokerage companies for any
violation of trading rules in the BSE and NSE. The Janata Dal(Secular)party will mandate the SEBI to monitor the functioning of credit rating agencies which indulge in taking commission from the companies and prepare favaourable ratings, which is a clear case of conflict of interest. Similarly, Satyam Scam has exposed the auditors and audit firms for concealing the true financial position of Satyam Company. The Janata Dal (Secular) party will make it mandatory for the SEBI to approve the auditors for listed companies and Company Law Board to approve auditors for unlisted companies. Only those auditors will be made eligible to audit corporate accounts. The so called autonomy hitherto enjoyed by the Chartered Accountants Institutes will be dispensed with.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will abolish the present practice of allowing unidentified foreign entities to trade in BSE and NSE by using participatory notes. Further, the Janata Dal-Secular party will levy capital gains tax at the normal rates of income tax applicable to income slabs if the capital gains are realized within three years from the date of purchasing the shares.
The present low rate of 15 per cent on capital gains will be made applicable to only those who realize the capital gains after three years. Furthermore, the practice of allowing short selling will be periodically reviewed by the SEBI and the practice of derivative trading will also be periodically reviewed by the SEBI. Over-the-counter derivatives will be banned.
These measures are intended to keep out the speculators and encourage genuine investors to invest in share market. They will also prevent future financial SCAMS. The Janata Dal (Secular) party will review the FDI limits prescribed by the UPA government and if found necessary in the national interest re-fix the limits.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will not allow free capital account convertibility of Indian rupee.
Expansion and improvement of higher education.
While considerable efforts have been made by both the central and state governments to expand and improve the primary education particularly in rural areas, enough attention has not been paid to the expansion and improvement of higher education. The total outlay on education which was supposed to reach 6 per cent of GDP is still hovering around 3 per cent. Expansion and improvement of higher education has become necessary in the wake of globalization which has created unprecedented demand for good quality educated manpower. Realiasing this demand even those countries in Asia and Africa which are less developed than India are expanding their higher education. The gross enrolment rate in higher education in India is still 10 per cent which is far below the rate of 20 per cent required to be classified as developed in higher education. The UPA government's announcement of 30 more universities, 12 IITs and IIMs has remained on paper.
Therefore, the Janata Dal (Secular) party will open one national university in all those states which do not have a national university. It will open one IIT and one IIM in those states where there is no IIT and IIM. It will also open one
AIIMS in a southern state and two in the western Indian states. This will expand the higher education substantially.
Further, the Janata Dal (Secular) party will declare Jamia Millia Islamia as a minority University with 50 per cent seats reserved for students belonging to Muslim minority community.
Though we have 378 universities in India, only 140 are accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council. This would imply that we have to improve academic facilities to improve the quality of higher education to meet the growing demand for highly educated and trained manpower.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will increase the outlay on education from 3 per cent to at least 4 per cent in the first year and to 5 per cent thereafter most of which will be spent on the improvement of the quality of higher education in the country.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will increase the number of foreign scholarships for merited SC/ST and OBC students. Bank loans for SC/ST and OBC students to pursue higher education will be guaranteed by the government so that the banks will be induced to lend student loans without the fear of accumulating NPA.
EMPOWERING WOMEN AND YOUTH. Women and youth deserve special attention in the fast changing society where discrimination and violence are increasing. Realising this social reality, the United Front government under the leadership of Shri H.D.Deve Gowda had introduced the Women.s Reservation Bill in the Parliament which could not become law.
Now the Janata Dal (Secular) party will make another effort to enact women's reservation Bill which has been languishing for several years. This will be a land mark achievement of the Janata Dal (Secular) party.
The attempts to .Talibanise. Indian culture will be firmly dealt with by the
Janata Dal (Secular) party which will make all efforts to ban Bjarang Dal and Sri Rama Sene organizations.
Youth will be encouraged to go for self employment by providing them bank
loans at subsidized rate of interest as it has been outlined above. In addition to such financial assistance to the educated youth, the Janata Dal (Secular) party will encourage enterprising educated youth to start their own enterprises by providing investment funds through a government owned Venture Capital Fund which will be created .
Reformulation of reservation policy & implemention of koppal resolution
Reservation policy is an important cornerstone of our Constitution intended to help the socially and educationally disadvantaged groups of people. But over the years it has benefited only some dominant sections of the disadvantaged groups. Realising this, the Janata Dal(Secular) party government in Karnataka reformulated the reservation policy by categorising different disadvantaged groups so as to help the lagging groups. This policy has been hailed by the courts.
So the Janata Dal (Secular) party convention held recently in Koppal, in Karnataka, passed a resolution to make internal reservation more equitable. The Janata Dal (Secular) party will implement this policy all over the country.
Janata Dal (Secular) party is committed to implement the formula for reservation
in Education and Employment for backward classes, women and Muslims which was in force when Sri.Devegowda was the Chief Minister of Karnataka, and which is also currently in force, in the entire country and shall be given effect in all the states by bringing necessary amendment to the constitution.
Wage-subsidy for employing obcs, SCs and STs and children of bpl families in private sector
In the wake of structural reforms introduced in India from 1991, expansion of the public sector has slowed down whereas the private sector has expanded by leaps and bounds. But the employment opportunities which have been created have gone only to the candidates from urban background. Rural candidates have not benefited much. What is disturbing is that in the name of facing international competition, socially backward groups have been denied their rightful share of whatever employment opportunities that were created. The UPA government tried to persuade the private sector to make reservation voluntarily for the OBCs, SCs and STs. But there was no positive response.
Therefore, the Janata Dal (Secular) party will introduce a scheme of wage-subsidy to encourage the private sector to employ OBCs, SCs, STs and qualified children of BPL families. The wage-subsidy will be proportionate to the wage bill of the enterprise which employs BC,SC, ST and other specified candidates and will be adjusted against tax payable by the enterprise. This will be a novel positive approach to induce the private sector to create jobs for qualified OBC, SC, ST and other specified candidates.
Constitutional amendment for rural reservation
The rural people have been denied, among other things, proper education facilities and as a result they are unable to compete with better educated urban people in employment opportunities. Recognising their disabilities inflicted upon the rural people by the past policies of the successive governments, the Janata Dal party government in Karnataka extended the reservations in admissions in education institutions and in government employment. But this policy was quashed by the courts as violation of the fundamental right
of the citizens.
So the Janata Dal (Secular) party will amend Articles 14, 15 (4) and 16 ( 4) to extend reservations for those who study in village schools.
Social security for the unorganised sector workers
Though the UPA government appointed a committee to recommend social security measures for workers employed in unorganized sector of the Indian economy, it has not acted upon the recommendations mainly because of the Intra-Congress party rivalries. This is unfortunate. Unorganised sector contributes about 40 per cent of the GDP of the country. Crores of workers are employed who do not have security of jobs, pension benefit and even medical benefit. They are exploited to the core.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will examine the feasibility of social security measures recommended by the expert committee and will implement the necessary social security measures for the workers of the unorganized sector in a phased manner.
Job and social security for taxi and auto- drivers
Taxi and auto-riksha drivers in towns and cities, truck drivers engaged in transporting goods and drivers of private passenger vehicles do not have security of jobs and social security benefits.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will enact a legislation making it legally compulsory to provide security of jobs, medical benefits and pension benefits to these drivers. This legislation will also cover conductors, cleaners and other manual workers like hamalies employed in these transport activities.
Pension scheme for the senior citizen artists
Thousands of artists including those who have served in theatre, cinema, painting,, music, dance etc, are facing financial problems during their old age. It is our duty to recognise their past services and make their old age a pleasant one.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will introduce a pension scheme for such artists above the age of 60 years . They will be paid Rs.1000 per month till their death. This will go a long away in helping them to live a dignified life during their old age.
National agency for management of natural calamities
Because of the geographical vastness and climatic diversity, India has been regularly facing innumerable natural calamities like droughts, severe floods, earth quakes, Tsunami etc. Whenever such natural calamities occur, the state and central governments provide relief belatedly. But the process of providing relief is cumbersome and often delayed for procedural reasons.
Therefore, the Janata Dal (Secular) party will create a statutory National Natural Calamity Agency for managing all types of natural calamities as an apex body to assess the damage and provide all types of required relief to the people and areas affected by natural calamities.
The National Natural Calamity Agency will have state level branches which will be standing organizations. The funds recommended by the successive Finance Commissions for helping the state governments for providing relief will be transferred to the National Natural Calamity Agency for management and all donations, both domestic and foreign, received will also be transferred to the National Natural Calamity Agency which will allocate funds to different states depending upon the need. The National Agency will be headed by a senior administrator and will include experts in geology, climatology, distress management and reputed NGOs as members. It will be a standing Agency which acts suo moto as soon as the natural calamity occurs in any part of the country. It will be empowered to requisition help from state/ district level administration, army, navy and air force and also from the central government wherever necessary. Funds credited to the account of National Natural Calamity Agency will be deposited in public sector banks and will be utilized by the National Agency as and when required for providing immediate relief. Setting up of such an organization will eliminate the colonial practice of some central government officers coming to the states for on the spot inspection and then recommending paltry sums for relief works after a lapse of time.
Reformulation of foreign policy
The UPA government has done damage to the reputation of India as a non-aligned country, which can be trusted by the world community, by signing the nuclear energy agreement with the USA. This is only an excuse as the UPA government has pushed the country into the American political matrix in South East Asia. While the elites of this country are enamoured by this achievement if we can call it an achievement, the country.s independence in formulating and articulating its own independent foreign policy has been compromised to the dynamics of the American political and military strategies. Therefore, it is necessary to resurrect India.s independence in formulating its own foreign policy.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will announce its pragmatic Non-Alignment Policy of promoting friendship and cooperation with all countries of the world without fear or favour to any country or power-blocks like NATO and CSTO( Collective Security Treaty Organisation). The Non-Alignment policy will be pragmatic in that it will be guided by the national interest and not to support or oppose any country.s political and military ambitions. India will actively engage itself in promoting peace and stability in all parts of the world. It will
not brook any partisan policies of other countries based on region or religion.
India will not hesitate to retaliate any such partisan foreign policies of other countries if they affect the honour and reputation of India.
It will actively participate in the UNO sponsored activities and its agencies on equal terms. It will cooperate with all countries in tackling domestic as well as international terrorism. In return India will expect UN agencies to be impartial in their dealings with India.
Comprehensive defence policy
A country of India.s size and diversity, and surrounded by politically unstable countries, some of whom deliberately sponsor terrorism as has been amply proved by Mumbai attack, has got to necessarily devote more resources and attention to its defence preparedness. But the recent report of CAG
on the numerical size and quality of India's military hardware has unnerved even the peace loving citizens of this country. The UPA government has miserably failed to modernize and strengthen our armed forces.
Therefore, the Janata Dal (Secular) party will give top priority to modernize and strengthen our defence preparedness. As a first step, our party will build a minimum nuclear deterrent force as a safeguard against any unexpected eventualities.
Corresponding to the development of minimum nuclear deterrence force, the Janata Dal (Secular) party will encourage the development of weapons delivery system like nuclear weapon carrier missiles.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will encourage the building of ICBMs. India has come to be surrounded by countries with space weapons capability.
Therefore, the Janata Dal (Secular) party will create a new division within
ISRO to develop space weapons system for use as quickly as possible.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will create Airborne Brigade, Assault Landing Brigade and a Helicopter Gunship Brigade by acquiring more fighter aircrafts, helicopters and aircraft carriers. It will create four units of Rapid-Assault Force to be stationed in four corners of the country for dealing with any terrorist attack.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will create a new section of defence procurement within each of the embassies in major countries with the responsibility of collecting information about new defence hardware and software ready for use and sale and acquiring them after the approval by the appropriate authority. Though there is a military attaché in each of our embassies, they simply do defence surveillance work. Hence, we will assign them clearly defined specific tasks to help the country to modernize its defence equipments by constantly watching the developments in defence related science and technology and feeding the information to the defence ministry which will help in their decision making.
Protection of minorities and adivasis
Political parties have used the minorities in this country as their vote banks and as a result have received backlash. Minorities do not trust the political parties particularly after the enactment of POTA to curb terrorism.
Because of the propaganda of the BJP, terrorism has come to be wrongly identified with minority community. What is more the BJP has been demanding reenactment of POTA to curb the terrorism in the country.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party is totally opposed to the reenactment of POTA and will oppose victimization of minority community by any political party in the name of curbing terrorism. The Janata Dal (Secular ) party will make efforts to publish Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission Report and to implement its recommendations.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will encourage the minority communities to actively participate in the development of this country and to dissuade those members who are misled to take to terrorism to come back to the main stream of the society.
Active participation in saving the world environment
As an active member and participant of the UNO and its agencies, India will have to cooperate with any effort made by the UNO to contain the socioeconomic consequences of Climate Change. In the past the Indian governments did not support the decisions of the UNO conference held in Kyoto on future course of action for reducing the impact of Climate Change.
The Janata Dal ( Secular) party will support UNO efforts to reduce further deterioration of the world environment as a result of Climate Change.
Mobilising resources for the benefit of the poor
Structural economic reforms particularly liberalization and privatization have created wide inequalities of income and wealth in the country. Apart from this consequence of economic reforms, the fiscal system of the country has been tampered with too much for the benefit of a small section of the society. Consequently, the revenue and fiscal deficits have gone out of control. Public debt has increased enormously. All these fiscal mistakes will have to be corrected.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will appoint an expert committee to review all tax exemptions, deductions, concessions. And to recommend those which can be dispensed with.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will make special efforts to set right the fiscal system of the country by reviewing the entire tax structure of the country in such a way as to raise more tax revenue and to reduce both revenue and fiscal deficits.
The Janata Dal (Secular ) party will restore the fiscal health of the country for the benefit of all sections of the society.
Electoral reforms for saving democracy
Recent controversy relating to the Election Commissioners has exposed the weaknesses of the Constitutional provisions relating to the appointment and removal of Election Commissioners.
The Janata Dal (Secular) party will amend the Constitution to clarify the ambiguities in the appointment and removal of election commissioners and also to ensure their independence form political executive.
The BJP government in Karnataka has made a mockery of democracy by resorting to undemocratic practice of attracting elected MLAs from other parties into its fold by offering them ministerial posts by asking them to resign from their parties and getting them reelected after joining the BJP. The existing disqualifications specified in the Constitutional provision and in the Representation of Peoples Act are not adequate to deal with such novel methods adopted by the BJP in Karnataka. Such practices will be stopped by the Janata Dal (Secular) party by amending the Constitution/ Representation of Peoples Act to ban such persons from contesting any elections for five years. They will also be barred from holding public office for five years.
Reviving harmoneous federalism in India
The Congress government over the years has changed the basic structure of the Indian Constitution by amending it for almost one hundred times and by transferring the powers of the State governments from the State List to the Union List and Concurrent List. This has weakened the state governments.
The Janata Dal ( Secular) party will appoint a High Powered Commission under the chairmanship of a retired Chief Justice of India to review all these constitutional amendments and to recommend wherever necessary to reverse and restore the powers of the state governments back to the State List. This will restore the true spirit of the thinking of the framers of the Indian Constitution. It will also reassure the states that their autonomy guaranteed under the original provisions of the Constitution is restored to its original position. This is necessary for the harmonious relations between the Union and the states.
There has been a demand for creation of smaller states by splitting the geographically bigger states to promote faster pace of socio-economic development. The Janata Dal (Secular) party will appoint the Second States Reorganization Commission to examine the need and desirability of creating smaller states for increasing the pace of development of some backward regions.
Thus the Janata Dal (Secular) party has identified the problems faced by the masses of the country. It has formulated the foregoing policies and programmes to give a helping hand to the socially and economically disadvantaged people. The Janata Dal (Secular) party will strive to fulfill the foregoing policy promises.
As regards policies and programmes we stand distinctly different from two National Parties. The promises made in this manifesto are neither
cheap gimmicks nor populistic exercise. These are implementable in letter and spirit.