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Postings not related to the writing of the Manifesto or policy chapters
are likely to be summarily rejected. Thanks for your understanding. IPI
Thanks to Bhuwan for typing in the corections of Prof. Nugent. These
corrections are in caps. I would request everyone to debate the
modifications/ corrections and once approved, these can be incorporated
into the document. someone needs to do that too. I would prefer
Prof. Roy to share the burden of editing given his high quality
publications. But if he cannot someone else will have to do this
On Mon, 1 Mar 1999, Kulshreshta, Bhuwan wrote:
> Attached please find a word file with Prof.Nugent's inputs updated.
> There are some points that he has made about rewriting some parts etc. that
> we may need to communicate to the forum seperately.In one or two places I
> have tried to input such changes as I thought them best, these would
> obviously need to be approved by all others.
> I have mailed to you the Hard Copy to compare, as required by you.
> Am sorry to hear about the continuing problems with your health and wish you
> all the best for a quick recovery.
> I hope I have been able to understand Prof.Nugent's handwriting sufficiently
> well and that the attached draft would not need too much further work. Do
> let me know if I could help out with anything else.
THE PEOPLE'S MANIFESTO
Prepared by some People of India
through participation in the ongoing and perpetual
National Debate on System Reform
hosted by the India Policy Institute
(Since April, 1998)
All Citizens of India and Well-wishers of India are invited to comment
on this preliminary document and suggest improvements
6th February, 1999
Very Preliminary Draft
Compiled by the
India Policy Institute
"When a good man or woman runs for political office, support him or her
with your time and money."
1. The Free Citizen's Declaration of Personal Sovereignty.
2. The Long Term Vision
3. The Preamble
4. The Manifesto
I The concerns and responsibilities of a citizen
II The code of conduct of an elected representative.
III Disadvantage Index
IV The list of contributors to this version
The Free Citizen, The Fair Society
A Free Citizen's Declaration of Personal Sovereignty.
This note is intended to help us CLARIFY our assumptions ABOUT THE
RESPONSIBILITIES OF individual members of a society AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Our existence is separate
The chain of events leading to ONE'S birth, essentially unrelated in any
way to the political boundaries that ONE seeS today, places ONE in the
environs of a particular society, to which ONE IS related essentially
through ONE'S parents. But ultimately, EACH ONE IS an independent link
of the chain, existing today for reasons best defined by THEM and
understood by THEM, alone. ONE alone can actually feel pain when ONE
nickS ONEselVES, not ONE'S nation, nor even ONE'S family. ONE alone can
think for ONEself. Not ONE'S nation, nor even ONE'S family. No
institution OR organization SHALL be created IF IT undermines this
My compact with society, government, nation
EACH ONE OF US HAS powers of existence defined AT the moment WE WERE
born, and OUR parents through the society had protected this power
through a contract, restraining those who would diminish this power in
any way, and enabling those who would cherish and further it so that WE
WERE safe while WE grew into OURSELVES. That contract was for the
creation and support of a government and consequently of a nation,
through transferring OUR taskS of self-defence to other free citizens in
lieu of payment. The nation was created by us, through our joint
acquiescence, thus, primarily to protect ourselves, and its sanctity
remains as long as this fundamental compact is honored. No institution
shall seek to capture power over the individual domain or otherwise
undermine this fundamental compact.
Loaning additional powers
Further, all of us, jointly, through mutual discussion and debate,
temporarily authorize the government from time to time to do what we
jointly consider as being "good" for us and our families, such as
providing common services and goods which we cannot profitably provide
as individuals to ourselves. But those are not part of the essential,
inter-generational national contract and such additionalities are
subject to review based on new information and new technology.
EACH ONE OF SHOULD work toward a society where able bodied persons work
in legally and socially acceptable occupations for their self-interest
and are rewarded for their contributions in proportion to the quality,
and effort expended, the measure of which is the mutually determined
demand for that labor through bidding of services in open competition.
That society is called a "Fair" society since it is equitable in terms
of reward being fully and mutually determined. Those that are not able,
by virtue of their physical or mental limitations, nevertheless are
equally deserving of the merits of the efforts in comparable proportion
to that which they might reasonably obtain if their limitations were
My obligation and method to review these arrangements
Everything that existed in the past existed without OUR permission. WE
can do nothing about it. But FOR any existing arrangement TO CONTINUE IN
EFFECT, IT SHALL OBTAIN OUR RESPECTIVE permissionS to exist from that
moment, either explicitly, or, as is more common, implicitly. If WE do
not wish to permit it to exist, WE can use the powers of voice to
challenge it, and with mutual consent of OUR fellow sojourners, change
it. That is OUR chosen obligation and the only mutually acceptable
method available. Should OUR efforts, and those of other like-minded
persons, fail to achieve such change due to lack of a majority, WE
remain obligated to maintain the existing arrangement without losing the
right to continue OUR efforts to get it changed.
OUR obligationS to others
ONCE WE have paid OUR mutually determined DUES, WE HAVE NO OBLIGATION
TO TEND FOR OTHER HUMANS IN MY NATION. That does not mean that WE ARE NO
LONGER CIVIC MINDED. INDEED,AS as free citizenS WE HAVE THE RIGHT, to
contribute in cash or in kind, over and above the taxes WE pay, to help
causes which WE believe as being good for the society in which WE wish
- sd -
Free Citizen of Free India
The Long Term Vision
We shall apply democratic methods and proven scientific and economic
research to achieve the FOLLOWING simple goals:
1. Wealth: To make India the most prosperous nation in the world.
In the process we shall completely banish (not merely alleviate) poverty
from the face of India. In particular, the vision is to triple the per
capita income of Indians within 10 years from the moment these policies
are implemented. Through this enterprise of competition every Indian
should be able to proudly earn a decent living.
2. Knowledge: To make Indians capable of contributing to human
learning and peace that the world suitably rewards Indians for their
3. Physical power: To make Indians strong and fast, to make them
capable of winning in competitive sports and other physical endeavours.
Quality of life and democracy
4. Human rights: To provide each individual with political, social,
and cultural rights indispensable for his/her dignity and the free
development of his/her personality.
5. Consensus: To work toward a society where the best policies are
chosen through debate, and a consensus built around them.
6. Governance: To provide the highest quality of governance to the
people, and the best democratic practices.
Let us make India a nation that we all wish to serve. These six things
will ensure that India will be the Best Place to Be on This Beautiful,
Preamble to the Manifesto
Innate equality among all peoples everywhere
7 All human beings are created equal in an essential way. Equality of
opportunity has to be the founding principle of an equitable society.
7 Political groups which use differences of religion, caste, or
language, to come to power, have hurt India very badly both before and
7 About 250 years ago, India occupied complete economic equality with
the advanced nations of today. Even 50 years ago, India was much more
equal to the West than it is today. The current economic inequality is
primarily rooted in systems created by us.
Liberty and mutual respect
7 Human rights and liberty are more precious than wealth.
7 We may differ from our brothers in the way of achieving the goals, but
we shall respect all dissenters and hear them out, in full, carefully
understanding their argument. Democracy needs real freedom of speech, as
well as THE patience of all concerned.
7 We believe in democracy, both conceptually, and practically in the way
it is defined in the Indian Constitution. Dictatorship is the worst
enemy of the people.
7 Religion is a purely personal matter never to be brought into the area
of poltical discourse, and no religion is supreme OR worth fighting
OVER. All religions are to be fully respected.
Belief in self
7 Each human life counts, or can count, if one makes it count. Each of
us can consciously choose for ourselves a courageous role in life,
standing up for what we believe in. We are a nation of one.
7 India has a destiny to fulfil; a role to play on the stage of the
world, INDEED A POTENTIALLY VERY LARGE ROLE. But it has to be earned
through technological and economic superiority, and by promoting
innovation at all levels. Nobody is waiting to GRANT us this role, for
7 Indians shall be not merely considered as spiritual curiosities but
respected as the leaders of the world. We shall make this happen. At the
moment the world MAY chuckle ON HEARING such "tall claims." Perhaps
rightly so. But it is within our capacity to get the respect we think we
Nation, government, citizens and markets
7 To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who
compose it, not something over and above them.
7 The citizens of a free nation, when voluntarily exchanging goods and
services, and valuing these goods and services through their interaction
are said to constitute a market. In this mode of interaction, individual
choice is given full respect. This mode may not be the best mode or even
a feasible mode of interaction, for all situations.
7 Government is an entity which can be said to have a contractual
obligation to fulfil certain tasks given to it to do by the People. It
cannot unilaterally take on tasks which it is not asked by the People to
do. One of the key tasks given to government is to determine the 'rules
of the game' of markets and to umpire and enforce these rules.
7 Civil society is premised on individual freedom and responsibility,
and on A GOVERNMENT WHICH IS limited and accountable. It protects the
individual from the intrusive state, and connects the individual to the
larger social and economic order.
7 A simple WAY to analyze the kind of role that the citizens and
government need to play is given below:
n Is it possible for citizens to solve the problem themselves, if
properly guided by government? Yes/ No.
o If No, is there any RATIONALE AND/or evidence SUGGESTING that the
government WOULD do a much better job THAN IT'S CITIZENS? Yes/ No.
If Yes, then give the job to government.
If No, give it back to the citizens.
o If Yes, then leave it with the citizens straight-away.
Ultimately, this is an empirical question. In practice (as opposed to
theory), do imperfect markets work better than imperfect governments. In
practice, do competition, incentives to effort and innovation, and
survival of the fittest in the marketplace - however flawed the market
may be - work better than bureaucrats supposedly pursuing the public
7 Clearly, there is a role for government not only in the basic tasks of
governance, but ALSO in economic activity. But that role is PROBABLY,
very small. There is much to be said in favour of an intelligent, small
government, DESIGNING strong economic incentives SO THAT THE PEOPLE CAN
OBTAIN the best results FROM THEIR BEST EFFORTS.
Orientation toward action, using the scientific attitude.
7 That we have no time to listen to a discourse on India's problems, or
whence they came about, but only in finding the best solution to those
7 A major solution to theSE problem is perhaps as follows: promoting
competition in the production of the best goods in the world. This means
that people need to be provided WITH opportunities commensurate TO their
effort, and suitable incentives to compete.
7 Regardless of the purpose for which one intends to use it, wealth must
first be produced. Whatever it takes to convert India into a land of
entrepreneurs, will be done. Wealth creation is the supreme objective.
The only logical way to rid of poverty is to make everyone richer.
7 SINCE communism and socialism are defective in their fundamental
understanding of human motivation and incentives, these theories of
social organization SHALL BE REJECTED. Even Germany and Britain (nations
associated with Marx) cared not for this fake intellectualism which has
only brought ruin to each SOCIETY WHICH HAS embraced IT'S utopian IDEAS.
BY respectfully bidDING FAREWELL to these failed views of human
behavior, WE CAN focus on the scientific study of human BEHAVIOUR,
7 What we need are policies and laws which ensure that in the event that
the government is in any way less than perfect, the system will make it
impossible for anyone with ulterior motives to even attempt to be
dishonest and corrupt.
Today, India has NIETHER good governance nor good economic policy. We
need to provide good governance first, which will be made possible by
implementing good economic policies simultaneously.
1. Individual Autonomy and ParticipaTORY Democracy
We believe that a radical democratization of government in India is the
need of the hour. Autonomy of individuals and by implication that of all
organizations (entities) is the basic democratic principle. This means
that the interests of all, whether rich or poor, illiterate or the
"elite," have to be protected and given a platform to be heard. The
citizen must have the opportunity to participate directly in the
decision making process - wherever possible, technologically, and
economically. This participation would better enable each citizen to
appreciate the connection between the public and private spheres. The
citizen would be better able to assess the performance of
representatives at the national level, and each citizen would have the
opportunity to become a BETTER educated, public citizen.
To operationalize this,
a) Our representatives must tell us clearly what they stand for, to
enable us to make a wise decision at the time of elections.
b) All government control of the media must be released back to the
c) Each citizen would have the right to DIRECTLY call for a copy of any
non-sensitive record maintained by government on that citizen. SENSITIVE
INFORMATION SHALL BE CLEARLY DEFINED AND BE STRICTLY LIMITED TO MATTERS
UNABIGUOUSLY RELATING TO NATIONAL SECURITY . There would be no
non-sensitive record in any department except the Home, Defence and
Finance departements. Even within these departments, records would have
to relate to really important and sensitive issues of internal security,
in order to be elegible for being labelled 'sensitive.' One copy of each
such record would have to be provided free of cost.
d) Each public office would have a Local Board, which would supervise
its activities. The Local Board would be constituted completely randomly
from the citizens who are served by that organization.
e) Local bodies and groups which involve debate on public policy, SHOULD
2. National Reconciliation
The creation of a sense of fraternity amongst peoples of India is a task
long overdue. The task of sitting down together and discussing things
out has to be carried out very seriously. This can be done by
a) Fostering civic institutions and think tanks in all fields, which
will interact with the people as well as with counterparts in other
b) Promoting the spirit of voluntarism and thus enhancing social
3. Electoral Reform
Candidates must furnish TO THE RETURNING OFFICERS details of ANY
criminal cases IN WHICH they are involved at the time of filing
applications for THEIR candidature.
Second, elected representatives do not have to start their careerS with
lieS. Electoral laws have to be modified to be encourage honesty. There
should be no restrictions on who can donate to a political campaign. The
only requirement would be that donations to political parties will be
fully documented and publicly available for inspection on the internet.
The Election Commission should have the power to dissolve parties which
do not disclose their funds completely.
Decisions by policy makers need to be taken after due process and due
consideration of all sides, and only on merit. Citizens groups can take
up the responsibility of monitoring closely the actions of the
politicians and businesses and swiftly come down if there are cases of
quid pro quo detected. The people reserve the right to put reasonable
limits on individual and corporate contributions to limit the influence
of money, if and when it is perceived by them that decisions by
law-makers are not being made keeping the merits of the case in mind.
Such citizens groups would be allowed to receive tax-exempt donations as
well as receive matching grants up to a certain amount, in order to
equalize the weight of democracy toward the citizens themselves.
Representatives of the people have to be paid liberally to attract the
best and most experienced people from India into governance. The
compensation paid out to an MP should be in the range of Rs.20 lakhs per
year, and an MLA should get around Rs.5 lakhs per year, fully taxable
under the usual laws. Apart from free housing (for purposes of security)
at the state or central capital, no other perquisite needS TO be
To ensure that the rampant bribery which is seen today is SHARPLY
REDUCED, all elected representatives need to furnish a copy of their
income tax statements, annually, on the internet, as well a statement of
Bureaucrats would be given strong incentives to document corruption by
elected representatives (including taped evidence). They would have the
power to present this evidence to the Lok Pal who would have the power
to protect the bureaucrat as well as to reward such effort if found to
4. Parliamentary Reform
THE voting records of each and every MP/MLA on each and every Bill
SHOULD be publicly available on the internet, so that citizens could
determine how well their interests ARE represented by the said
Constant preparedness is needed to keep our defence forces in the state
of readiness to defend our borders. Availability of sufficient funding
has to be ensured for investment in personnel, modern weapons, and in
suitable technology in accordance with current military needs.
6. Foreign Policy
We should try to find common interests with nations that have similar
democratic norms of government. This would include extraditing criminals
from other nations who are sought by their police, shutting down
operations of foreign terrorists on Indian soil, signing extradition
treaties with more nations, providing troops for the International Court
of Justice's enforcement operations, etc. Trade needs to be encouraged.
We advocate the goal of global disarmament by all nations and the
banning of all weapons of mass destruction. The sole purpose of creating
a nuclear weapon must be to help the world understand the futility of
trying to hold on to existing power structures in perpetuity, and to
insist that everyone in the world will be better off with complete
disarmament. The weapons that India has developed should be completely -
and simultaneously - destroyed along with all other nuclear weapons in
the entire world. India should resolve never to use these weapons NOR TO
threaten anyone with these dangerous toys. India SHOULD never be the
first to use nuclear weapons in the event of a conflict with another
India SHOULD obtain permanent membership in the United Nations Security
Council. We need to cooperate with neighbors in sharing resources linked
to waterways, and TO protect the interests of Indian citizens abroad
more firmly BY STRENGTHNING OUR NETWORK OF EMBASSIES AND BY ENSURING
THAT URGENT ACTION IS TAKEN UPON RECEIVING REQUESTS BY ANY CITIZEN FOR
ASSISTANCE. THESE EMBASSIES SHOULD ALSO SERVE AS THE FOCAL POINT FOR ALL
ASSISTANCE NEEDED BY INDIAN COMPANIES AND BUSINESSMEN TO BE SUCCESSFUL
IN THEIR VENTURES ABROAD.
7. Law and Order
Vigorous efforts need to be made to raise the morale, competence,
ethical behaviour and responsiveness of the Police, both through
monetary incentives and improved training. The existing nexus between
politicians, bureaucrats and the underworld, has to be completely
destroyed. Some steps in this direction:
i. Enhancing the educational qualifications for recruitment into
the Police force.
ii. Implementation of the National Police Commission's
iii. Implementation of the Vohra Committee recommendations.
iv. Requiring a short enquiry by the Returning Officer at the time
of filing of candidature to election, for verification of the Police
Records of all candidates.
v. Modernizing and computerizing criminal records
vi. Improving the public-Police interaction.
vii. IMPOSING severe penalties to Police officials found using third
8. Administrative Reform
a) Accountability: Both the elected and non-elected officials of
India are paid by the taxpayer and are accountable to the Indian people
for their deeds being in abidance by the laws laid down by the People.
Except for state secrets relating to critical matters of defence of the
country, and those relating very clearly to internal security, nothing
else shall be considered to be an Official Secret.Both the elected and
non elected officials of India are paid by the taxpayer and are
accountable to the Indian people.Their deeds MUST BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH
the laws laid down by the People. The permanent bureaucracy shall be
fully privileged, as fully law- abiding citizens of India, to go to the
Lok Pal and even the media, to inform the people about misdemeanours of
any other publicly paid official.
b) Bureaucrats in free India will be CITIZEN bureaucrats. They will have
rights to speak out as citizens, both on general issues of governance as
well as on the private secrets of political leaders, which are not
covered under the Official Secrets Act. They will not merely watch as
helpless spectators of the decadence they observe around them. If they
do so they should be discharged from service once their connivance is
discivered.To allow a corrupt Minister to linger on in power through THE
negligence OF FAILING to build a proper case, is a crime and SHOULD be
treated as such.
b) Jobs at the levels of Additional Secretary and above in the
Government of India would be delinked from the permanent civil service.
These jobs SHOULD be filled either from within the service or from any
other source, outside the government, on a contractual basis, and on the
meritS of the person concerned.
c) Salaries of bureaucrats at all levels SHOULD be made comparable with
private sector salaries for similar jobs AND INDEXED SO AS TO BE FULLY
ADJUSTABLE FOR INFLATION.
d) Bureaucrats would be rewarded for the REDUCING the needless tasks
performed by government, and HENCE the size of government. They SHOULD
also be rewarded for working out institutional arrangements and
processes that encourage adversary relationships among related
e) The public budgeting and planning process would be decentralized and
9. Citizens' ID Numbers
Each citizen would receive a uniquely numbered citizen identification
card. This will help keep track of total government benefits provided to
each citizen. This can also help to extend benefits which are not
The key responsibility for the development of sports would lie with the
people themselves, in terms of forming organizations for the development
of competitive sports. Firms would be encouraged to use sports for
marketing purposes. Wherever necessary, government would assist through
raising funds for stadia and other infrastructure, and no import duties
would be imposed on equipment used for purposes of competitive sports."
GOOD ECONOMIC POLICY
Changing the economic system
Over the last fifty years, governments in countries with fewer natural
and human resources than India have provided better opportunities for
their citizens. All data conclusively points to the fact that rapid
economic growth tends strongly to reduce poverty. What was therefore
needed was the creation of an environment suitable for the generation of
rapid economic growth.
Instead, THE government OF INDIA HAS attempted to control, by
nationalization and other techniques, the major sectors of economy. This
has done more harm than good to India's citizens. While not promoting
capitalism blindly, a first step has to be taken toward changing the
economic system by removing the word "Socialistic" from the Preamble to
the Indian Constitution. We need to shift toward a model of minimally
This will involve some of the following.
Privatize (and liberalize) nationalized and other public sector
industries so that these organizations are brought in check by market
forces. This will also give people better control over their destiny. It
will promote competitive and risk-taking behavior which is necessary if
the output of the nation is to grow and if India is to regain its
equality with the most powerful nations in the world.
In particular, government ownership in these sectors should be dissolved
or SHARPLY reduced: telecommunications, media (television, radio and
print), all metal production and associated industries, power generation
and distribution, state electricity boards, automobiles, cement
industry, banking, insurance, fertilizer production, city waste
2. Private ownership
The principle of private ownership of everything - land, property and
mental output (intellectual property) - has to be very strongly and
clearly defined and protected. All ownership should of course lapse with
time, such as the passing away of a person (through stringent
inheritance laws), or a within a certain number of years.
3. Price deregulation:
In general, we abhor the concept of price regulation by government in
any productive activity. Government does not possess nor can ever
possess the local knowledge that is critical to the determination of a
price. Even if it were to possess such knowledge, its officials would
not have the necessary incentives needed to fix prices justly, even if
they were the most honest officials around.
4. Deregulation of industry
Wherever possible, to promote competition, deregulation needs to be
done. Internal deregulation needs to be done before foreign
deregulation. The following sectors in particular need to be
deregulated: banking, road transport.
5. Regulation of profiteering:
Freedom to fix prices (of goods or of labour) should not lead to
profiteering. Therefore, strong (though participatory and democratic)
regulatory bodies need to be established to monitor cases of
profiteering. Regulation of monopolistic behavior should primarily be
through promotion of domestic and foreign competition. Wherever
necessary, strong regulatory bodies, but very democratic, need to be
instituted to regulate possible profiteering.
Further, as far as wages are concerned, the government would not
interfere with this mechanism, except perhaps to suggest "desirable"
levels of minimum wage.
6. Collective bargaining by labor:
In general, throughout the world, advances in productivity, not unions,
have been mainly responsible for the improvements in earnings and
working conditions of the average worker. Despite this, as a part of the
free-market wage determination process, collective bargaining by
firm-specific labor unions will be encouraged. However, industry-wide or
nation-wide attempts by unions to interfere in the wage bargaining
process amount to using oligopolistic or monopolistic power by labor,
and will be discouraged.
7. Elimination of attempts to "plan" the economy:
While we need strong supporting research organizations which will
provide relevant information to the Parliament and to the Government, we
definitely do not need any intermediary organization which runs
"planning" models which reek of futile and economically unjustifiable
attempts at centralized planning. The Planning Commission has to be
closed down, or converted into a much smaller but professional, Research
Wing for the Parliament.
8. Independence of Central Bank
The Reserve Bank of India should be made completely independent of
control by the executive. The bank should be completely free to research
and implement the best possible monetary policy for India based on the
current situation. The only focus of the Bank should be to keep
inflation in complete check. That is because inflation is the surest way
to hurt the lowest earning members of a society. Other economic goals,
such as employment and growth, should be purely under the jurisdiction
of the executive.
9. Financial, Capital, and Foreign Exchange Markets
Measures need to be taken to bring back small investors to the capital
market by raising the transparency and accountability of listed
companies as well as that of capital market intermediaries
A market-responsive exchange rate would have to be put into place,
determined by fundamental demand and supply factors.
The numerous controls and impediments to the setting up and functioning
of the derivative markets would be removed.
Constraints on hedging of exposure on international markets will be
Modern, well-regulated, forward and future markets are essential for
efficient management of risk, and would be established jointly with the
suitably qualified citizens.
10. Following prudent fiscal and monetary policies.
The central and state budgets SHOULD be brought into balance. Inflation
would be kept under strict control by allowing the Central bank to use
interest rate as the key policy instrument. Real interest rates would be
kept at the lowest possible levels to boost investment.
11. Intellectual Property Rights
The patents machinery in India to be tremendously strengthened and
intellectual property rights vigorously enforced. No innovation can be
supported without this basic institution.
12. Social Safety Net
Due to the unleashing of innovation and creativity consequent to the
shift of economic incentives, incomes of individuals can be expected to
become more variable over the course of time. While re-training of those
who are deemed surplus in a particular sector of the economy is a
desirable objective, it is costly as well as time-consuming. Therefore a
social safety net in the form of unemployment insurance and social
security systems has to be immediately brought into place, mostly
fully-funded rather than pay-as-you-go, with some progressivity built
13. Equity through elimination of poverty
The poor are not all poor because of their "fault," and the rich are not
all rich because they deserved it. A society, to call itself humane in
the next millennium, will also have to be equitable. Inequalities of
income are a necessary outcome of a society geared toward the production
of wealth. However, poverty is not. The focus of the humane society will
have to be to ensure the complete absence of poverty.
While the growth of incomes would substantially bring down poverty,
there would remain many cases where direct tax credits and other direct
subsidies would need to be applied to those who are unable, for no fault
of theirs, to cope with the changed economic environment. More
importantly, subsidized education will be provided to those who are
14. IT Policy
The information technology sector is very important IT policy:
"included here briefly" should be removed.
. Private parties would be involvement in cabling and uplinking. The
consumer electronics and semiconductor industries would be particularly
encouraged. Private would be allowed to own and operate their own
communication satellites. Obstacles such as license fee and earmarking
of territories for companies would be done away with. Internet telephony
would be freely permitted.
15. Agricultural policy
Complete removal of agricultural subsidies and permission to trade
commodities freely and globally. Drip irrigation would be encouraged to
avoid the impact of failure of monsoons. Private insurance companies
will be encouraged to insure crops. Greater use of hydro-resources for
electricity, and linking up canals to provide irrigation. Private
insurance companies will be encouraged to insure crops.
16. Greater role of the government in provision of public goods
The government needs to focus attention on education, infrastructure,
urban planning, and the environment, and the task of regulating,
standardizing and quality control in the interest of the consumer.
The magnitude and quality of urbanization is a sure and foolproof test
of economic development. Urbanization promotes economic efficiency in
all fields of human endeavour by bringing together a critical mass of
human beings specializing in various sectors of the economy. Large
number of extremely modern and well-planned satellite cities have to be
planned around metropolises which are congested for lack of planning and
resistance to urbanization. There is nothing like a maximum possible
size for any city. The USA with less than one third of our population
easily supports cities which are larger than the largest in India,
today. We can easily go for three to four times the existing size of
most cities, if properly planned. That is where the government has to
step in, not as a builder, but as a promoter of cities.
The role of government is critical in the provision of infrastructure,
whose benefits are reaped by all, and so, costs have to be borne by
most. Resource constraints can be partially met by involving the private
sector in the entire process of construction and maintenance. However,
even where such solutions are not feasible, government should not
directly construct and maintain any structure, but sub-contract these
services to private vendors. THIS MUST, HOWEVER BE DONE IN A COMPETITIVE
AND TRANSPARENT MANNER.
All direct construction activities by government agencies, either
departments or public sector agencies, would be closed down. The Public
Works departments would purely sub-contract and monitor the work of
private agencies. There would be very few limits on the potential size
of private companies in the infrastructure sector, to allow economies of
scale, while promoting competition.
The focus would be on the creation of additional capacity, sufficient to
meet the highest expected demand at the highest anticipated growth rates
of the economy.
In all cases the "User Pays Principle" would operate. Nobody would be
subsidized indirectly. If any farmer or entrepreneur has to be
subsidized, that would be done directly, through the Social Insurance
program, where people can easily read the total subsidy received by
There is no shred of evidence of global warming, and the excuse being
used by some "environmentalists" to curb production and consumption in
the developing world is misguided. On the other hand there is a
tremendous role of government in environmental planning including saving
the wild life. Efforts have to be focused on hazardous waste disposal,
and cleaning up the water and air.
d) Standardization and quality control:
This is a task long neglected due to wasting energy and effort in
activities where the private citizen had a comparative advantage. The
government must strongly revamp these sectors to ensure that the quality
of the products in the economy is upgraded successively and the consumer
is protected from various spurious and unsafe products.
GOOD SOCIAL POLICY
By acquiring skills needed to obtain challenging and rewarding
positions, individuals strive to better their economic and social
conditions. The primary purpose of education, therefore, is to help
citizens obtain the requisite skills, so that they may BE empowerED and
inform themselves for their personal gain. Alongside this, education
must also impart a sense of obligation, so that through their education,
students receive not only the abilities to act in the greater interest
of society, but more importantly the willingness to do so.
What role shall government play in achieving these ends? First, it must
be recognized that it is the interest of the people that must guide the
policies formulated and/or enacted by government. To this end,
government must liberalize the learning process so that a fuller
expression of the people's interests is possible. And further to
facilitating this, government shall also provide the organizational
framework needed to ensure that the education system creates a confident
and concerned citizenry.
The interests of the people lie in ensuring that:
(a) everyone has affordable access to the facilities for education
(b) the specific objectives they seek remain within their abilities to
shape and PROGRESS. Further, that the creativity and enterprise needed
to remain competitive are not stifled.
(c) those who teach our children SHOULD BE competent, and SHOULD
continually strive to keep themselves informed of the latest
developments in their disciplines. Further, that those who serve this
ideal well be recognized for their efforts.
(d) those who are authorized to create policies/standards for these
purposes remain answerable to parents as well as accountable for their
performance to the entire society.
Consistent with the above interests, the following specific policies are
sought to be adopted and/or implemented.
(a) - 6% of Gross Domestic Product should be targeted for spending on
education. School lunch programs be set up to offset poverty's role in
continuing illiteracy. Need-based loans to attend institutions of higher
learning shall be made available.
- Schooling up to COMPLETETION OF high school or its equivalent shall
not be denied to any citizen on economic considerations alone. The
government SHOULD provide the funds necessary to cover the cost of
education for all children in cases where economic hardhsip is a factor.
The funds allotted a child's education may nevertheless be used for
education in a non-government school. Further, every school shall be
required to have the basic minimum facilities necessary for good
- Education shall be imparted in languages most appropriate to the
matter being taught. Education in English shall be encouraged in those
disciplines where the competitive interest demands this, and education
in native languages shall be preferred in other disciplines. The
educational policies must take advantage of the languages already known
to the people, to permit the fastest transition to a fully literate
society. (b) - Responsibility for providing education must lie as close
to the people as possible. The states, and not the center, shall bear
the responsibility to provide education. Further, the administration of
school boards and individual schools be elected/appointed by local
governments at the level of panchayats for specific and renewable terms.
- Education by private schools is not only permissible, but preferable.
All schools, regardless of ownership, shall receive funding from the
government. However, this does not vest government with the power to
manage them in any way. Funds are to be provided to private schools only
so that the obligation to fund every child's education at a minimum
level is met.
- The creation of private universities must be encouraged. This is
necessary not only to ensure creative and dynamic functioning at the
highest levels, but also to enable government to downsize its huge
commitment to higher education in favor of primary education.
- The educational process shall be modified to permit alternate streams
of education. i.e., vocational and technical institutions which are
better suited to teach specific topics than formal schools and
universities should be encouraged. Students in high schools should be
made aware of their options, so that they may make their choices in a
more informed manner.
- The conceptualization and creation of new programs shall be
encouraged. Curricula in all programs shall be reviewed and updated at
specified intervals. Input for this process shall be sought from
industry as much as from academia.
(c) - Educators shall be recognized as guardians of the future, and
their compensation shall reflect the responsibility we vest in them.
Able teachers shall be recognized and rewarded in both material and
- Every opportunity shall be made available for teachers to better
themselves. Programs that facilitate this process shall be encouraged,
and incentives for participating in them shall be established or
encouraged. Standardized teacher education programs shall be set up in
all school districts.
- Educators who rise above the call of duty shall be especially honored
and rewarded. Participation in adult education programs, service in
areas with poor track records in education, etc. must be encouraged.
- A process of repeated assessment be created to ensure that teachers
remain interested in apprising themselves of the latest developments in
their fields. Term-limited appointments which can be reviewed based on
performance shall be preferred to lifetime employment or tenure.
Term-limited appointments, to be viable, require a social security
system, and may be deferred until one is in place.
(d) - The educational standards that schools be required to maintain
shall be established with the full participation of parents, not merely
by the authority of administrative bodies. Appointments to such
standards-making bodies shall be made by state governments, the center,
local governments, and parents' groups equally.
- The financial conduct of school boards and other entities providing
educational services shall be audited regularly and transparently. All
funds used for education shall be accounted for by those entrusted with
their proper use, and all such information shall be available publicly
on the internet, and be made available to parents' groups by school
- Panchayats shall appoint supervisors who shall be accountable for the
operation of schools within the jurisdiction of the panchayat.
Contractual appointments shall be made to such supervisory positions.
The implementation of these policies will achieve the one objective on
which everything else rests, the creation of a society whose members
confidently interact in a democratic setting toward their own betterment
and for that of their fellow-citizens. Ultimately, these policies will
create a citizenry which, acting in its own interest and retaining
control close to it, creates and manages the institutions through which
it prepares for a better tomorrow.
This is the National Debate on System Reform. firstname.lastname@example.org
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