CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

“Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex” - Karl Marx

OPINION


A Concerned Citizen's Points For Inclusion in The Manifesto of Political Parties


# Adhere to the 2018 Supreme Court majority verdict on Aadhaar in letter and spirit.

# Recruit and employ scientists of appropriate scientific disciplines in the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in posts meant for them, and remove bureaucrats who have occupied their posts.  

# Amend the existing Environment Protection Act to make EIA mandatory at the start of the project planning process, instead of the present situation when it is the very last clearance to be obtained, and is usually meaningless.    

# Re-vamp the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) of MoEF&CC to obviate the corrupting influence of corporates, and become more publicly accountable and transparent in its functioning.    

# National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). Amend NAPCC to give adaptation and mitigation measures priority over economic growth.  

# As part of NAPCC, ban projects which require forest land (and deforestation) especially in highly eco-sensitive zones, e.g., Western Ghats.  

# Hold annual Lok Sabha sessions devoted to issues of farmers, agricultural workers, and national food security, and initiate presentation of a separate Agriculture Budget (like the erstwhile Railway Budget).  

# Make MNREGA effective nation-wide for 300-days in a calendar year, and make budget allocations accordingly. Compensate for manual-working persons whose biometrics do not authenticate, by de-linking MNREGA payment from Aadhaar authentication.    

# Draft a new agriculture policy to address issues of farmers' indebtedness, food crops instead of cash crops, input costs for farmers, reliable & affordable credit to marginal and small farmers, stop corporate farming, construct adequate food grain silos across the country to cut storage losses, improving water-use efficiency, provide incentive for growing millets over growing rice and wheat (this is especially in view of depleting water and climate change), incentivize organic/natural farming and disincentivize use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.    

# Pass the Farmers' Freedom from Indebtedness Bill, 2018, and the Farmers' Right to Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Prices for Agricultural Commodities Bill, 2018. Revive the Women Farmers' Entitlements Bill, 2011, which lapsed in 2013.  

# Ensure implementation in letter and spirit of the Forest Rights Act (and Community Forest Resource Rights) and the Panchayat (Extension to Schedule Areas) Act, 1996, and prosecute violators. Ensure that FRA and PESA are not diluted by amendments, so that the most marginalized sections of society are not further disempowered.     

# Draft a new National Water Policy on the basis of water as a basic human right before it is viewed as a commodity, with extensive public consultation. Protection and conservation of surface and ground water resources should be linked with forest protection and conservation.  

# Scrap the Iinterlinking of Rivers (ILR) project and stop new projects of large dams and inter-basin mass transfer of water. Make watershed management mandatory for water security, with responsibility of and benefit to local populations through their participation for protection and conservation of water and of surface and ground water sources.    

# Work out and publish a national education policy which makes medium of instruction in schools as the language of the State, but begins teaching of English language from Class 1 (lowest class).    

# Ensure higher budget allocations and priority for primary & secondary education, over higher education. Good citizens are "made" in schools, not in colleges.  

# Energy policy. Draft a holistic national energy policy (taking into account all energy sources and depleting petroleum) for the nation especially in the context of climate change. Stress on renewable energy sources.

# Rail transportation. Give planning and budgetary priority to rail transportation (freight and passenger) over road transportation for long distances, in the interest of saving on petroleum consumption and cutting down vehicle exhaust emissions. Introduce electric traction in a phased manner and phase out diesel locomotives. Provide more non-AC trains to permit ordinary people to travel at affordable costs.  

# Air transportation. Reduce air transportation (which is the most energy-intensive mode of transportation per kilometre-tonne) to the barest minimum so that petroleum import and consumption is reduced.    

# Urban transportation. Adopt an urban transportation policy which gives public transport priority over personal transport, and provides disincentives for personal transport. Movement of people on foot or bicycle to be given precedence over movement of motor vehicles.  

# Nuclear power. Call a moratorium on nuclear power plants, and begin a transparent public discussion on the health and safety aspects and the real-time comparative costs of nuclear power generation vis-a-vis solar power, etc. Bring nuclear electric power generation under the control of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).  

# Nuclear safety. Appoint a Nuclear Regulatory Authority independent of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), and scrap the existing Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which is not independent.     

# Right to Information (RTI). Re-energize the RTI Act & Rules, which have been de-fanged by successive governments, through consultation with civil society.  

# Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA). Amend AFSPA to limit its applicability in any particular location or region for an aggregate  maximum of 90-days in any calendar year, with a maximum period of 30-days at a time. This will give respite to local populations which are suffering loss of political expression, since civil administrations call the army to operate continuously and uninterruptedly for years, even decades. 

# National security. Create a post of Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) for an officer of the Armed Forces, who will be a member of the National Security Council (NSC) as NSA for external security in addition to the existing NSA.    

 

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