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National Agenda For Governance
In the recently concluded elections to the 12th Lok Sabha, the BJP and its alliance partners went to the people as a team and sought their support for forming a new government. The electorate has given its verdict. The BJP and alliance partners have unitedly won. We have the mandate to govern. This we will do mindful of the high responsibility and honour that has been conferred upon us.
On this occasion we recollect the core of the appeal for support that we had made; the assurance of a `stable government and an able leadership'. As a reaffirmation of that, and in joint and unanimous commitment to this high national endeavour, together the BJP and alliance partners now present to the country a `National Agenda for Governance'.
This is our joint commitment, an assurance that we give together to the entire country. We do so conscious of the deep historic import of the moment in this the Golden Jubilee year of our independence; of the great relevance and significance of `The Agenda For India', adopted unanimously by both Houses of Parliament on that occasion; the impending end of the Twentieth Century and the dawning of a new millenium. On this occasion we appeal for and aspire to the advent of a new political age of reconciliation and accord; of dynamic economic growth with our cherished values of humanism in the forefront, and above all with an unshakable faith in the destiny of our great land and its people.
Our first commitment to the people is to give a stable, honest, transparent, and efficient government capable of accomplishing all-round development. For this the government shall introduce time-bound programmes of needed administrative reforms including those for the police and other Civil Services.
We will continue with the reform process, give it a strong Swadeshi thrust to ensure that the national economy grows on the principle that `India shall be built by Indians'; reappraise and revitalise reforms through giving primacy to removal of unemployment, and to an accelerated development of infrastructure, particularly energy and power production. We will bring GDP growth to the 7-8 pc bracket, and control deficits, fiscal and revenue. We will take all such steps as would expedite implementation of policies and programmes in accord with our national interests; and give to the entire national development efforts a humane face with total eradication of poverty as the ultimate goal. For this ` berozgari hatao ' (eradicate unemployment) is our call.
We will carefully analyse the effects of globalisation, calibrate the process of it by devising a time-table to suit our national conditions and requirements so as to not undermine but strengthen the national economy, the indigenous industrial base and the financial and services sectors.
We will earmark 60 pc of the Plan Funds for and effect public investment in agriculture, rural development, irrigation and by diverse incentives, including tax shelters, achieve a quantum leap in agricultural production so that agriculture, horticulture, forestry, food processing, fisheries and so on become the vehicles for growth resulting in an enhancement of the purchasing power of the people. Effective crop insurance schemes will be introduced. Special efforts will be made in animal husbandry, dairying, particularly in respect of cow and its progeny. This is one of the routes to generating employment, thus eradicating hunger and poverty in rural as well as urban areas. We will continue with farm subsidies but make them more direct, efficient and specific. Development of medium and small scale irrigation projects shall receive priority attention; emphasis for investment here will be in accordance with the potential for development.
We will adopt a National Water Policy which provides for effective and prompt settlement of disputes and their time-bound implementation.
We will increase the national savings to 30 pc of the GDP in the next five years by appropriate incentives and through motivation; encourage Foreign Direct Investment in core areas so that it usefully supplements the national efforts and discourage FDI in non-priority areas.
We will institute a comprehensive study of the financial, technological and social security requirements of the self-employed and unincorporated sector, also constitute a Development Bank to promote this largest segment of the national economy which, too, has great employment and self-employment potential. Further, in addition to financial support from institutions, we will bring into being other institutional systems for providing services, technology and marketing facilities for artisans, the small-scale, village, khadi, powerloom, handloom, handicrafts and such other industries. This and the agriculture sectors are an untapped source with unlimited scope for generation of employment.
We will give a major thrust to infrastructure development, particularly energy and power, by recommencing public expenditure in the sector. Towards this we will access long-term funds in the national and international markets, remove administrative bottlenecks, reverse the slowdown in this critical area of national economy, thus giving a fresh impetus to growth.
We will undertake a review of all laws and regulations relating to industry so as to free it from bureaucratic control; institute a system of voluntary compliance with laws, including tax laws; ensure speedy redressal of industrial sickness; arrange for meaningful interaction between industry and government; and revive the capital market as a viable and transparent mechanism for raising capital. We will also expedite comprehensive reform of the PSUs, including restructuring, rehabilitation and divestment.
We will make labour, both organised and unorganised, an equal and proud partner in the production of the nation's wealth and in its progress. Laws relating to equal pay for equal work for men and women shall be strictly implemented.
Eradication of Unemployment
Recognising the right to work of every citizen, the main thrust of the new government will be: ` Berozgaari Hatao ' (eradicate unemployment). As against the present trend of jobless growth, our government will measure growth by generation of gainful employment. Our new investment and institutional thrust to agriculture, the self-employed, the unincorporated sector, infrastructure development and housing will act as the vehicles for massive employment creation at all levels.
Food Security and Price Stability
We will ensure food security for all, create a hunger-free India in the next five years, and reform and improve the Public Distribution System so as to serve the poorest of the poor in rural and urban areas. We will also ensure price stability by all appropriate means and necessary legislation.
Health and drinking Water
We will ensure that potable drinking water is available to all villages in the next five years. We will strive to achieve `health for All' by diverse programmes.
Education for All
We are committed to a total eradication of illiteracy. We will formulate and implement plans to gradually increase the governmental and non-governmental spending on education up to 6 pc of the GDP; this to provide education for all. We will implement the constitutional provision of making primary education free and compulsory up to 5th standard. Our aim is to move towards equal access to and opportunity of educational standards up to the school-leaving stage. We shall strive to improve the quality of education at all levels from primary schools to our universities.
Housing for All
Shelter is a basic human requirement that needs to be met on a priority basis. We are, therefore, committed to evolving a National Housing and Habitat Policy in consultation with state governments, aimed at providing housing for all. Towards this end, we shall facilitate construction of 20 lakh additional housing units annually. As in other programmes, the emphasis will be on the benefit to the poor and the deprived.
Empowerment of Women
We will legislate for the reservation of 33 pc of the seats in Parliament and state assemblies for women; also institute plans for providing free education for girls up to college level, including professional courses, so as to better empower women. We will also set up a development bank for women entrepreneurs in the small scale and tiny sectors.
Harnessing Yuva Shakti
Our youth are the strength of the family, village, locality and the community, they are also the future of our nation. We will take all necessary steps to mobilise this most idealistic, inspired and energetic section of our society in the mission of nation-building. For this purpose, we shall build national consensus for the creation of a National Reconstruction Corps aimed at environmental protection, ecological tasks, reclamation of waste land, including afforestation, and for spreading literacy. We will have a time-bound programme for promotion of sports.
We will present a National Charter for Children. Our aim is to ensure that no child remains illiterate, hungry, or lacks medical care. We will take measures to eliminate child labour.
A suitable and judicious mix of incentives and disincentives for population control shall be presented early so that national commitment on this critical issue is obtained.
Constitutional and Legal Reforms
We will appoint a commission to review the Constitution of India in light of the experience of the past 50 years and to make suitable recommendations.
We are convinced that there is a clear case for devolution of more financial and administrative powers and functions to the states. We will take suitable steps to ensure harmonious Centre-State relations in the light of the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission and also effect decentralisation right up to the grassroots level by activating and involving panchayats and local bodies. States of the Union where the percentage of population below the poverty line has increased during the last five decades shall receive special attention. A Backward Area Commission for each State of the Union to identify least developed areas and recommend comprehensive measures for their development shall be instituted. A Committee will be set up to study the feasibility of treating all 19 languages included in Schedule 8 of the Constitution as official languages.
We will introduce necessary electoral reforms on the basis of the recommendations of the Goswami Committee so as to deal with the malaise of defections, corruption and criminalisation of politics, and to prevent electoral malpractices.
We will set up a National Judicial commission which will recommend judicial appointments in High Courts and the Supreme Court and draw up a code of ethics for the judiciary.
We will enact the Lok Pal Bill with adequate powers to deal with corruption charges against anyone, including the Prime Minister. In the administration of justice, we shall not allow discrimination between the rich and the poor, the empowered and the powerless; restore the majesty of law, and the objectivity of the state.
We will give full statehood to Delhi and also create Uttaranchal, Vananchal and Chhattisgarh as new States.
The state of preparedness, morale and combat effectiveness of the Armed Forces shall receive early attention and appropriate remedial action. We will establish a National Security Council to analyse the military, economic and political threats to the nation, also to continuously advise the government. This council will undertake India's first ever Strategic Defence Review. To ensure the security, territorial integrity and unity of India we will take all necessary steps and exercise all available options. Towards that end we will re-evaluate the nuclear policy and exercise the option to induct nuclear weapons.
We are committed to ensuring the safety and security of all citizens in all parts of the country. For reaching this goal, we will take effective steps to create a riot-free order and a terrorism-free India.
We will strive to secure for India a place, role and position in the global arena, consistent with our size and capability and promote peaceful relationship with all neighbours on a reciprocal basis. We will promote and strengthen regional and civilisational grouping on the lines of SAARC and ASEAN, and reorient our diplomacy to pursue our economic and commercial goals. We will formulate our agenda on the WTO issues in the wider perspective of the universal goal of creating a world order which is more equitable, humane and free of exploitation. To this end, we will attempt to build a system of trade and economic cooperation through an expanded global system of trade preferences (GSTP) among developing countries. In the WTO we will assert more robustly India's national interests.
We are committed to establishing a civilised, humane and just civil order; that which does not discriminate on grounds of caste, religion, class, colour, race or sex. We will truly and genuinely uphold and practice the concept of secularism consistent with the Indian tradition of `Sarva panth samadara' (equal respect for all faiths) and on the basis of equality of all. We are committed to the economic and educational development of the minorities and will take effective steps in this regard.
SCs, STs and Backward Classes
The interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes will be adequately safeguarded by appropriate legal, executive and societal efforts and by large scale education and empowerment. We will provide legal protection to existing percentages of reservation in educational institutions at the State level. We will continue to offer all assistance to the SCs, STs and Backward Classes to ensure their speedy socio-economic development. We will remove the last vestiges of untouchability from our society. Further, we will present a National Charter for Social Justice (Samajik Nyay) based on the principle of social harmony (Samajik Samarasata).
We will establish an appropriate legal framework for the protection of the environment and unveil a National Environment Policy to balance between development and ecology.
We will improve the Prasar Bharati Act as originally enacted (before its amendment by ordinances) to make it an effective instrument accountable to Parliament. We will also enact the Broadcasting Bill to regulate private broadcasting and to protect Indian interests. We will restrict foreign equity holding in private television broadcasting to 20% and prevent cross holding to avoid emergence of monopolies in the media.
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