Some important priorities for the new Indian government

It hardly matters who forms the next government after general elections 2004 for Lok Shabha. For the sake of continuity, NDA is certainly preferred. If verdicts come in favour of NDA, it will have no excuses in 2009 (at the end of their second five years term) for not completing the task or getting its great dreams realized. If either of Congress alliance or third front manages to get into governance, it will take some time to complete their common minimum programme causing a delay in implementation of the programme. However, that cost will have to be borne by the country and its people who prefer the split verdict. But ultimately, the new government will have to perform and try to catch up the lost time. The member political parties will have to give up their own special agenda and go whole heartedly for the national priorities.

Without losing any time, the government must move into action mode and get into the speedy execution of on-going projects such as NHAI roads, power plants, construction of world class port/airports, etc that are already cleared by the previous government. The country can not afford any holdup or slowdown of these projects because of the change in government as it normally happens. Some of the expectations from the new government will be as follows:

PM coming to the office must go for a smaller ministry by abolishing some or merging the responsibility of some in one. PM must select young, honest and effective ministers based on proven track record rather on political considerations. PM must give them targets for judging their performance and periodically assess. It will be in national interest that PM keeps himself aloof from political lobbying of vested interests.

Roads must be the priority number one. Nothing can move as planned without it. All the villages and towns, as promised must be connected by metal roads of good quality. Simultaneously, a robust mechanism must be in place to keep it maintained to world class standard. A speed of 11 km for NHAI per day for 4-, 6-laning has been attained. So, the government must give to nation a minimum of 4000 km of roads of that class per year, i.e., 20000 km in next 5 years plus the linking roads in other projects such as Grammin Sarak Yojana.

In next 5 years, power shortage must be brought in control. It is possible, if not politically messed up. Electricity for every household is to be considered as a necessity. Every year, at least 10000 MW generating capacity must be added. At least10 companies if not more such as Reliance Power, NTPC, Tata Power, Essar Power, ONGC, BHEL must add 1000 MW each of thermal power. Simultaneously, companies such as NHPC and similar state units must add the hydro-electric power plants of small, medium and big sizes. Northern States must get into the scheme religiously and generate the abundant hydroelectric power possible in their state, States like Jharkhand and West Bengal must build large thermal plants near their coal reserve reducing transportation cost. The states may become the key suppliers of power to other states. Nuclear Power Corporation, solar power and wind mills in specific advantageous areas must complement the capacities. The bottleneck due to inefficient State Electricity Boards will perhaps be overcome with already enacted new ELECTRICITY Bill…

Employment for both unskilled and illiterate manual workforce as well as young educated youth must attract maximum attention as promised. It must be one of the goals in all action plans. Manufacturing and agriculture must get effective boost as promised in manifestos for increase employment. Other avenues for creating employment such as an effective thrust on tourism and retail service sector must be opened and explored. It also requires a change in mind set for the people, so that they start appreciating the importance of entrepreneurship and self employment. The government must only facilitate and should never think of providing subsidies and doles.

Without wasting time, the work must start to improve the availability of drinking as well as irrigation water. It requires immediate start of work on easier and undisputed of the river linking projects that can be completed before 5 years, widening of the canals , repairing and deepening of water reservoirs, construction of check bunds, water harvesting, and projects for stopping the wastage of water. Dependence of agriculture on monsoon must be minimal; otherwise the excuse of lower growth rate can not be eliminated. Water scarcity will be the biggest issue in next general election2009.

Rural Development:
Rural housing should now be the priority. The success of housing industry in urban areas must be duplicated in rural areas too. It should not only be for the one room ones but little more respectable ones. Banks and financial institutions must come out with a model that becomes popular with even small and medium farmers. Our architects also must come out with some attractive proposals which makes the housing acceptable to the farmers and that functionally serves their purpose. Major metros and other cities must go for multistoried housing, and the farm houses, bunglows/kothis must go towards rural areas on express ways rather than congesting it further. With good connectivity through metro and roads, it will cause minimum inconvenience and save the cities for posterity.

PURA (Providing Urban -services in Rural Areas): The new government must create a ministry under a strong and respectable minister who must work to bring the quality of life in villages to such a standard where the villagers do not migrate. Even the affluent ones with their origin in the villages go back to their villages to live there after their retirement instead of preferring to live in urban locations. All the physically fit persons male as well as women living in villages must get suitable and sufficient engagement in villages itself.

Health care:
For health care in rural area with better connectivity through the road projects, private doctors are to be provided with certain incentives to open small clinics. NGOs can provide additional fillips. NGOs can come in big ways in creating health awareness and health care for the community. Increasing the number of medical colleges and nursing institutes and enhancement of its intake capacities is essential to meet the requirements of the country’s health care.

The education ministry must concentrate on primary education. Education up to class 10 must be free. Course content must change based on actual utility. The system should empower and encourage the village youths to take up the task of education as social mission, where they find pride in educating the uneducated lot. Standard of primary education must improve sufficiently. Before reaching class 10, the students must know the opportunities open for them and shift to the professional education accordingly. The school teachers may be made responsible for total operation and management of the schools? In higher education, India must go for at least one engineering institute of IIT standard, a management school of IIM standard, and a medical college of AIMS standard in every large state. The government must provide real autonomy in functioning of these institutes of nation importance.

Some other priorities include the bold administrative reforms that eliminates corruption and brings effectiveness, cutting all red tapes and unnecessary controls of Inspector Raj. Clearance requirements running in 50s to get a project going must go. Let India start shining in real sense of the term with no one doubting the shine.

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