New Delhi: For those of us who have worked at the grassroot level with the ‘real India’, our concern is that the interests of the majority be borne in mind while economic, social and financial policies get framed.
Sandeep Pandey, social activist and Magsaysay award winner (2002)
* Include farmers, labourers and artisans in the next pay commission
* Ensure employment for all and provide good quality healthcare
* Write off select debts of the poor after considerable review and fix respectable prices for their produce from primary sectors of the economy
* Make universal social security a norm rather than an exception
* Link the monetary value assigned to the chosen work/ profession to human existence. For example, people involved with agricultural production should be highest paid. Similarly, the price that gets fixed for their produce should be proportionate to importance of product to human existence.
* Allot land to landless agricultural workers by drawing up an appropriate plan that can safeguard interests of the rural poor as also help boost agricultural economy
*Shift from fossil fuel and nuclear energy to renewable energy economy and lifestyle
*Reduce defence budget; abandon nuclear weapons
*Make provision to fund election campaigns of candidates so that political parties don’t have to rely on corruption money, kickbacks and commissions for financing political activities
* Reduce income levels between service sector-business sector and primary production sectors of economy by a political decision
* Treat National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREG) as a legal guarantee transfer for full guaranteed wages to worker’s account at the end of the year. Wage levels for daily wage workers to be increased substantially similar to that of service sector and the scheme to be extended for throughout the year.
If I were FM
* I would equalize earning levels, ensure good quality healthcare for all, promote renewable sources of energy, promote small, cottage level industries as opposed to heavy industries and promote public transport system instead of privatized motorized transport.
India should have listened to Mahatma Gandhi and pursued the ideal of Gram Swarajya. Our development policies are flawed because we now have two distinct streams of development. For the rich we want to provide the finest products of technological development at affordable price for the poor we have to ban machines when we design an employment guarantee scheme for them. This is also reflected in the urban-rural divide.
Sandeep Pandey is a social activist; he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2002 for emergent leadership.
As told to Arunoday Prakash, content editor, livemint.com