SUJIT DE, KOLKATA
THE Election Commission has announced the schedule for the parliamentary elections. Now, it is both our right and duty to vote and to elect a good candidate from our respective parliamentary constituency. Before getting the manifestos from the political parties, I want to place my version for them. First of all, I want 100 per cent implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission, including land reforms, to solve agrarian crisis. I want a paradigm shift in bank loan policy from non-performing assets generating macro credits to job generating micro loans for farming, cottage and small-scale industries. This is necessary to address the problem of unemployment which is at present reached all-time high level in 45 years. I want 100 per cent implementation of the 2006 Forest Rights Act to honour the symbiotic relationship between forest dwellers and forests. The next government must invest 6 per cent of national income in education and ensure universal quality education as per the recommendations of the Kothari Commission. There should be attempts to make educational loans interest free to encourage higher education. The new government should double the number of government hospitals to give the commercial health sector a run for their money. Total occupational safety for the highly risky jobs such as scavenging, mining and construction work should be a priority. The next government should bring about an arrangement to employ ragpickers by local self-governments to promote recycling. The new government should ensure minimum income guarantee for all the poor citizens of our country to alleviate poverty, and it should build separate lanes for bicycles in every major road to check road accidents. This will check air pollution as separate lanes make more people opt for bicycles. There must be attempts to provide quality midday meal to school students, which will help check malnutrition and dropout rate. The new government should shift focus from unequal GDP growth to inclusive HDI growth. Efforts should be made to promote tourism to generate employment.