Manmohan SinghFORUM
What the new government should do

Begin by disbanding Disinvestment Ministry

More responses on this topic next week.

The new government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh will have to face a number of challenges like unemployment, corruption, poverty, inflation, terrorism, illiteracy, communalism and sluggish economic growth. Of these, the major challenges are unemployment and poverty. The main reasons behind alarming unemployment are rising industrial sickness and minimum job avenues.

To overcome these problems, the new government should first study the causes and then frame concrete and effective policies. Discarding of Disinvestment Ministry, however, may be a welcome step.

The Vajpayee government had a clear vision with regard to foreign policy, whereby the government had largely succeeded in improving relations with China and the USA.

Dr Manmohan Singh’s government should now start thinking beyond this.

— Hardeep Singh Slaich, Secretary, PSIDC, Chandigarh.

Work on these 10 points

1. First and the foremost, stem the population explosion, the mother of all ills. His government should convince all political parties that it is time to bell the cat to implement the one-child norm for one and all.

2. To eradicate the cancer of corruption by radical surgery at all levels and from all spheres of Indian life.

3. To minimise generation and promotion of black money.

4. To make school education compulsory and free for every child.

5. No person with criminal record be allowed to contest any election.

6. To make the Judiciary fully independent and fearless.

7. To strive to delete India’s name from the list of developing countries and add it to that of the developed nations.

8. Give the nation the slogan “INDIA will be what INDIANS are.”

9. Any anti-social and terrorist act should be dealt with ruthlessly.

10. The motto of the government should be “Satyamev Jayate” in letter and spirit.

— Dr Bholla Singh Sidhu, Amritsar.

Give us jobs first

The first priority of this government should be generating employment for the masses. Employment will automatically deroute the various ways to crime and corruption and other illegal practices. Being an economist, Mr Singh should enforce the tax policy in such a way that a common man should not be overburdened. Illiteracy should be removed so that the children grow up to be loyal and sincere citizens who know their duty towards their country. Agriculture is another sector where a lot of improvement has to be done. Dr Manmohan Singh should ensure that corruption does not plague his Cabinet.

— Poonam Popli, Chandigarh.

Keep criminals out of the government

The very first challenge for Dr Manmohan Singh will be to keep a tab on his tainted ministers, who have been inducted into the Cabinet on account of blackmailing by the RJD chief. Taslimuddin, against whom a dozen criminal cases (including one pertaining to the rape of a minor) are pending, Jai Parkash Narayan Yadav, M.A. Fatmi and a few others are the ones to watch. It is because of a loophole in our Constitution that the criminals cannot be barred from fighting election and entering the Parliament. The next big job is improving relations with Pakistan. Let us see these two refugees, one from Pakistan and another from India, break the “Second Berlin Wall”.

— Prem P. Bhandari, Moga.

Build strong relations with neighbours

The new government should build strong relations with neighbouring countries so that the amount spent on building weapons could be diverted towards creating jobs. It should create a congenial atmosphere for healthy dialogue with the misguided youth and find ways to improve the social and economic status of the common man. It should minimise brain drain and ensure that all businessmen pay income tax and not conceal accounts. They should ensure that government schools and other bodies become result oriented and the government’s functioning should prove that it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

— S. S. Minhas, Principal, Guru Harkrishan Public School, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.

Evolve a public vigilance mechanism

In policy formulation, follow the concept of public servants reaching out to the people and not vice versa. There should be a vigorous population control policy, through education and persuasion, besides Infrastructure for provision of water for agriculture and drinking.

There should be affordable power, not free, for family holding upto 5 acre and labour reforms to ensure “in hand” minimum wage, linked to inflation. Expand the scope of the Golden Quadrangle; provision of affordable public transportation system.; efficient public distribution system for essential life sustaining commodities for the poor; compulsory education upto class X and free education upto class XII for girls in the rural areas; and reservation for women in medical, teaching and IT vocations.

The new government should establish village-level “online systems” for land and revenue records. Mobile courts for dispensation of justice; devolution of legal powers at Block and Panchayat level. The MPs and MLAs should submit a report of all progress in their constituency in Parliament and state assemblies, once a year. A “public vigilance mechanism” for reporting corruption, misuse of authority and exploitation should be set up.

— K. Khorana, Panchkula.

Unite India by protecting secularism

The government led by Dr Manmohan Singh has come in power with support from the Left and other parties, mainly on the plank of secularism. The Congress and Left aren’t the best of friends, but now they have united to give India a secular alternative. The present government, therefore, has to put an effort to keep religion under check. The religion in India today means big money, over which the government has no control. Has anyone ever tried to look into the earnings of different shrines? Too much money with those who tout religion will not help the secular image of the country..

— Lt. Col. S. K. Sood (retd), Ludhiana.

Encourage crop diversification

The government should encourage crop diversification and form policies that are agriculture centric. The market forces can determine traditional crops’ price, but farmers should be subsidised for the export of their surplus, which can lead to more agricultural export. On the issue of agriculture, the government should not bow under the pressure of developed countries. Form a group of like-minded countries to force developed nations to reduce their subsidies. The government should roll back saffornisation of education and protect autonomy of bodies like the Indian Institutes of Management.

— Mahabir Narwal, Kurukshetra University.

Make dual citizenship possible

The NRIs will like to see the new government, completing the process of awarding dual citizenship, at the earliest. I would like to see the new PM taking the NRIs (who supported him as Finance Minister with foreign currency and gold reserve) with him to achieve 10 per cent growth rate in all sectors, including agriculture and information technology. Maintaining friendly relations with neighbours and calm within the country are the big tasks ahead.

— Dr Devender, AASI, Toronto, Canada.

Adopt China model to control population

The most important task before the new government is population control, as our neighbour China has done successfully. This will ensure food and basic amenities for all. Corruption should go and there should also be education for all.

— Avtar Singh Gill, Freemont, CA, USA.

Strive to end bureaucratic corruption

I have been visiting India off and on for the past 40 years. When I left the country in 1964, I strongly felt that “bureaucratic corruption” was problem number one hampering India’s progress. After all these years, if I have to choose the most serious problem in India today, it is still bureaucratic corruption. I hope our new Prime Minister is able to clean the scourge of bureaucratic corruption in India.

— Gursharan Singh Toor, Halifax, Canada

Prices should not shoot up

The first task before the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, at this stage is that the common man should feel safe in this country. Dr Manmohan Singh, architect of India’s economic reforms, should ensure that prices should not shoot up. Education has become so costly that a middle-class person cannot even think of higher education for his or her children. If the children of a country are well educated, the future of that country will be bright. It is hoped that education will now be accessible to everyone and our country is in safe hands.

— Vivek Swami, Chandigarh.

Work towards removing poverty

Priority should be given to development and alleviation of poverty. Maximum attention should be given to those who are below poverty line. Politics of caste, religion and hatred should be discouraged. Stringent rules should be framed to control population. There should be uniform education policy for entire country. Poor meritorious students should not be deprived of higher education for want of money. Steps should be taken to make society corruption free. Relations with neighbours should be further improved. Government should strive to make this country a developed one.

— Dr V. K. Dogra, Ambala City.

Don’t allow Gujarat, 1984 to happen again

Dr Manmohan Singh should do all he can to keep the country united by not allowing the Gujarat and the 1984 riots to happen again. Minorities should be given equal protection and the Hindutva agenda should not be allowed to raise its ugly head again. If India is going to be a global economic power in the 21st century, Dr Singh has to ensure that he spreads the economic benefits to the common man. The peace initiative with Pakistan should continue. The IT sector should be provided all the incentives to attract jobs from the West. The infrastructure needs on all metropolitan cities should be met.

— Avninder Singh, Rochester, NY, USA.

Don’t neglect small units

Unemployment is the biggest problem confronting our country. Now when job opportunities in the PSUs are shrinking, small-scale sector can be relied upon to meet this growing demand, but this is possible only if there is a congenial environment for the growth of this sector, which unfortunately was missing in the last 10 years. The priority of the Manmohan Singh government should be to revive small-scale units. It is possible only if there is an unobstructed movement of raw material to these units and a simultaneous unrestricted movement of the finished goods. It is essential to free these units from all levies, especially octroi. Chandigarh is where small-scale industry has grown because there are no obnoxious levies like octroi and inspectors don’t throw their weight around, but in bordering town of Nagar tiny units are on their last leg because of the obnoxious levies and Inspector Raj.

— Neela Sood, Chandigarh.

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