Education

India has around 29.5 percent of its population between the age group of 0-14 years. Currently, India stands at 73rd position among 74 countries in the world (PISA survey), when she is assessed in terms of skills exhibited by children in the areas of mathematics, reading and science. Further, in spite of making strides in achieving near-universal enrolments, increasing drop-out rates still remains a pressing issue. Together with the primary and secondary education sector, India’s higher education sector has also failed to map the future demand for various skills and has not kept pace with industry’s growth.

In our society, the fate of 90 percent of people is being determined by the accident of birth and economic conditions. A mere 8 percent of people have access to higher education. The poor are being compelled to pay heavy amounts even for primary education. Read more…

 

Agriculture

The Governments – Union and State – have put farmers in fetters with their antediluvian farm sector policies. A corrupt, thoughtless license-permit-quota raj has been crippling the farm sector. In agriculture, the production itself is dependent on weather gods, pests and diseases, availability of quality inputs and timely workforce. One out of three crops is lost and the farmer suffers heavy losses. But thanks to Government policies, even when a farmer raises a good crop overcoming all obstacles, the price is depressed. The farmer loses all when the crops fail, and he loses heavily when there is a good harvest. Read more…

Healthcare

Health is a non-negotiable goal. It is vital for the progress and wellbeing of any country. For India to sustain and enhance its current growth and development it must have a robust universal healthcare system in place. The current system is glaringly deficit in many areas.

To begin with, public expenditure on health is a meagre 1.3% of our GDP.  The draft National Health Policy rightly points out the need for an increase in public health expenditure to about 2.5% of GDP. Other emerging economies such as China, Brazil, South Africa, etc. spend around 3 to 5% on public healthcare.  As a result, they have been able to achieve better health outcomes.  This dearth of expenditure has resulted in inadequate infrastructure and uneven distribution of health workforce. This, in turn, ensured poor access to public health services and subpar treatment facilities. Read more…

Political & Electoral Reforms

The health of a democracy depends on the choice of representatives and leaders, which in turn is directly linked to the way political parties function and the manner in which elections are conducted. While we have outstanding men and women in public life, a flawed electoral process is increasingly alienating public-spirited citizens from the political and electoral arena. The persons best equipped to represent the people find it impossible to be elected by adhering to law and propriety. If elected, decent citizens cannot survive for long in elected public office without resorting to, or conniving in, dishonest methods. Even if they survive in office, their ability to promote public good is severely restricted.

People of India have often been changing governments and elected representatives. However, this change of players has little real impact on the nature of governance. Even if all those elected lose, and all losers are elected, the outcome is not substantially altered. This sad situation calls for a change in the rules of the game, and citizens cannot be content with mere change of players. Read more…

 

Good Governance

Corruption has become a defining feature of both the administrative and the political apparatus in the state. Distribution of liquor and vote buying has resulted in the spiralling of election expenditure. To recoup the money spent during elections, elected representatives have institutionalized corruption in contracts, tenders, transfers, postings and land grabbing.

  • Lokpal, Lokayukta, Local Ombudsman
  • Right to Information Act
  • Strengthening Anti-Corruption Laws
  • Strengthening Anti-Corruption Institutions in India
  • Strengthening United Nations Convention Against Corruption Read more…

 

Judicial Reforms

Judiciary is our most trusted and valued institution. However, the mechanisms for judicial appointments have proved to be inadequate in elevating the best and the brightest to the Bench. Also, the existing arrangements to hold erring judges to account have failed.

Our legal system has become ponderous, excruciatingly slow and inefficient. Political interference has become a major obstacle in the effective functioning of police. Delays have become a defining feature of our judicial system. Lok Satta Government will bring about systemic reforms in policing and judiciary to ensure equal justice for all. Read more…

 

Local Governance

The 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution were enacted in 1993 with great hope and anticipation. However, while panchayats, nagarapalikas and municipalities have come into existence and elections are being held, this has not translated into effective decentralization of power. The Constitution left the issue of degree of empowerment and devolution to the state legislature. In most states, local governments continue to be weak. There is a need to examine the possibilities of Union intervention – through constitutional, fiscal and procedural steps – to empower local governments. This issue needs to be linked to the need for improvement of service delivery. The poor and disadvantaged sections of society must have real opportunities for vertical mobility through local empowerment. Such empowerment must conform to four critical principles. Read more…