Citizens' Manifesto : Election 2009  
 
   
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India and the imbalance due..
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How 1971 was a turning point..
 
 
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The Citizens' Manifesto for Election 2009 represents the aspirations and hopes of the people, to emerge as the unified voice of more than a billion Indians.

When India celebrated its 60th Independence Day, in 2007, merinews.com decided to look forward, into the future. A vision document, the Citizens' Manifesto, based on the wish-lists of the people, has been created. It has been tailor-made for Election 2009.

Our team scanned more than 7000 articles, short listing and drafting the manifesto paragraphs with great care. It categorised the Citizens' Manifesto across six sections like: Society & Welfare, Environment & Climate Change, Business & Economy, Politics & Governance, Infrastructure and Others. Efforts have been made to give hyperlinks to the relevant articles.

The army of Citizen Journalists, spanning the entire country, represents a wide cross-section. Their wishes are not confined to 'the intellectual views' of the gatekeeper editors and reporters of the mainstream media.

Citizen's Manifesto represents the collective consciousness of the polity, which seeks change. As a Citizen Journalist platform, merinews.com feels that you, the common people and we together share the responsibility of giving to the citizens of this country what they deserve.

And we thank all our citizen journalists for their valuable contribution towards raising their common voice for a better and vibrant India. Now let us make our voice heard where it matters.

 
 
 
   
       Society & Welfare Referred from CJ Name
   
 
 
 
 
a.
Six national and 224 regional parties will decide the fate of around 1.1 billion people of this country. And a total of 740 millions voters would decide the next ruling government of India. People want a strong and stable government at the Centre.
15th Lok Sabha polls: Young voters, old politicians
Politics has lost its charm among young Indians
Abhishek Pandey
Rishabh
       
b.
The much visible state of affairs in the society ahead of the 15th Lok Sabha elections is somewhat like this:
 
 
 
 
 
1.
Dissatisfaction, resentment towards the chosen leaders.
   
       
 
2.
Lawlessness, growing crime, rampant corruption
Combat lawlessness and crime
Dowry: Eliminate this scourge
Sunaina suresh
Shipra
       
 
3.
Rape cases, child labour, trafficking, need to be curbed.
Violation of child labour laws in India
Trafficking: Trapped in a brutal web
Akansha
Dhruba
       
 
4.
Post 26/11, and the very many blasts that shook the roots of this country, people have lost faith in the government, administration and the law enforcers.
India at the crossroads
Firoze H
 
       
 
5.
Parties, leaders are trying to woo voters on divisive lines. Be it religion, region and / or caste.
Overdose of regionalism threatens India’s unity
Riyaz Arshad Nazish
 
       
 
6.
Recession, job cuts are weakening the economy and destroying families.
Recession hits the health of corporate employees
ASL Narasimha Rao
 
       
 
7.
Largest youth population and not-so-young leaders
Indian
Abhishek Pandey
       
 
8.
Monotony in the tone and pace, with which affairs go on.
 
 
 
 
       
c.
Gandhi has distinctively though differently utilised the apparent modern conflict resolution framework for meeting quite a few challenges during his lifetime. He believed in the ‘ends and means’ concept. Gandhi’s conflict resolution is holistic in nature while other prevalent methods prefer to resolve a conflict in a piecemeal fashion. Now, India has departed from the Gandhian method of conflict resolution. It must follow the principles of the great man, rather than pay lip service to him.
Gandhi as a thought is the need of the hour!
Professor Anurag Gangal
Srishti
       
d.
The destitute and homeless still sleep in the open. They still don't have a roof and starve without a square meal a day. Despite several poverty alleviation programmes of the Centre and the states, there is no specific agenda for the poor and homeless.
   
       
e.
The big-gets-bigger and small-turns-to-negligible, is still happening. We moved from being a welfare society to consumerist society, driven by profit motives. The political parties must fulfill the basic tenet of the Indian Constitution, as propounded by our Founding Fathers. They must ensure that people’s welfare come before other considerations.
   
       
f.
The politics of India is still a family tree legacy – a gharana affair. Political parties must curb nepotism and practice democratic norms at party level.
Ashok K Jha
Ya Yaavr
       
g.
In matters of Vision 2067, education cannot be viewed in isolation. Education does not merely mean acquiring degrees, but it should be implemented in redefining the society with certain amount of responsibilities.
 
Prabir Ghose
 
       
h.
Women must raise their heads, walk tall and say that they are proud to be women. Female infanticide is still prevalent and common. The next government must address this burning issue and ensure that women get their rightful dignity.
 
Romila
 
       
i.
Look at the numbers of female contestants. Though the Congress Party is led by Sonia Gandhi, the number of women candidates is just nine including Sonia, in the list of 90 odd candidates (10%) released by the party so far. The BJP, which epitomises its women as devis has fielded just 21 women candidates in its long list of 232 seats (9.051%). Ironically, this drop in women’s representation in Parliament coincides with the introduction of Women’s Reservation Bill, which seeks to provide 33 per cent quota to women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies. Political parties must ensure that they field 1/3rd female candidates in the electoral fray. The election commission of India (ECI) must ensure it in letter and spirit. 
   
       
j.
Though the Constitution Amendment Bill has been hanging fire for more than a decade owing to lack of unanimity, it was finally taken up by a Parliamentary Standing Committee during the 14th Lok Sabha. It is tragic that despite accounting for over 340 million votes out of a total Indian electorate of 710 million people, in 2009, women continue to be drastically under represented in the Parliament. The two major parties have fielded 10% or below women candidates in Election 2009.  People should know the reason for the same. 
 
Brigadier Arun
 
       Environment & Climate Change Referred from CJ Name
   
 
 
 
 
a.
India is the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world and is a key player in the global carbon market via the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The issue of greenhouse emission needs to be addressed urgently.
 
Tanmay D.B
 
       
b.
To speak about the flora fauna, India is one of the richest country's but the fact remains that our natural resources are depleting. Snow leopard, Gangetic dolphin, star tortoise, porcupine, butterfly, vulture, etc are endangered species. Sadly, no one seems concerned about protecting the endangered species. It needs to be addressed immediately.
 
Govind Singh
 
       
c.
Elephants, musk-deer, leopards, woodpeckers are dying. As per expert opinion, total population of snow leopard is only 100-200. But the Indian government refuses to accept it. A greater transparency and honesty about wild life is the need of the hour.
   
       
d.
Indian Animal Protection Act 1972 is also not flawless. Similarly, other laws which are persisting in India are not foolproof. People go scot-free after killing endangered animals. If anybody comes in the net of the law, he escapes after paying a petty fine.  The government should ensure that poachers and smugglers of animal products – skin, furs, bones, horns, etc – are punished promptly and sternly.
 
Satish Singh
 
       
e.
E-waste from discarded computers, TVs and mobile phones is projected to grow to more than 800,000 tonnes by 2012, with a growth rate of 15 per cent in India. If the situation is not controlled, we may see large land-fills of junk e-waste around our cities 10 years down the line. Indian government need to address the issue of e-waste immediately.
 
Alok Verma
 
       
       Business & Economy Referred from CJ Name
   
 
 
 
 
a.
It is estimated that the cost of election 2009 would amount to and even cross Rs 1,500 crore as compared to Rs 10.45 crore in the first-ever elections, in 1952. There will be additional expenditure incurred by different political parties on their own to woo voters. India cannot afford such expensive elections in times of recession. Political parties must take the lead in reducing the high cost of election. The Election Commission of India (ECI) needs to address the issue.
 
Vinod Anand
 
       
b.
It is time we look back at what Nehru did for India. Even the United States of America is adopting policies that will eventually turn it into a United Socialist States of America. Are we ready to roll back too? Political parties and the government must address this issue and ensure that socialism becomes a part of our lives, in letter and spirit.
 
Ajit Chak
 
       
c.
It is time we look back at what Nehru did for India. Even the United States of America is adopting policies that will eventually turn it into a United Socialist States of America. Are we ready to roll back too? Political parties and the government must address this issue and ensure that socialism becomes a part of our lives, in letter and spirit.
 
Ajit Chak
 
       
d.
The politician-criminal-bureaucrat nexus existing merely for individual gain and survival, and for expanding their tentacles all over and showing no sincerity and reverence towards values, is also a crucial debilitating factor. Judiciary, which is presently under great strain, has to provide speedier and less expensive justice by enhancing its infrastructure and incorporating modern methods to activate the whole procedure. Political parties, politicians and the Indian government must be serious about eradicating the black money menace.
 
Vinod Anand
 
       
e.
The BJP wants to stop corruption and check black money. Hope it is not just another poll promise and there is more substance in it.  Corruption makes the poor more poor. Political parties and government must address the issue of marginal and poor farmers, stop corruption and check black money.
Corruption in India
Politics of Poverty
Corruption in India and its remedies
Vision 2067: How to eliminate corruption!
Vinod Anand
Vinod Anand
Ashok K Jha
Vinod Anand
Prabir Ghose
       
f.
Some shop-keepers handover toffees instead of change. Such practices not only generate a parallel economy but also help the shop-keepers earn additional profit through sale of toffees. We citizens should not accept these without protesting. The government too must ensure that unethical business practices that promote parallel economy and generate black money should end and the offenders punished. 
 
Rati Phalke
 
       
g.
The degree of income inequality in India is less that that of China or America. But it has much more poverty. Some 260 million people still live on the equivalent of less than $1 a day. Half of all children under five are malnourished. We need to address these issues, if we want a strong and vibrant India.
Politics of Poverty
Vinod Anand
Ashok K Jha
       
h.
The National Rural Employment (NREG) scheme, introduced by the Central government to provide jobs to the rural poor has been turned into a money making programme by the corrupt officials in connivance with the political leaders. The Left parties and the Congress want to take the credit. Even progressive programme of the government become prey of the systemic failures. The government should ensure that such programmes are implemented properly.
Sudhakar Patnaik
       
i.
Agriculture used to be the backbone of the Indian economy, but now it stands as a mere contributor to it. A holistic approach and urgent reforms are needed to ensure the growth of this sector and to transform India into the leading agro-economy of the world.
Vision 2067: Planning the farm produces
Shishir Srivastava
Prabir Ghose
       
j.
Private players in the growing sectors like IT, ITES management streams, insurance and finance must be encouraged to establish their wares in semi urban and rural areas and they should be asked to give priority to candidates hailing from rural areas. Sustainable growth, even distribution of opportunities and inclusive development are the viable options to curb rural urban migration.
 
Vaatupura A. Jayaprakash
 
       
k.
We have capacity to develop and research on ground in different sectors but a sincere action plan and use of talents has not been done yet. We need serious thought process from the young generation. The government must ensure that Indian talents are harnessed properly and that we do not lose our talents to the best paymasters overseas.
   
       
l.
The farmer is not satisfied with government extension services. His mistrust of the corporate world is perhaps even higher. The state seed corporations, IFFCO, Krishak Bharati Cooperative Limited, Regional Rural Banks and food processors    must now look at extension services as the next big opportunity in agriculture.
 
Sanjeev Chopra
 
       
m.
Recession has impacted everyone around. We were not aware of this a year back. It came as a real surprise. We need better economic planning, management and predictions in India to avoid or reduce shocks like recession and meltdown. 
   
       
n.
Moving away from production issue, we need to work more on economic access to food grain. An efficient public distribution system (PDS) is needed to ensure that food grains are not wasted, while the poor sleep hungry. 
   
       
o.
Industrial growth seems concentrated in a few areas. There are many other regions to explore and set up infrastructure for industrial growth, which the government must address.
   
       
       Politics & Governance Referred from CJ Name
   
 
 
 
 
a.
The 15th Lok Sabha elections would decide the fate of six national and 224 regional parties. A total of 740 millions voters would decide the next ruling government of India. Though young voters are 24 per cent of electorate (approx 180 million), India has more than 40 per cent MPs aged between 50 and 90 years of age. The young voters would definitely look for the government that would be able to solve the problem of economic slump. We need a government that is best suited to address the aspirations of youth in India.
15th Lok Sabha polls: Young voters, old politicians
Fundamental rights imply duties
Abhishek Pandey
Juhi
       
a.
Somnath Chatterjee advised to defeat such parliamentarians (in elections) who habitually make a mockery of the parliamentary proceedings by creating disturbances. Such non-serious parliamentarians waste the tax payers’ money and the valuable man-hours of the nation. It is sad that no political party heeded Somnath Chatterjee’s advice and abstained from fielding lumpen candidates.
Noble appeal to public from Lok Sabha Speaker
Subhash Chndra Agrawal
       
b.
The Jaago Re ad challenges the youth to be involved in decision making processes that go into shaping the country and begin doing what is required – vote. The youth is not interested enough to participate in the electoral process. We need real action to dispel the disillusion of the youth in India.
A billion votes for India
People: The fifth pillar of democracy
Shantanu Dutta
Sonaal
       
c.
There are different yardsticks while dealing with religions. It is sad that Hinduism is the favourite whipping boy of liberals and seculars. A nationalist is expected to bend backwards to be considered liberal and tolerant. 
It is unfashionable to be a Hindu
 
Jaidev Jamwal
 
       
d.
Politicians should be treated on par with the normal, average, tax-paying citizens of India. They should share the pains and pleasures of their governance with the common man.
Politicians or Martians?
 
Laila Rajaratnam
 
       
e.
It is said that India is heading for ‘demonocracy’ instead of ‘democracy’. We need concrete steps and real actions to slay the demon within democracy.
India: Demonocracy, not Democracy
Wake up India
How to protect democracy in India- II
India: Democracy or Psephocracy
Avnish Kumar Sinha
Neelam Pandey
Pritis C Majumdar
Pramod Khilery
       
f.
Corruption cannot be classified into a secular or a communal one. Unfortunately, our media is now trying to cover up the sad state of affairs of the scandalous horse trading of our MPs during the trust vote. One of our citizen journalists wonders if Indian media is rogue.
India has a rogue media!
 
Krishnabaalu
 
       
g.
Each and every vote is important. We must exercise our valuable mandate and not just sit and blame others for the present state of affairs, as we have been doing for years.
Vote! But why?
Governance: Highlight solutions, not problems
Reforming for qualitative democracy
Ravi P Mishra
Ravi
Madhu Agarwal
       
h.
Maharashtra for Maharashtrians is a dangerous and incendiary concept, which needs to be firmly put down. People from one part of the country should be able to live and work in another part of the country to strengthen one country, one people theory.
One Country, One People
 
Arun Sinha
 
       
i.
It was indeed pleasing to note that there exists a trend-setter amongst 535 judges of higher courts when a Mumbai High Court judge set a noble example by denying the salary-hike which was done by overlooking parliament’s supremacy! We must applaud such honest judges, who are role-models when there is darkness almost everywhere and a section of judges face serious corruption charges.
A noble example by a High Court judge
 
Subhash Chandra Agrawal
 
       
j.
The rank and file of the police force in the country is not manned by intelligent people except a few posts in the higher rungs. The police force should attract good people feel many, post the Mumbai terror attack. A better screening process and corruption free system is needed for selecting the police force in India.
Terrorist attacks and police intelligence
Dual challenge of ‘terrorism’ and ‘corruption’
Who are on people's side?
Dr. Roman Sarmah
Jay Pandey
Difference Maker
       
k.
The neta-babu combine straddling the ministry of Defence with no knowledge of matters military is now again faced with a recalcitrant Pakistan thumbing its nose against us. The government must appoint a Chief of the Defence Services (CDS) to boost morale of the armed forces and make it more effective.
Chief of the Defence Staff a felt-need
 
Brigadier Arun
 
       
l.
In India, we have one policeman for every 1000 people, against one in 300 in the US. Bad communication system, obsolete arms and ammunition, lack of centralised data base and political interference make the police ineffectual. There is an urgent need to reform the police system and our government must take note of it, if it is serious about better law and order in the country. 
An urgent need to reform the police system
 
Rishabh
 
       
m.
Mumbai terror strikes triggered the demand for a change. But, before we demand any systemic changes, it’s important that we have a thorough understanding of the social system, our economy and polity. Proper awareness before casting votes would make India a true superpower.  
Empower citizens to strengthen democracy
 
Mayuresh Vaidya
 
       
n.
Political parties in India get divided not due to any ideological reasons but mainly due to family feuds. Gharana politics has given birth to nepotism all across the country. We need stricter laws to end nepotism, which is gnawing at the roots of the largest democracy of the world.
Nepotism: Is India an imitation democracy?
 
Aravamudhan (Aru)
 
       
o.
Mafia lords and convicts are fielded by most political parties. The Election Commission must take note and disqualify the political parties fielding criminals and convicts.
National politics needs a change
 
Sonali
 
       
       Infrastructure Referred from CJ Name
   
 
 
 
 
a.
It takes ages to build up infrastructure, which includes the basic communication network of road, rail, air and river traffic, the power generation and distribution systems, sanitation and other essential services. However, it takes minutes to destroy all these gifts of civilisation, courtesy rampant hooliganism in the name of political or religious causes. It’s high time that the government finds a way out.
Vision 2067: Sound infrastructure
 
Prabir Ghose
 
       
b.
The next biggest sports event is the Commonwealth Games 2010, to be held in New Delhi. The Commonwealth Games are barely 18 months away and the government is waking up to the basic needs of so huge an event. It’s strange that we wait for the 11th hour to rush through things, often compromising on quality. We need a government that can really bring about a sea-change in our chalta hai attitude.
Are we ready for Commonwealth Games 2010?
 
Prabir Ghose
 
       
c.
Surveillance system refers to the monitoring the behaviour of people, checking unwanted or suspect objects, etc. CCTVs should be installed at all public places specially parks, streets, markets, etc. These could check and deter bomb blasts and other terrorist activities. The government and other agencies must use CCTVs at railway stations, bus stands, markets, etc to ensure that we citizens are safe.
Use of technology in crime prevention
 
Harshita
 
       
       Others Referred from CJ Name
   
 
 
 
 
a.
Several high court and lower court judges face serious charges of corruption. They are under the scanner. We must muster courage to call ‘a spade a spade’. Legal institutions must remain blemish free, as judiciary is one of the important pillars of democracy. 
Corruption and misconduct in judiciary
 
Subhash Chandra Agarwal
 
       
b.
India may abolish capital punishment but it must frame stricter laws to punish terrorists. We must ensure that our country does not appear as a soft state.
Should capital punishment stay?
 
Zaigham Murtaza
 
       
c.
Post terror attacks, let’s make a beginning. We may not have guns, but we can fight. We may not have ammunition, but we have action. We should reject corrupt politicians. As youth, we can do a lot. As a nation we must be prepared for a new Freedom struggle to begin.
   
       
d.
India is a land of thousands of languages and dialects. With her billion people, she is the fastest growing economy in the world.
    But, she is still plagued by crime, corruption and a thousand other problems. We need to stand tall and ensure that India remains free of crime and corruption.
Unite countrymen, a new Freedom struggle has begun!
 
Maulik Chandrana
 
       
e.
A teacher’s social prestige and economic standards are quite low. Such a person cannot be enthused to help lay the foundation of the society. A low-salaried policeman and teacher is a soft target for corruption. Their needs must be taken care of for corruption to be rooted out.
   
       
f.
No politician should be permitted to contest election more than four times; politicians in the Parliament should be below 45 years of age. Secondly, why 33 per cent, there should be 50 per cent reservation for women in the Parliament. Political parties and people come forward before it’s too late.
   
       
g.
We must have the Fundamental Right to Health for each and every citizen of India.
   
       
h.
Science must add another dimension to the Citizens’ Manifesto. Science and technology must be used for the betterment of humankind.
   
       
i.
We are exposed to the perils of 'two Indias', one rich and prosperous and the larger India (about 80 per cent in villages and towns) that is deprived and poor. We must bridge the gaping gap between the haves and have-nots.
   
       
j.
If population increase is not checked, we will not be able to cope up with the unimaginable need   of schools and hospitals in India. We must  pay attention to the basic need of more schools and hospitals in the country. 
   
       
k.
In India people elect leaders instead of public servants. If these elected public servants do not perform they should be recalled from public offices. We need more accountable and responsible elected representatives, rather than mafias, goons, thieves and thugs who are more interested in filling their coffers at the cost of the country.
   
       
l.
The lives and limbs of citizen journalists (CJs) are not secure. Journalists and CJs risk their lives in search for truth. The government (and society) must seriously think about the threat perceptions of journalists and CJs.
   
       
m.
India, a nation of a billion plus people, must develop into a super power. It needs a sea change in the outlook of its ordinary citizens as well as the people responsible for governing it. 
Puneites hail the Citizens’ Manifesto : India 2067 campaign
Village Panchayat : A big threat for India 2067
Terrorist attacks and police intelligence
Dual challenge of ‘terrorism’ and ‘corruption’
Whose India? Where is the true Indian?
Merinews Network
Md Mudasir Alam
Dr Roman Sarmah
Jai Pandey
Zaigham Murtaza