Prices of daily use commodities are rising. Unemployment is increasing. Corruption is rampant. Gap between the rich and the poor is widening; as also between cities and villages and between the metro centers and vast rural areas. Environment is being polluted contributing to global warming. Violence of the state as of the criminals and the extremists/terrorists is escalating. Women’s lives and honor are not safe. Tension persists on the pretext of caste and communal disputes. Culture is being vulgarized by the corporate controlled media and young minds are being corrupted.
Unbridled capitalism is the root cause of all this malady. To end this all-round misery and exploitation, the voters of India should take courage in both hands and elect representatives who are committed to usher in an era of socialism that ensures equality and prosperity.
Living Concept of India
Socialist Party (India), a party with a proud heritage stretching back to establishment of the all India socialist movement culminating in formation of the Congress Socialist Party (CSP) on 17 May, 1934, in the midst of national freedom struggle with which it is privileged to have been associated, would like to reaffirm its positive faith in the living concept of India and in the goal of socialism. The Socialist Party believes that nationalism and swaraj are words bereft of meaning unless they entail primacy to the welfare of the last child, the last woman and the last man as envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi and the recognition of equal citizenship of all Indian people as conceived by the makers of Indian Constitution led by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The Socialist Party, in its policies, will be informed by the Antyodaya principal that in the progress and well-being of the last person lies the welfare of the country as a whole and be guided by the high ideals that motivated our freedom fighters, socialist thinkers and Constitution makers.
In keeping with the traditions of its early founders, the Socialist Party would be a party of all the Indian people and not merely of sections of it. The Socialist Party will treat as its special trust the need to attend to the problems of the deprived sections of the society, including the dalits, tribals including the nomadic tribes, backward classes and religious/ linguistic minorities. The party will strive to eliminate gender discrimination and will support affirmative action in favour of women in all legislative and other institutions. The party stands for responsible politics and will take steps to ensure that the parliamentarians and legislators do not misuse/subvert the institutions to which they are elected.
Agro-Industrial Model of Development and Decentralization
The neo-liberal economic policies which facilitate the capitalist-consumerist model of development are basically anti-poor and anti-development. The Socialist Party will discard the western capitalist model of development and evolve Indian model with Full Employment as its objective. As two-third of our people are dependent on agriculture and allied occupations, high-speed program of expanding infrastructure of communications, irrigation, electricity, credit supply and marketing in the rural and coastal areas will be done. Interest charge for agriculture loans will not exceed 4 % and remunerative prices will be assured to their produce. Cooperative system/management will be promoted in production, marketing and credit supply. The Socialist Party will accord priority to the eradication of hunger and establish proper facilities for storage of food grains in every district of the country and strengthen the Public Distribution System (PDS). Agricultural lands will not be allowed to be taken over for industrial purposes. New ventures should be located in barren and remote areas so that regional imbalance is minimized. Equitable distribution of agricultural lands will be undertaken. Lands of the tribals that had been taken away from them will be restored to them. All-out development plans for forestry, fishery, dairy, poultry will be prepared and implemented with their active participation.
The party will stress the need for development from below according to the agro-economic conditions prevailing in each region and sub-region of the country. It will ensure equitable management and distribution of water resources. The party will set time-bound goals for the provision of essential needs of the people. It will carry out a massive program for those without adequate roof above their head.
The constitutional rights of the Panchayats and the Municipalities, ensured by the 73rd and 74th Amendment Act, to decide about the utilization of natural resources like land, water, minerals, flora and fauna falling in their jurisdiction, will be scrupulously safeguarded from encroachment by the Central and State Governments and the profit-hungry corporate houses. To achieve this goal the constitutional validity of status and role of the Planning Commission will be examined.
Cottage and small scale industries, with adoption of optimum technology, will be allowed to be developed in the rural areas. The party will expand and strengthen banking network in the rural areas and enable women to have easy access to the banking services. Deposits from the rural areas will not be allowed to be transferred to urban areas. Heavy and large scale industries will be run in the public sector.
The party will work towards complete road connectivity for all villages and their electrification. The party will discourage use of fossil fuel and encourage eco-friendly sources like solar and wind power. Natural disasters and their mitigation will be treated as a common burden on all the Indian people and expenses on this account and for relief and rehabilitation will be met mainly through central funds.
The party will formulate comprehensive and time-bound plan for provision of safe drinking water, latrines, housing etc. It will stop privatization of water and ensure equitable distribution of water resources. The Party will work towards making India less dependent on vagaries of the monsoon. It will work towards the establishment of scientific drainage and irrigation canal systems and development of watersheds for conservation of soil and water.
The Party will strive to improve India’s urban and rural environment and lay stress on proper sanitation and provision of well-maintained public conveniences with due importance being given to the needs of the individuals and families. Both towns and villages will be greened. The needs of India’s cities will be examined from this point of view and provision made for walking areas with construction of foot-paths so that pedestrians have the first priority on the public streets. The party will improve inter-city and intra-city bus systems. Private cars will not be allowed to enter busy areas.
The neo-liberal-communal nexus went on strengthening after imposition of the new economic policies and the demolition of the Babri Masjid in the beginning of 1990s. The threat has become catastrophic as the communal fascist forces have overtaken the Constitution. The Socialist Party will uphold the constitutional doctrine of secularism. The party believes that the dignity and security of minorities must be safeguarded as this is basic to a civilized nation. The Socialist Party will combat the efforts by certain groups to divide the Indian people on religious-sectarian lines and will uphold the secular concept of Indian nation as fostered by our freedom movement.
Annihilation of Caste
The Socialist Party believes in the annihilation of caste, an institution which Acharya Narendra Deva, the doyen of Indian socialist movement, as anti-democratic. The party believes that such destruction of caste will come about through multiple revolutions that the great socialist thinker, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, envisaged in his pioneering work, ‘Saptakranti’, and by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in his book, namely ’Annihilation of Caste.’ The party suggests an amendment to the Constitution so that the opening sentence of the Preamble would read as “We, the people of India, resolve to establish Sovereign, Secular, Socialist, Casteless, Democratic Republic of India…..”
No to Commercialization of Education
The Socialist Party will seek educational and particularly schooling reform that ensure good neighbourliness and a common sense of people hood. The party will set to itself the goal of elimination of child labour and the transference of India’s labouring children to schools in a time-bound manner and will associate itself with campaigns to achieve that end so as to eliminate all child labour from the country. The Socialist Party will ensure that free, equal and quality education from KG to PG be provided by the state. The party opposes commercialization of education in any form including PPP. The party stands for greater flexibility within the structures of higher education in the country. It would like more attention to be given to the study of languages, Indian and foreign, applied sciences and mathematics in addition to ongoing natural sciences, social sciences, commerce and humanities subjects. The party believes that Indian education needs to be released from the thralldom of the Anglo-centric countries and made to open itself, in addition to other linguistic and cultural traditions of the world that would pave the way for a greater interaction between India and Asian, African (including Francophone Africa) and Latin American countries. To give concrete shape to its educational vision, the Socialist Party would endeavour to see that in given clusters of every seven contiguous districts in the country there are established in each district in each cluster at least one of the following : (a) university of science (b) university of mathematics (c) university of medicine (d) university of languages (e) university of social sciences/humanities (F) university of commerce (g) university of forestry and agriculture (h) university of sports.
Legitimate Rights of the Working Classes to be Safeguarded
The Socialist Party will initiate changes in labour and corporate laws to ensure that the legitimate rights like guarantee and timely payment of minimum wages, safe working conditions, collective functioning and peaceful agitations be safeguarded in all industries and industrial zones including the private sector. The tendency of the employers to dispense with the services of permanent workers and use casual/contract labourers will be dealt with sternly. All such measures will be made applicable to those engaged in construction, transport and other similar activities. Social security measures like life and medical insurance and old age pension for all men and women workers above 60 years of age, engaged in unorganized sector, will be provided.
Draconian Laws to be Repealed
The Socialist Party would take strong measures to instill confidence among the citizens that they would be treated fairly by state institutions including the administration, the police, and the judiciary and that such fair and equitable treatment is a right accruing from citizenship. Repressive laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) against which Irom Sharmila of Manipur is holding indefinite fast for the last 14 years, sections in IPC regarding sedition etc. will be repealed. The party will take steps to prevent extra-judicial killings on the part of the police, army and self-styled Khap Panchayats. The party will amend election laws to prevent entry of criminals in politics.
Eradication of Corruption
New elements in current day mainstream politics are the new disclosures about corruption, scams and the active or passive involvement of the entire machinery of the government. Parties have busied themselves in the competition to prove each other more corrupt than one-self. The Socialist Party will take stern steps towards eradication of corruption from public life. The party views this objective as part of need to ensure greater accountability not only of the state, including police authorities, but also of the political parties, corporate houses and non-governmental organizations. The party will constitute an independent inquiry commission to look into the wealth of all the main players, be they in the company sector, political parties or bureaucracy. The Socialist Party will support effective framing and implementation of the much talked Lok Pal as per the spirit of the Constitution.
The Socialist Party is committed to the territorial security of the country believing that vigilant citizens, particularly in the border areas, are the best defense to any threat posed by any country. The party will try to keep defense expenses to the minimum. The indiscriminate purchases of arms and equipments from foreign countries will be discontinued. Their production will be made in India in the public sector. The country will not enter into arms race, let alone of nuclear arsenal. Colonial practice of treating trained jawans, attached to officers, as menial servants will be discontinued.
The Socialist Party will strive for friendly relations with all countries on mutual honorable terms and will continue its tradition of close contacts with India’s neighbours. It will further strive for a world sharing for mutual benefit the fruits of international development. It will struggle against anti-humanitarian ideologies and will extend its sympathy to oppressed people everywhere. Maintenance of world peace by honouring everyone’s human rights will be the guiding principles of the foreign policy. The party will strive to convert the UNO into a truly representative World Government.
Policy for Youth
The Socialist Party feels a great need for a creative youth policy in the country so that there is an increase in the interest taken by the youth in ideas, literature, art, culture, theatre and sports. The party will formulate and put into practice youth-oriented policies for the rural and urban youth.
Agenda for immediate action:
– Right to employment be made a Fundamental Right to ensure full employment.
– FDI in Retail, Defense, Banking, Insurance and Pension be banned.
– Import of gold be barred.
– Reduction of disparity be included in the terms of reference of the 7th Pay-Commission.
– Recommendations of the Sachar Committee report be implemented.
– The Anti-Communal Violence Bill be passed without delay.
– All youths, particularly the Muslims, put in jails without trial be released immediately.
– The Women’s Reservation Bill be passed.
– All bills prepared to allow opening of foreign universities be withdrawn.
– Four Year Undergraduate Program (FYUP) imposed in Delhi University be scrapped.
– Adequate supply of equipment and medicines be made in the PHCs and public hospitals.
– PDS be strengthened and run efficiently protecting children and women from malnutrition and providing food security to all.
– Political parties be brought under RTI ensuring transparency in their accounts.
– Citizens’ right for time-bound service in the government offices be assured.
– Pension of at least Rs 2,000 p.m. be paid to all female and male workers above 60 years of age in the unorganized sector.
– Number of cars allotted to officers of the central and state governments be reduced drastically.
– All cars be put off the roads once in a week and public transport be buttressed.
– Politicians and government employees found corrupt be punished severely.
Thus stands the Socialist Party
Upholding brotherhood and equality
Issued by Dr. Prem Singh, general secretary, on behalf of the election manifesto committee.