Different people have different demands on the government. Some are more informed, some less. Some motivated by personal aspirations, some keeping in mind ‘what’s-best-for-the-people-of-India’. Even on the latter, experts as well as laymen differ widely on their ideas of what their government should do for their country. Here is a ‘policy wish list’ for 2016, made up of a plethora of Indian voices.
D Raja, MP Rajya Sabha (CPI), Tamil Nadu
The only thing that I want from the Government is to meet the expectations of common people. There is great dissatisfaction among the people about the way Government is working. All the promises made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi have proved hoax.
In the name of good governance, it is actually the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) who are calling the shots by implementing their communal agenda. It has created a bad image of India across the world. Government should rectify it.
Ali Anwar, MP Rajya Sabha (JDU), Bihar
I think the Government should not allow the establishment of foreign educational institutions as commercial ventures in the country. Keeping in view its high cost, it would only be limited to upper class and poor people will be further deprived from the quality education.
The other thing that I expect from the Government is that that the decision to remove subsidy on certain essential commodities should be reverted. Similarly, the cutting off of the budget of the Indira Awas Yojana (providing housing for the rural poor) should be rolled back.
Last thing that I want from the Government is that they should shun their authoritarian approach and work for the welfare of the country. The way Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are poking their nose in the administrative affairs should be stopped.
Lt. General Jagdish Chandra (retired), Delhi
From a security point of view I want Government to have better relationship with all the SAARC countries including Pakistan.
Decline in the insurgency and counter insurgency in northern India is also something which I expect Government to work on. Government should adopt a greater policy in easing the tension and restoring peace in these areas.
Amit Kumar, Cleaner, New Delhi
I want government to undertake development projects like building roads. Government should also check escalating price rise.
Grafi, Student, Manipur
I want more security for women in India in the forthcoming year. Moreover, I would love more creation of jobs for youth of our nation. Government should also check rising pollution as it poses a grave threat to environment... I would also like government to undertake development project in the north eastern sates so there is good work opportunity in proximity to our homes.
Bishu, Chef, From Manipal (currently employed in Delhi)
I want government to create more socially secured jobs in the forthcoming year 2016. Currently, I am employed in a restaurant but there is no social security in such jobs (contract or informal labour). Government must also check rising pollution as it has reached alarming levels.
Premjeet Singh, student, Varanasi
We want jobs as we are witnessing an increasing cut in government vacancies. So 2016 is a year of hope for all the youth like us who form a major part of the prevailing demographic dividend across the nation. I would also love to see my city Varanasi prospering in the forthcoming year.
Devinder Sharma, Food and trade policy expert, Delhi
2015, the year that just passed into history was a terrible year for agriculture. Not that earlier years were better, but this was a particularly terrible year. Every new year opens with a lot of expectations and hope but I doubt if anything would be done for agriculture. It is therefore very important for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ignore his (current) advisers and focus on revitalising agriculture, something that the policy makers are averse to. Considering that agriculture is the largest employer, and is essential for India's food security, the NDA government must take immediate steps to breathe life into farming.
The three steps that need to be taken immediately:
1) Announce an economic bailout package to farmers. At least provide Rs 2 lakh crore per year as an economic package, for the next three years.
2) Set up a National Farmers Income Commission that works out the assured monthly take home income package for a farming family. This Commission should have the mandate to ensure that the monthly income is linked to production and be based on specific needs of the agro-ecological regions.
3) Stop wrongful land acquisition in any form. Not only keep away from any further amendments to the land acquisition law, but also ensure that land acquisition is not pushed through a back door by encouraging corporate farming as the NITI Aayog is likely to recommend.
Prafulla Krishna, Student, Delhi
The society is facing so many problems like poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition in children, a rising sense of intolerance and the safety and security concerns of women. Though these problems cannot be solved in a short while but we should be optimistic and should vow to demolish these evils from the society. I would also like to see the functioning of parliament, which is sine qua non for the functioning of healthy democracy.
Vivek Singh, Theatre person, Delhi
I would love to see rise of rationalism over fringe politics. I hope the war-torn Middle East sees normalcy in the New Year. I also want Republican candidate Donald Trump to lose the US presidential polls. Moreover, I would love to see the drubbing of any kind of extremist ideology. I also hope that Government of India takes up the cause of farmers more gravely in the upcoming year. I would also love to see government encouraging plays across different varsities.
Anand Vatsa, Employee at Hewlett-Packard, Bangalore
I want to see development in the year rather than the obstructionist tendencies of the politicos of our country, that is on the rise across the nation. I would love see peace across the globe; I would love to see de-escalation in prices of food items as we haven’t had a very good year as far as prices of certain food items are concerned.
Raju Singh, Grocer, New Delhi
I would like to see prices of basic items coming down as it would be a matter of relief for the common men and better for my business.
Aruna Roy, Social Activist,Delhi
I hope that there is more tolerance and compassion among human beings in the new year as 2015 had been a terrible year as far as ‘tolerance’ is concerned. And I would also hope that people are not killed in the next year just because of their difference of opinions as was evident in the case of (MM) Kalburgi and (Govind) Pansare in the year 2015.There must be respect for opinions and human values. From Government, I hope that they uphold constitutional values and check rising intolerance. If they fail to contain rising intolerance, there would be anger among people against the government.
Mahavir Rawat, TV Sports Anchor, Delhi
Under 17 World Cup Football is a great chance for India to make its presence felt in the football world, I just would love India to do very well not only in hosting it but also in putting up a good show on the field. Moreover, I want the youth to stop playing games on the smartphone and go to the field and play. I would also love to see the Parliament not getting adjourned on petty issues. Finally, an Indian movie in the race for Oscars and a memorable year for India in the Olympics of 2016.
Vaibhika Parnami, Public Relations Executive, Delhi
On the social front, I would like to see more measures being carried out for the safety and security of women. Moreover, suitable actions must be taken against gender discrimination.
S. Irfan Habib, Professor and Historian, Delhi
If I go by the past experiences with various governments, not much can be expected from the state in the wake of this mechanical change of calendar. I may sound cynical but this is what most of the citizenry is stuck with. This particular government came to power raising huge expectations among the people at all levels. The common people are still waiting for some concrete steps towards the fulfillment of those promises. The past year also saw a significant rise in divisive issues taking centre stage. I am sure the common voters did not expect this when they voted for a much needed change.
As a student of history and as a professional I expect the state to formulate more harmonious cultural and social policies in the new year. The year gone by saw unexpected cuts in the educational and health sectors. Our education system has never been a prime concern of governments all these years despite sloganeering all through. One of the failings of the fifties and sixties had been its neglect of primary and secondary education systems. We seriously expect a reversal in the policies to reinvigorate our school education.
Even scientific and technological research needs serious attention. We had huge issues with our research institutions but the past one year has been a real disaster. I expect the government to strengthen the research component, which is indispensible for its much touted ‘Make in India’ programme.
I also expect the government to be more careful with their handling of the various prestigious institutions. The track record till now has been very questionable, the necessary professional component among people selected had been conspicuously lacking. It is not unexpected from any government to look for an ideological ally but it should not be done at the expense of professional competence.
Debmalya Ghosh, Language Expert, Kolkata
I really pray that 2016 should usher in an era of peace and harmony across the world. The last year was extremely bad. The Paris attack and the Syrian refugee crises, the toddler Alylan Kurdi's lifeless body drowned off the shores of Turkey have shocked the world. Here in India, there is growing sense of intolerance, writers are being murdered for not conforming to the ruling ideology, a man is being lynched to death in Dadri, the space for dissent has shrunk. So this may be part of a global crisis, and it is high time, for people and the Government, to reject violence strongly and take a resolution in the coming year to do our best to ensure peace and harmony.
Manmohan Vaidya, RSS Chief Spokesperson, Delhi
As far Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is concerned we want the Centre to fulfill the promises which they have made in their 2014 election manifesto. I think the BJP manifesto covers all the aspects that can take the country towards the roads to peace, prosperity and development.
Shabir Shah, Separatist Leader, Kashmir
If India is sincere in resolving Kashmir dispute, then the Government of India should either adopt UN resolutions or the “tri-partite dialogue” involving India, Pakistan and Kashmiri separatist leadership in finding a solution to the vexed problem.
India spends a large part of its budget for military purposes in Kashmir where around 7.5 lakh Indian soldiers are stationed. Solving Kashmir issue would not only bring peace in entire South Asia but it will also boost the Indian economy in a big way.
Now, after the resumption of talks between New Delhi and Islamabad, I hope that better sense will prevail within the BJP government and the voice of Kashmiri people will also be heard.
Gyan Prakash, Historian, New Jersey
As a historian, the first thing I would like the government to do is to ease access to the archives. Currently, if you hold a foreign passport, you have to get an affidavit from your embassy, even if you hold OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card, in order to access any archive. What’s more you have to do it for each archive or library! Contrast this with the access in Britain, where you just have to produce your university credentials, and they issue you a library card.
Second, the government should refrain from applying a litmus test in appointments to official institutions related to history. At the moment, there is a clear sense that what matters more is adherence to a Hindu nationalist ideology rather than professional accomplishment. Historical work is enriched by debate over evidence— based on differing interpretations even if they are inflected by ideology. It is a sign of a nation’s self-confidence when it embraces debate and discussion over history, even if some find it offensive.
More generally, the government should move forcefully to create an atmosphere of free expression and discussion of ideas.
BK Hari Prasad, Cong MP and General Secretary AICC
The only major thing that the government should adopt policies for the next year is ‘tolerance’. They should learn how to govern the country instead of ruling it.
The people at the helm of the affairs, be it a Union Cultural Minister, or the others, are speaking in the most uncultured language, starting from on the Dadri incident to on the death of APJ Abdul Kalam Azad. They should learn that India is a diverse country and it belongs to all without any prejudice based on colour, caste, creed and religion.
Paromita Vora, Documentary Filmmaker, Mumbai
I think we need much liberal censorship and some kind of support for the distribution of Indian documentaries. The other major change that I want to see from the government is increase in the funding distribution for documentaries. As of now we get very limited funds from the government and most of the capital comes from the foreign sources.
Government can also create telecast slots, especially for theatres which focus on art and documentary cinema, so that people can see it on their television sets. It can do wonders to revive the dying cinema culture in the country.
Ali Mohammad Sagar, National Conference (NC) General Secretary, Kashmir
We want India and Pakistan ties to improve, it will not only benefit the two countries but it will also make a huge improvement in the situation of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri people are the worst affected in between the rivalry of the two countries. We want the Kashmir issue to be resolved without any further delay.
The second thing that we expect from the Government is rehabilitation of flood-hit people. More than one year has passed since the floods created havoc in the valley but so far the centre has failed to provide succor to the flood victims.
Manav Kaul, Theatre Director and Playwright, Mumbai
There must not be extra censorship on movies as people are matured enough to decide what to see or what not to see. Moreover, people know whether to smoke or not, so running a scroll in the movie every time there is a smoking scene doesn’t make sense. I would like the government to give more freedom to filmmakers and artists in the next year.
Also, I would like the government to encourage playwrights who have been generally ignored. There must be allocation of funds for theatres and playwrights so that we may produce some good talent.
Talented playwrights must be awarded on national platform which will encourage youngsters to take up careers in theatre.