LtColTIKKA MHS BEDI (Retd)
1. In today’sIndia, most people identify themselves, not as ‘Indians’ , but as belonging to a region/state/district etc. Not many or these are aware of their responsibilities towards the Nation; they are not bothered about their surroundings; so long as they are able to provide for themselves, even by recourse to anti-social and anti national methods.
2. ‘Indians’ are a minority in India today, due to faults in our systems which we have created for ourselves – let us not blame anyone for what we are today, but, can we learn some solid lessons from the obvious mistakes, inadvertently made by our predecessors, and to get down to some honest work. Each one of us must accept responsibility and take a vow to dedicate our lives from now on, for the secured future of our Country and the Nation.
3. We have progressed a lot but not in consonance with the huge inputs, nor in tune with the thinking of every leader, from various parts of our vast Country- what has not been done (and also done) for so many years or for two/three generations cannot be set right in a jiffy, but we can certainly and surely put our Nation onto the most righteous path of progress if we are determined to do so – we have to think in the overall interest of the Nation and be bold as also positive about it – we have to take a pragmatic approach and most dispassionately – we must take hardline decisions, not mindful of how so and so will be affected, but what is best for the country- we can certainly stay within the framework of democratic norms and yet take to more forceful methods and means, so long as they are logical, practical and result oriented – (eg) it is more logical and economical to set up a thermal station near a coalfield and transmit electricity to far off places, than set up the station, for some political reasons, in a given area and be saddled with perennial problem of transportation of coal over very long distances ( and possibly, supplying electricity back to the coalfield ?)
4. Let us wake up and start to work for our Country and the Nation-not only for a party, state, district or mohalla – we have to infuse patriotism and a sense of responsibility among the masses, unlettered and educated alike, so that we may step onto a new path of uninterrupted progress – let us have a National character, as of older days, by which we were known the world over – we must feel proud to be ‘Indians’ first and last.
5. Some of my practical suggestions are enumerated in succeeding paragraphs (numbers 6 to 71).
LtColTIKKA MHS BEDI (Retd)
CERTIFIED TRUE COPY
6. Committees of citizens comprising of all sections and communities, and represented equally by both sexes, should be set up, purely on honorary appointments, in each ward/mohalla in each city, town and village. These committees, in conjunction with various voluntary social organisations, will be entrusted with the tasks of :-
(a) Promotion of peace, communal harmony and National integration.
(b) Detection and reporting of anti-social acts like adulteration of food/medicines etc., hoarding and black marketing, bootlegging, smuggling, anti-dowry cases etc.
(c) Soliciting the cooperation of the people to cut down wasteful expenditures etc.,
(d) Helping the needy and reporting their cases.
(e) Monitoring the payment of monthly revenues by each family/shop/establishment. (See Paras 20 to 28).
7. Prices must be fixed for all items of food, medicines, consumer goods, various types of cloth-infact, all items of basic needs. Everything must be freely and readily available at dealers’ shops; Govt must exercise control to ensure availability and maintenance of price line, but must NOT get bogged down with distribution; establishments/traders not capable of honestly carrying out their traditional functions must be blacklisted and their licences cancelled.
8. Dealing in and sale of adulterated commodities must be made cognisable offences and defaulters dealt with severely.
9. Trade unions should be made responsible for :-
(a) Production as per fixed targets,
(b) Losses due to sub-standard work/neglect.
(c) Discipline and decorum of their members.
10. Following will be prohibited from entering into politics, directly or indirectly :-
(a) Religious centres/institutes/organisations etc.
(b) Trade unions (the basic function of a trade union is the welfare of it’s members).
(c) Student bodies,
(e) Government administrative machinery.
11. Following should be banned :-
(a) *Strikes, lockouts, agitations, demonstration, specially during working hours,
(b) Public collection of funds for various institutes/organization/homes etc.,
(d) Export of various raw materials and items of food which will adversely effect the domestic market; earning of foreign exchange should not be the main criterion for exporting.
12. *Violence of any form, causing losses of material and/or life must be treated as an anti-national act, and dealt with deterrent punishment.
13. Barring a 8 km belt all along our land frontiers, the Country may be subdivided into not more than five zones, for coordination and supervision of development project; each zone will have a non-political technical committee which will report directly to the cabinet at pre-arranged intervals.
14. Irrespective of the boundaries of the states, projects for development of the Nation must be considered under an overall plan, and executed as such.
15. In due course of time, the Country may be permanently re-organised into these five zones.
16. The 8 km belt will be directly controlled & administered by the centre, for reasons of National security; the task may best be carried out through the Army, with all para-military forces, as may be required for deployment in the border areas, being placed under command of the Army.
17. Additionally, rootless as also willing ex-servicemen should be resettled within this belt with a view to enhance our national security. A thorough screening must be done to preclude undesirables among these special settlers.
18. Commissioner system of police should be introduced throughout the Country, with uniform powers. There must not be any red tape for their functioning across state borders.
19. Police must maintain close liaison with various organisations like NCC, Scouts & Guides, Committees of citizens, various voluntary organisations and utilize their services whenever necessary.
20. Record of each family (with permanent address, if different from the present residence) must be drawn up and kept in each ward/mohalla, and will be maintained by the Committee of citizens; the head of the family will be responsible to have it updated with every permanent change.
21. Above record will include details of employment of each member of the family and the income therefrom. Every family will pay income-tax on it’s gross clubbed income; families earning less than Rs 500 pm will not pay.
22. Rates of income-tax will be 1% to 33 ½ % only. Those with incomes of over 1 lac per annum will also make suitable deposits (as fixed deposit savings) for development projects.
23. Shops/establishments/business houses etc will pay revenue at 5% to 15% of their turnover; those with turnover of over 5 lacs per annum will also make suitable deposits for development projects.
24. All religious institutions must contribute towards the development of the Nation by :-
(a) Income-tax at 25% of the gross collections.
(b) Maintenance/subsidizing charitable dispensaries, homes for the aged/disabled free crèches for the infants of poor working mothers etc., with at least 25% of the gross collection.
25. Farmers will pay their dues (income-tax plus land revenues) immediately after the sale of their crops.
26. Income-tax/ revenue will be paid by all concerned every month and will be adjusted annually. Property tax/land revenue may, alternatively be paid in advance during the first quarter of the financial year.
27. Sales tax and other local taxes should be abolished.
28. To simplify procedures and reduce paper work, each family/shop/establishment/business house/organisation paying revenue will be issued with a record book, in which every transaction will be entered. Paper work at the revenue department must be completed in all respects within the first quarter of the following year, including refund/recovery, each record book will be endorsed accordingly.
29. This problem can only be tackled through proper education of the masses, giving of incentives in cash and kind may have motivated some sections to practice family planning, yet a great deal has been spent without tangible results.
30. Educated people from backward areas as also various social organizations should be assigned the task of educating all concerned in their respective areas, to practice family planning and without any incentives.
31. Facilities for abortion must be made available, free of cost and without any questions, to all women who may ask for it. Family planning workers must cover the remotest of areas at least once every month.
32. We will do well as a Nation, to observe a NO-CHILD period for about three years, except for the first child of a couple, both married for the first time; incentives must be offered to newly married couples who successfully practice family planning for at least 3 years after marriage/
33. Adoption rules must be made simple and liberal so that children from poorer families may be given a fair chance to grow up properly, as part of more affluent families, who may want to adopt, specially, if they do not have any children.
34. Must be taken up on a war footing with time bound programmes for provision/setting up of the following within a maximum period of three years :-
(a) Multi-purpose farms on cooperative basis for dairy, piggery, fish farming, sheep farming, growing of vegetables, mushrooms and fruit as also fodder and feed for the animals and birds.
(b) Health and hygiene (to include instructions on balanced diet) and family planning centres.
(c) Community recreation/information/adult education centres, with facilities for regular news services. Consumer goods through mobile super markets, and postal facilities may also be provided at these community centres.
(d) Gobar gas plants for provision of cooking gas and lighting facility to each house.
(e) Bottling/canning units, and packing/crating unit to supplement multi-purpose farms.
(f) Stud farms and veterinary centres.
(g) Job orientated technical training institutes.
(h) Wind-mills for generation of cheap power for operating perennial tube wells to obtain potable water, as also for irrigation in multi-purpose farms; also for lighting of streets and institutes.
(j) Cheap semi-permanent housing for the needy.
(k) Schools/colleges as may be required, so that every child may get a fair chance to receive education.
35. For these projects, doctors, engineers, teachers, administrators as also other professionals and scientists must be called upon to compulsorily serve a tenure of at least three years as their minimum contribution for the development of our Country and the Nation.
36. Labour must be drawn locally and supplemented, as necessary, by mobilising thousands of beggers; entire labour will work under ‘food for work’ schemes.
37. Student community, with proper motivation and guidance should be able to substantially help rural development through social services camps.
38. Education must be practical and purposeful. While it is very desirable to spread literacy with a view to have a wider field for choosing our future stalwarts, we will be drifting away from our aims of educating the Nation, by trying to make every student into a ‘white-collar’.
39. Our present systems are confusing and by and large a failure. Among our presently educated generation of worthy citizens, we cannot really find many, capable of understanding their responsibilities towards the Nation, nor do they care. It has not been understood by our planners that everyone can be sent to a school/college, but may not necessarily become educated.
40. A sound system capable of making every child of the Nation into a useful citizen, has to be evolved. Such a system will possibly me made up of about five stages of education; 10 plus 2, supported by vocational training for the dropouts after 7, 10 and 12 years in school, followed by 5 years of specialized education, and another 3 years of compulsory National service(in rural development programmes) before finally getting the degree. Those found to be outstanding may be sent abroad for further studies.
41. Education will be compulsory for all children from the age of 6 years. Should be provided free for children from families with low incomes, but restricted to two children only; families with more children will have to pay for the third child onwards and will not have any option of keeping the child away from the school.
42. Special institutes must be opened for the handicapped.
43. A complete range of basic books must be written/revised or selected, and translated into all our major languages, and prescribed for teaching at various levels throughout the Country, no other books must be allowed as text books.
44. “Moral Ethics’ (religion-a code of conduct) as a subject must be included for teaching at all levels. The subject must include the best of teachings in each Faith, specially the emphasis on the importance of ‘Humanity is above everything else in the world’
45. Private institutions offering near – bogus education (often by post) and pass certificate to the dropouts must be banned and closed immediately.
46. A genuine pass percentage marks of 50%, 60% and 65% in each subject may be fixed initially, for weeding out after 7, 10 and 12 years respectively, in school. Those weeded out must be put through vocational training courses of upto 5 years to make them fit for various jobs.
47. Teachers though qualified, unable to hold their ground as ‘guru’ and enjoy the confidence of their students, may be removed and usefully employed in other administrative jobs, in which they may show aptitude.
b) Potential teachers, on passing out from the college must henceforth be graded as ‘suitable/unsuitable for teaching appointment at . . . . .. . level; uninterested teachers are solely responsible for out misguided youth today.
48. Scholarships should be offered to students from poor families, but only after the 7th. Scholarships for higher studies, including studies in foreign universities, should be given purely on merit only.
49. Sports and games will be compulsory for all students.
50. Social services camps must be started from 7th onwards for all students, for working on rural development schemes.
51. Students unions will NOT be affiliated to any political party. They will be made responsible for inculcating the highest standards of discipline and morals among all students.
52. ‘Hindustani’ the spoken language (not the sansakritised form) should be promoted, in Devnagri script, as the National language; initially, Roman script may also be used, as this will surely speed up the process of integration.
Energy and Transportation
53. A high priority may be given to the setting up of power plants/stations using wind, water and sunshine, with a view to expedite the establishment of National power grid. Projects should be well distributed all over the Country; while hydel projects can only be located at technically suitable locations, thermal stations should, for smoother functioning, be located near coalfields; atomic power stations may therefore be located in the gaps. Similarly, those based on wind, and sunshine will also be placed in the gaps.
54. The main consideration for the establishment of the National power grid will be the use of electric propulsion for rail and road transport systems; overland transportation in hilly areas may be given priority above the plains areas.
55. Conservation of petroleum products should engage our attention more seriously; operation of large fleets all over the Country, as against rail or waterborne transport, is definitely a luxury we can ill afford.
‘Gashol’ should be introduced early.
56. Maintenance of navigable channels in all our major rivers should be given an equal priority; steam tugs, which can easily be made in the Country, towing barges will be able to cut down on costs for moving bulky and heavy equipment.
57. Electric trolley buses should replace the present buses in metropolitan cities, at the very earliest.
58. Should be revamped with an emphasis on small scale cottage industry, but with strict control on quality.
59. Every major industry must adopt/bring up a given number of ancilliary small scale/cottage industry units.
60. Negative incentives must be applied for failure to achieve minimum targeted production, substandard work and avoidable losses of raw materials. Units not able to keep up productions or causing shortages through inefficiency should be blacklisted and dealt with very firmly.
61. Equitable distribution of raw material at fixed prices must be ensured, so that both domestic and export needs can be met, in time, by the industry.
Work and Wages.
62. Every employee, public or private must work for the minimum fixed hours during each week. We need to cut down on our holidays.
63. The system of ‘overtime allowance’ must be scrapped; where necessary, more staff/workers should be enrolled and work completed through an additional shift.
64. A uniform wage structure should be laid down to cover both public and private sectors; should cover retirements.
Compulsory National Service
65. Besides those involved with the rural development projects (ref para 34), all able bodied males must serve in the Armed Forces for at least 3 years, at their convenience, between the ages of 20 and 30 years. Thereafter, they would remain on a reserve liability for a period of 5 years.
66. Strength of the regular armed forces may be gradually reduced, when sufficient reserves are built up.
67. All able-bodied educated females must carryout social service for at least 3 years, at their convenience, between the ages of 20 and 35 years, at or near their home station. These services should include nursing, vocational training in the villages, telephone exchange duties etc.
68. The existing system is ineffective and promotes the unlawful activities of the ‘unscrupulous’, mainly because the laws are unnecessarily complicated. There is an urgent need to introduce simplified law books; present voluminous books are ambiguous. Further, instead of giving judgement on pure merits, judges depend heavily on precedence given in these voluminous books. How far is the present system at all valid, is for very serious consideration.
69. Investigating systems need to be overhauled, so that each case is expeditiously completed, and possibly, within a given time limit.
70. People responsible for filing cases/evidence, solely to complicate and slow down the process of investigation/trial should be dealt with, with a deterrent punishment.
71. All cases should be finalized within a laid down time limit; judiciary must find out ways and means of achieving this aim. Justice delayed is justice denied, and a majority of the cases in our courts are affected; in short almost everyone who gets unfortunately involved in a court case has only to suffer.