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Previous Manifestos

Chapter 5


Social Infrastructure

A Better Standard of Living is Every Indian's Birthright

DESPITE various programmes launched at various points of time and although food production has touched 195 million tonnes from a low of 50 million tonnes in 1951, India still loses 11 per cent of under five children and 3 to 4 per cent women in the reproductive age group due to malnutrition. It is a reflection of the performance of previous Governments that 53 per cent of the country's children aged under five are malnourished. India has an abysmal record of 28 per cent low birth weight babies. Fifty per cent of the population suffers from iron deficiency and 20 per cent of all maternal deaths are due to anemia. To wipe out these shameful figures, the BJP will:

1. Ensure house-hold food security commensurate with the national food security so that all families in rural and urban areas get two square meals a day by the year 2003;
2. Review and vigorously implement the National Nutrition Policy and the Plan of Action on Nutrition so that all goals are achieved by their target dates;
3. Revamp and expand the scope of Integrated Child Development Services;
4. Use the PDS effectively to help the poorest of the poor.

Housing for All: A New Habitat Policy

THE BJP recognizes that soon one-third of India's population will be living in urban centres. It is important to ensure planned development of these centres from small towns to the big cities and the large metropolises. Urban slums are rapidly developing and conditions in them deteriorating. Particularly important are the problems of drinking water, sewage and waste disposal in urban centres. There is a severe shortage of housing both in the urban and rural areas. For us, shelter is a basic human need that must be met at all cost. Extensive housing schemes also generate employment. Therefore, the BJP will:

1. Evolve a National Housing and Habitat Policy in consultation with State Governments and Urban Development Authorities. The policy will aim at providing shelter to all by year 2010 and also facilitate the construction of 20 lakh new houses each year;
2. Review the provisions of the Urban Land Ceiling Act and ensure that land and property prices do not escalate as they have in the past;
3. Promote affordable mass housing for low and middle-income groups;
4. Make available adequate credit to house-seekers on attractive terms;
5. Take steps to make additional rented accommodation available;
6. Launch special concessional schemes to provide rural poor with adequate and affordable housing.

Health for All

OUR goal will be "Health for All" by 2003, but the poor and disadvantaged will be a special responsibility. Health delivery is most effective when decentralized to State, district and local levels, with communities taking leadership and responsibility for health and development. In this context, our ancient and local wisdom is of greatest importance. Public health cannot be regarded as only a consumer of resource. It is essential for the creation of a good society with high productivity. It is an investment in human resources. Towards this end, we will strive for:

1. Clean drinking water in all villages and slums;
2. Attaining 100 per cent universal immunization of children against preventable diseases;
3. Vigorously attacking eradicable diseases like Yaws, leprosy and filariasis;
4. Promoting awareness on cleanliness, sanitation and disease prevention;
5. Emphasizing prevention of diseases and maintenance of health which has been the basis of Indian culture and canalizing resources based on this philosophy;
6. Promoting traditional and alternative systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Homeopathy, naturopathy, with particular emphasis on traditional wisdom and indigenous knowledge, with full quality assurance;
7. Safeguarding traditional medical knowledge and natural resources;
8. Spending more on pre-natal and post-natal health care programmes and thus drastically reducing India's infant mortality rate and under-five mortality rate;
9. Launching an attack through existing programmes relating to AIDS, tuberculosis and vector borne diseases like malaria, dengue haemorrhagic fever and kala azar, with special attention to elimination of shortfalls/deficiencies in implementation;
10. Introducing health impact assessment in all development projects;
11. Ensuring that essential drugs are available at affordable prices;
12. Introducing low-cost health insurance schemes;
13. Providing concessional health care for the aged;
14. Instituting a mechanism to monitor and collate health-related information and ensure timely intervention through surveillance;
15. Providing every panchayat with a free and truly functional basic healthcare centre, particularly with facilities for mother and child care; as well as access to these centres;
16. Making the screening of blood at blood banks mandatory and provide for punitive punishment for any violation;
17. Making doctors, para-medical and non-medical staff at Government and private hospitals and healthcare centres accountable by suitable law.

Education for All

IT is sad that fifty years after independence, the cherished goal of universal primary education enshrined in the Constitution, which was to have been implemented by 1960, yet remains to be achieved. In recent years, State support for education has been wholly inadequate. Quality education is fast becoming the preserve of the social and economic elite of the country. We hold that education is both a human right and a means to bring about transformation to a dynamic, humane, thinking society. Towards this end, the BJP will:

1. Increase State spending on education progressively to six per cent and more of our Gross National Product within five years;
2. Achieve near complete functional literacy in five years, particularly by mobilizing societal participation and full literacy by the year 2010.
3. Launch a nationwide Educational Quality Improvement Campaign covering all institutions from primary schools to universities;
4. Accord priority to free primary education and enroll the help of locally-funded non-government organizations in this area; also integrate early childhood care and pre-primary education with primary education;
5. Offer incentives in the form of free text books, mid-day meals and nutrition programmes and stipends to check dropout rate so that at least 80 per cent children, both boys and girls, who enroll, complete primary school education;
6. Introduce self-employment oriented vocational training programmes at high school level which will also be open to working youth interested in skill upgradation;
7. Introduce an anti-cheating law which will be applicable to all States and whose abuse will be prevented through adequate safeguards; ensure that examinations are held on time;
8. Set up a special monitoring authority to scrutinize the quality of education and remove gender disparity;
9. Ensure autonomy to universities and to colleges under them. Rid them of corruption and other baneful influences. Encourage them to mobilize resources for research and higher education and provide academic freedom to our scholars, especially in the social sciences;
10. Restore to teachers self-esteem and make teaching a respectable profession;
11. Create centres of educational excellence in our academic system that can set an example and build self-confidence. Our Government will select 10 to 20 centres of higher learning and research that will be supported in all manner to make them world class;
12. Take the help of industry to set up more agro-industrial and technical institutions that will provide affordable education;
13. Replace the system of capitation fees by loan linked schemes and monitor the functioning of private engineering and medical institutions;
14. Launch a scheme for low interest bank loans for meritorious students who want to go in for higher education;
15. Thwart attempts by dubious, so-called foreign universities, colleges and institutes to open branches in India and prevent the outflow of foreign exchange on studies abroad unless the course is relevant to our needs and requirements;
16. Provide specialized opportunities for highly talented students at school level;
17. Introduce agriculture studies as a subject in rural schools;
18. Ensure that traditional knowledge and skills are preserved and disseminated;
19. Seek the help of industrial establishments for rapid proliferation of technical education;
20. Encourage the enrichment, preservation and development of all Indian languages, including Sanskrit and Urdu;
21. Encourage greater participation of social and charitable institutions in expanding the network of educational institutions and in improving their standards.