A neutral election manifesto for India: The results of assembly elections to West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry will be known on May 2. While there is uncertainty over poll outcomes, something predictable happens ahead of all elections in the country. The political parties that have a dismal record of keeping election promises come up with newer versions of their old election manifestoes to woo voters. Competitive populism in these documents has led to a fall in the quality of political discourse, and wasteful spending of valuable resources. It’s time political parties sat across the table and thrashed out a people’s manifesto that will help India claim its rightful position in the comity of nations.
India is likely to emerge as the fastest growing nation on earth in 2021-22. Double digit growth is feasible after decades as there is a confluence of unexpected forces. To make this position sustainable over time, a neutral election manifesto is required. The manifesto must cover climate action, diversity, inclusion, equity, respect for human rights, vibrant democracy, high technology adoption, universal basic income, reclaiming of the soft power of spirituality, lifelong learning, and more healthy lifespans that are largely disease free.
A neutral election manifesto for India
- Plant at least twice the number of existing trees every year until we acquire an abundance of fruit and a completely new lung with high-capacity oxygen production.
- Completely transition to renewable energy by 2035. A majority of wind, hydrogen and solar power at less than 10 paisa per unit must be the goal.
- Every vehicle running on our munificent divided roads would run on electric power, autonomously by 2035. Traffic jams will be a distant memory as programmable autonomous transport for all ground transportation becomes a reality by 2035. Clean fuel will drive all inland shipping, aeroplanes operating in the country and ships touching any of our two hundred plus ports.
- Every habitat shall have on tap, potable water, mandatory rainwater harvesting, separation of waste to enable easy and complete conversion to high productivity manure and universal sanitation. Vertical agriculture would be ubiquitous and maintain an abundant supply of highly nutritious food in a genetically determined manner in a hyper personalised ecosystem.
- Warehousing would be recast as multiple staging points in an optimised supply chain leading up to the final consumer.
- All payments would be digital and all wealth held digitally.
- Final justice shall be delivered in a maximum of one year. Any overflow would be handed over to an AI driven judiciary to dispose of instantly and finally.
- Universal basic income and services would be a reality by 2030.
- India will emerge as a net zero and a gross zero carbon emissions nation by 2035.
- No discrimination of any human being by physical, mental, belief system, financial or capability endowment will remain. Strenuous efforts to enable comprehensive diversity, inclusion and equity will always drive public and private policy.
- The ancient disciplines of yoga, conscious breathing, mindfulness, meditation, connectedness, kindness and gratitude for the bounty of nature and other humans will be universally supported.
- Internet will be a free and uniformly available common good for the entire population.
- Education to continually upskilling and reskilling every person will be a public good available ubiquitously at a fair cost.
- Personal hygiene, social distancing and cleanliness will be a universally delivered capability.
- Healthcare on a hyper personalised basis will be provided using cellular level technologies and an adoption of the best practices from anywhere in the world.
- Every attempt will be made to integrate the most productive technologies to manufacture the lowest cost goods continuously.
- Tax systems will be based on determination using universal blockchain technology. Entity level accounting will give way to ecosystem based immutable systems. All Recordkeeping will be universalised as a utility.
- Freedom and choice of ways to pursue vocations will be guaranteed to all. Innovation, discovery and sharing of knowledge will be provided the highest recognition.
Technology and resources to create this future already exist. A change of mindsets to positive orientation and a change of incentives to generate the optimal actions are required to fulfil this people’s election manifesto. We can do this together.
(Shailesh Haribhakti is corporate leader based in Mumbai. He is a chartered and cost accountant, and writes regularly on the Indian economy and public policy.)