The BSP-SP-RLD Gathbandhan represents the most oppressed sections of society. We have always been, and are proud to continue to be the voice of more than half of our country.
The privileged dismiss us as casteist. The elite & the rich dismiss us as power-hungry. These are all lies designed to maintain and perpetuate oppressive power structures that benefit the few.
Here are the facts: India is perhaps the most unequal country in the world. The rich have become super-rich — in fact, the richest 10% of the population (uniformly upper caste) owns more than 60% of India’s wealth. And the poor have struggled with income growth well below inflation. Half the population has just 8% of India’s wealth, and are getting poorer every day.
Demonetization was a cruel trick that impacted India’s poorest the most— its farmers, agricultural workers, daily-wage-laborers, artisans, traders and the millions of unemployed young people struggling to find a job. It is time for a #MahaParivartan.
The extreme inequality in India needs urgent attention on three fronts — social mobility, housing, and income. We believe that addressing all three simultaneously is the only way to set India on the path to a more equal, more progressive nation.
The Samajwadi Pension will transfer Rs 3000 a month to the women of those houses most in need — a key learning from the implementation of this program to ensure the best use of these funds.
Under the Lohia Grameen Awaas Yojana houses will be built for the poorest for three times the amount of a similar central scheme. These are houses with two rooms, a bathroom, solar panels, fans, lights and a water-pump — a house that can be a home, not a room that perpetuates the idea that the poor should live in poverty, without self-respect.
We see no reason why the rich should get richer, without giving back more. We see no reason why someone making crores of rupees should pay the same tax rate as a salaried employee.
We propose financing this increase in social transfers by imposing an additional 2% tax on total wealth of households owning more than Rs 2.5 crores (about 0.1% of Indian households). This works out to 1.1% of the GDP. We believe it is also time to add a top income tax bracket for the ultra-rich who hide their income using complex structures. Doing so would unlock up to an additional 1% of the GDP. This will free crores of Indians from a poverty trap that is crippling the nation’s growth and give an economic fillip to the Indian economy that will power us to the forefront of countries.
Growth for the Many We are a young country. Fifty percent of our country is below the age of 25, sixty percent below the age of 30. Most of our youth are unemployed or underemployed. The biggest threat facing our country today is the growing human crisis of berozgari. Talking about anything else is to destroy this country’s future. Young people know how demonetization killed jobs and how GST made people stop hiring and led to small businesses shutting down.
Beyond these acts committed against them by a Prime Minister who asked them to trust him, the young have a nuanced understanding of the problem. They are not falling for his business advice to set up tea stalls and fry pakoras. They know that the basic education they have received is not up to scratch — that the many educated in villages are worse off compared to their urban cousins who went to better schools. Poor transport infrastructure makes the situation worse: travel times to centers where good colleges exist are too high. And their parents don’t have enough resources to let them go live near the colleges. They also understand good teachers are hard to find — and they are asking us for new solutions to these problems.
Young people are already solving for all of these issues using their ingenuity, their mobile phones and with time and hard earned money spent on private coaching.
We need to address jobs and growth in mission mode using new ideas, instead of trying to repeat the mistakes of the past five years, all the while hoping for different outcomes.
We want to build on the good work our governments have done in Uttar Pradesh.
We are a young country. Fifty percent of our country is below the age of 25, sixty percent below the age of 30. Most of our youth are unemployed or underemployed. The biggest threat facing our country today is the growing human crisis of berozgari.
Talking about anything else is to destroy this country’s future.
Young people know how demonetization killed jobs and how GST made people stop hiring and led to small businesses shutting down. Beyond these acts committed against them by a Prime Minister who asked them to trust him, the young have a nuanced understanding of the problem. They are not falling for his business advice to set up tea stalls and fry pakoras. They know that the basic education they have received is not up to scratch — that the many educated in villages are worse off compared to their urban cousins who went to better schools. Poor transport infrastructure makes the situation worse: travel times to centre’s where a good colleges exist are too high. And their parents don’t have enough resources to let them go live near the colleges. They also understand good teachers are hard to find — and they are asking us for new solutions to these problems. Young people are already solving for all of these issues using their ingenuity, their mobile phones and with time and hard earned money spent on private coaching. We need to address jobs and growth in mission mode using new ideas, instead of trying to repeat the mistakes of the past five years, all the while hoping for different outcomes. We want to build on the good work our governments have done in Uttar Pradesh.
Education for all is a fundamental right — constructing school buildings isn’t enough and the country has failed to provide quality primary education. A MahaParivartan is only possible by spending up to 6% of GDP on education. We have to think differently to ensure EVERY Indian, old and young, has access to free, high quality education. This becomes even more important considering the accelerating pace of change — we need to start moving to a system that supports the idea of continuing education & skilling. We also need to solve for parents forced to spend money on coaching centers to make up for the gaps in the education system — across all types of schools. We will partner with leading non-profit education providers to bring the world’s best subject experts to provide interactive classes in local languages to students. The delivery of these interactive lessons will be facilitated by teachers. A network of edu-service providers will offer exam questionnaires, on-call advice and other support services. We believe this is the only way to address the current shortfall of high quality teachers, and the scale of the problem we are dealing with. Additionally, the neediest will be provided with tablets and phones. Every student in this country will have access to the best quality education material — for free.
When elected, we will demand that central reservations are immediately updated to reflect actual caste distribution in the population. Various numbers are doing the rounds about how many government jobs are there. The fact is announcing jobs isn’t enough? 500,000 jobs are announced just before an election, recruitment takes five years and after multiple court cases and some people get a few jobs just before the next election. We will undo this cycle by breaking up that 500,000 chunk into 100,000 jobs per year. Recruitment will be run on a strict schedule of dates. Any slippage will result in action against those responsible. Additionally, the quality of government services suffers because we don’t have enough people — not enough policemen, or social workers, or doctors, or nurses … the list goes on. The fact is we need to massively expand the number of people working in government — based on a simple ratio to population. We will work with leading economists and social scientists to arrive at what the ideal level of service should be and work towards fulfilling those requirements. We expect the number of government personnel in essential services to be doubled within five years in a phased manner. Innovation Clusters Designed To Spur Industrial Growth Economic policies that do not enable small enterprises to become medium enterprises, and medium enterprises to become large enterprises doom us all — if we want to help create wealth, and not just provide subsistence jobs, we must change our thinking and expand our imagination. We propose creating Industry Innovation Clusters — places close to educational institutions where enterprise will be encouraged and access to markets facilitated. The state has a major role to play in creating this infrastructure — regulatory, technical and physical — that gives all Indians an edge.
The BJP trots out old tropes on a regular basis to describe women and perpetuate the patriarchal roles assigned to women — that of being a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother. And they employ the worst caricatures possible to drive this point home — of the dutiful daughter-in-law, the mother-in-law, and the sacrificing wife. In the 21st century, it is time for all of us to recognise women as the equals they have always been and put an end to treating them as inferiors. We propose a social education movement to communicate to everyone that girls don’t need to be saved, and that they have the right to a country that respects them as equals. We recognize that behavior change communicating needs to be backed up by real change. We will ensure delivery of primary healthcare, fix law and order issues and identify and resolve systemic discrimination against women. Women’s voices need to be heard and their interests need to be actively addressed.
World class expressways and roads that strengthen our economy will be built. You will be able to travel to a school, a market, a factory or an office quickly and easily. Public transport that serves the many is an urgent need. The Lucknow Metro is a great example of the transformative power of public transport on the economic and social fabric of a city — bringing people closer together, ironing over the friction of traffic, and enabling addressable markets growth. The transitionary period during which India’s young people learn the skills they need to succeed in life are a particularly trying period — relocating to another city to study is almost never simple. We believe deserving students should get the best education & support possible and that doesn’t stop at giving them access to great colleges — it extends to ensuring they have a safe place to stay. Samajwadi hostels for girls and boys will be built in all major college-towns where meritorious students will get subsidized boarding and lodging. India’s young people are making a big mark in professional sports. And even as the vast majority of sports-people come from villages and small towns, our rural areas don’t have the stadiums, the training grounds or proper facilities. A playground in each village cluster and a stadium in each district. Under a participatory planning and execution model, we want locals to come together to co-create sports bodies and help build these facilities. We propose a public-private partnership model to achieve this — when successful, we will extend this model to cover all kinds of rural infrastructure.
Our farmers feed us; it is our responsibility to ensure they don’t starve. The condition of our farmers and rural workers has worsened since the BJP came to power, even as fuel and fertilizer prices have risen at the same time as farm incomes and rural wages have fallen. The farm crisis is a national crisis and needs a national solution, no poll-sop or individual state can implement change at this scale — we stand with farmers everywhere and promise to bring about a Golden Revolution for all farmers regardless of caste, creed or religion. A 100% farm-loan waiver is the first step. But more than 90% of India’s farmers rely on local money-lenders who don’t ask for the paperwork that banks insist on. We have to break this cycle. We will facilitate a community based financing model run by women based on self-help groups. These self help-groups will be enabled by deploying a state-run institution based on Kerala’s extraordinarily successful State Farmers’ Debt Relief Commission. Only a coalition government can build this model out at a national scale because this is not a central program alone, but one where states and the centre will have to work together effectively, ensuring we take advantage of the power of our federal structure.
An increasingly desperate BJP is using the Indian Armed Forces as an electoral tool — accusing all and sundry of being anti-national. This pseudo-nationalism threatens our national security more than any other external force. The sacrifices of our men and women in uniform should weigh upon the nation’s conscience, and especially the political classes of this country. We believe it is time for a renewed compact between the nation and its citizens — we will ban all political messaging that uses our Armed Forces in any form and we propose to raise an Ahir Armored Regiment and a Gujarat Infantry Regiment. UP has been one of the top states in terms of recruitment in the armed forces. We propose a state-specific family welfare program to look after the families of troops while they are away keeping us safe. Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav is recognized as one of the best Defense ministers India had — in his short term, he ensured Indian airpower was brought into the 21st century with Sukhoi aircrafts. We also believe all our security forces must be given the same respect whether they belong to the Army, the BSF, ITBP or the CRPF. We are a strong nation — we must negotiate with intractable foes like Pakistan and China from a position of strength with a robust foreign policy.
The last 5 years have seen the internal security situation worsen in India. We have seen a growing strain on the social fabric that binds this country together while the Home Ministry has been a mute spectator as things have gone from bad to worse. Be it women’s security or cow lynchings, the law & order situation needs to be addressed immediately so that application of principles of social and natural justice are a norm and not the exception. We promise to strengthen the rule of law by empowering state and central agencies that are at the forefront of the battle against Naxals attacking the idea of India. This will be coupled with a tribal outreach program that ensures respect for traditional rights over water bodies, forests and land. Be it initiating long pending Police Reforms or enhancing the capability of our Intelligence Agencies, we will modernize law enforcement so our agencies are able to identify and tackle new threats to our country. We will initiate procurement of state of the art weapons, equipment and strengthen training programs for new recruits belonging to state or central forces. NATGRID — our metadata intelligence grid — will be reactivated and equipped with cutting edge tech and human resources to tackle new challenges. This will prevent attacks like Pulwama and keep our troops safe. We will reevaluate the BJP government’s Kashmir policy that has led to record levels of alienation amongst the Kashmir youth. We will focus on humane approaches within our constitutional framework to strengthen Kashmir’s relationship with the Union.
The Government’s flagship Swachha Bharat programme has instituted a systematic abuse of Dalits and lower-castes to clean the country — symbolic gestures like washing their feet makes the problem worse not better.
A cleaner India for rich, upper caste people cannot be built by lower-caste Indians — this goes against the principles of social justice. That toilets that have been built still need to be cleaned manually is a blot on this nation.
We believe that the money spent on advertising Clean India is better spent on tools and infrastructure that automate the cleaning of India and ensuring clear air and water for the many and not just those who can afford it.
We also believe that an over-dependence on coal directly impacts tribal populations who are constantly under threat in the name of power-generation and resource extraction. We have the capacity to build the world’s largest renewable energy grid in partnership with leading innovators and providers.
Promises of wealth and prosperity for all, of unlimited opportunity and everlasting growth have turned out to be false.
Our great enemy today is not divisions in class rooted in wealth, but divisions amongst people rooted in identity. Arrogance, of mind, body, and spirit, has seeped into every aspect of our culture. We are judged on the basis of what we wear, not the dignity with which we carry ourselves. We are judged on the basis of how we speak, not what we have to say, or what we know. We are judged on the basis of how loudly we pray, not the moral code we follow in our everyday lives.
The need of the hour is a government that serves the many and not the few, that heals divisions and bridges differences, that rebuilds trust in institutions by being bound only to a single oath to the Constitution of India.
We propose a MahaParivartan. We will give an economic boost to the poorest in this country that is being left behind by the top 0.1% of this country. Farming is not our past, it is our future. India will feed the world, and India’s farmer will reap the benefits. We will overhaul and update the education system to produce a new generation of world-beating students who will succeed in the 21st century for India, in India. We will create jobs through policies that will grow small enterprises to medium enterprises, medium enterprises to large enterprise, and large enterprises to global behemoths. We will ensure India becomes a country where women will occupy pride-of-place by addressing systemic discrimination against them. These ambitions will be realized by ensuring states and the centre work together harmoniously and take full advantage of the power of our federal structure.