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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2706

India: 100-Day plan of Manmohan Govt hits first road block

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

New Delhi, 06 June (Asiantribune.com): The Manmohan Singh government unveiled a 100-day action programme in the Presidential address to joint session of Parliament on Thursday. A day later, opposition has begun to build up for the very first item –women empowerment, on the plan.The President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil in a procession on way to addressing both Houses of Parliament in the Central Hall on June 4, 2009. Also seen are the Vice President of India and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Shri Hamid Ansari, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar and the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh.The President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil in a procession on way to addressing both Houses of Parliament in the Central Hall on June 4, 2009. Also seen are the Vice President of India and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Shri Hamid Ansari, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar and the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Sharad Yadav, a former Union Minister has threatened suicide if Women’s Reservation Bill is passed.

Reservation for women in legislature was first mooted a decade ago. Some of the regional parties based in UP and Bihar are opposed to the move, though their political philosophy is based on socialism.

Women empowerment is top of my government; President Pratibha Patil told Parliament while outlining the steps "My government will initiate steps within the next hundred days".

She also clearly spelt out what her government has set to do thus: -

Early passage of the Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament providing for one-third reservation to women in State legislatures and in Parliament;

- Constitutional amendment to provide 50 percent reservation for women in panchayats and urban local bodies. Women suffer multiple deprivations of class, caste and gender and enhancing reservation in panchayats and urban local bodies will lead to more women entering the public sphere;

- Concerted effort to increase representation of women in central government jobs;

- A National Mission on Empowerment of Women for implementation of women-centric programmes in a mission mode to achieve better coordination;

Yadav Threatens Suicide

Yadav, who is also President of Bihar’s ruling party, Janata Dal –United, said he would ‘consume poison’ in the Parliament itself if the House passed the bill in its present form, namely reservation of one third seats for women.

Sticking to his strident opposition to the Women's bill, he went on to say, ‘We may not have the numbers but I will consume poison and die here but not allow the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill’.

Taking the floor during the discussion on the motion of thanks to President Pratibha Patil for her address to parliament, Sharad Yadav accused the Congress of indulging in ‘tokenism’ over the issue of reservation for women.

’Congress party has been resorting to tokenism by appointing a woman as President and as Speaker’, Sharad Yadav said and told the government that the real need of the hour was to liberate women who belong to the backward and most backward classes.

The 100-day action plan

"My Government will initiate steps within the next hundred days on the following measures:

- Early passage of the Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament providing for one-third reservation to women in State legislatures and in Parliament;

- Constitutional amendment to provide 50 percent reservation for women in panchayats and urban local bodies. Women suffer multiple deprivations of class, caste and gender and enhancing reservation in panchayats and urban local bodies will lead to more women entering the public sphere;

- Concerted effort to increase representation of women in central government jobs;

- A National Mission on Empowerment of Women for implementation of women-centric programmes in a mission mode to achieve better coordination;

- A voluntary national youth corps which could take up creative social action around the river cleaning and beautification programme beginning with the river Ganga;

- Restructuring the Backward Regions Grant Fund, which overlaps with other development investment, to focus on decentralized planning and capacity building of elected panchayat representatives. The next three years would be devoted to training panchayat raj functionaries in administering flagship programmes;

- A public data policy to place all information covering non-strategic areas in the public domain. It would help citizens to challenge the data and engage directly in governance reform;

- Increasing transparency and public accountability of NREGA by enforcing social audit and ensuring grievance redressal by setting up district level ombudsman;

- Strengthening Right to Information by suitably amending the law to provide for disclosure by government in all non-strategic areas;

- Strengthening public accountability of flagship programmes by the creation of an Independent Evaluation Office at an arm's distance from the government catalysed by the Planning Commission. It would work on a network model by collaborating with leading social science research organizations and concurrently evaluate the impact of flagship programmes and place it in the public domain;

- Establishing mechanisms for performance monitoring and performance evaluation in government on a regular basis;

- Five Annual Reports to be presented by government as Reports to the People on Education, Health, Employment, Environment and Infrastructure to generate a national debate;

- Facilitating a Voluntary Technical Corps of professionals in all urban areas through JNNURM to support city development activities;

- Enabling non government organisations in the area of development action seeking government support through a web-based transaction on a government portal in which the status of the application will be transparently monitorable;

- Provision of scholarships and social security schemes through accounts in post offices and banks and phased transition to smart cards;

- Revamping of banks and post offices to become outreach units for financial inclusion complemented by business correspondents aided by technology;

- Electronic governance through Bharat Nirman common service centres in all panchayats in the next three years;

- A model Public Services Law, that covers functionaries providing important social services like education, health, rural development etc. and commits them to their duties, will be drawn up in consultation with states;

- A National Council for Human Resources in Health as an overarching regulatory body for the health sector to reform the current regulatory framework and enhance supply of skilled personnel;

- A National Council for Higher Education as recommended by the Yashpal Committee and the National Knowledge Commission to bring in reform of regulatory institutions;

- Develop a "brain gain" policy to attract talent from all over the world into the 14 universities proposed in the 11th plan to position them as "Innovation Universities";

- A roadmap for judicial reform to be outlined in six months and implemented in a time-bound manner;

- Targeted identification cards would subsume and replace omnibus Below Poverty Line (BPL) list. NREGA has a job card and the proposed Food Security Act would also create a new card. Identification of beneficiaries for other programmes which currently use the omnibus BPL list would improve identification based on programme objectives with the common underlying principle that all identification of beneficiaries will be done through gram sabhas and urban local bodies and the list placed in the public domain to be open to challenge;

- A Delivery Monitoring Unit in the Prime Minister's Office to monitor flagship programmes and iconic projects and report on their status publicly;

- Suitably institutionalized quarterly reporting on Flagship programmes as "Bharat Nirman Quarterly Reports" where Ministers would publicly report on progress through the media.

-Asian Tribune -.

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