People’s Manifesto For a Just, Equitable, and Sustainable India

indian national flag

Part 1: Summary of Actions

  1. Steps to re-establish India’s global role as a champion of human rights, peace and demilitarisation, and ecological wisdom, including through the revitalisation of the United Nations and support to people’s democratic access to global decision-making, and advocacy to make trade and other economic agreements subservient to human rights and environment ones.

Talisman for every public action: does it enhance global peace and justice?

  1. Highest priority in all plans, budgets, policies and programmes to the most vulnerable sections of society, including those discriminated against on the basis of caste, gender, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity, faith/religion, ‘race’, ability/disability, literacy, location, and other such features.

Talisman for every public action: does it benefit the vulnerable, does it reduce discrimination?

  1. Strong measures to tackle the gross economic inequalities facing Indian society, including caps on salary levels, high taxation on income, wealth and inheritance, basic minimum income and employment guarantee for the vulnerable, and pension for all workers in the primary sector.

Talisman for every public action: does it reduce inequality, does it empower those who are currently deprived?

  1. Widespread programmes for re-establishing harmony amongst people of different faiths, ethnicities, languages, and so on, starting from school level upwards, and prompt action against those spreading misinformation, hatred, and enmity amongst various communities.

Talisman for every public action: does it increase harmony, does it reduce social conflict and tension?

  1. Further democratisation of decision-making, empowering gram sabhas and urban area or mohalla sabhas with financial and legal powers apart from those already provided for in the Constitution and relevant laws, ensuring processes of prior informed consent of such bodies for activities in their territories, and initiating decision-making forums at landscape levels such as river basins and sub-basins.

Talisman for every public action: does it increase meaningful participation of people, especially of the currently marginalised?

  1. A comprehensive policy and law on accountability and transparency of all institutions of the state, and of political parties; and repeal of laws/provisions that enable the state to stifle democratic dissent or provide draconian powers to police and armed forces.

Talisman for every public action: is it fully transparent to the public, does it enhance accountability?

  1. A massive programme on livelihoods that combine traditional and modern skills and knowledge, with highest priority in all plans and budgets to the two biggest livelihood sectors of agriculture (including farming, pastoralism, fisheries, and forestry) and crafts/small manufacturing; this should include reserving all products and services that can be made or generated through small-scale and medium-scale for community-based, decentralised production, through measures such as the facilitation of democratically run producer collectives (cooperatives, companies, unions, etc).

Talisman for every public action: does it enhance and secure livelihoods of the vulnerable and marginalised, does it accord respect to all sources of livelihood that are dignified?

  1. A national land/water use plan and policy, with steps for conservation of the most important ecosystems and ecological functions on which all our lives depend, and of the wildlife and biodiversity they contain; and initiate a country-wide programme of land/soil and water regeneration oriented at creating sustainable natural resource assets for local economies; all this through legal measures that empower and recognise rights of local communities akin to what is provided for in the Forest Rights Act, and Constitutional recognition of the rights of nature.

Talisman for every public action: does it protect natural ecosystems and ecological functions?

  1. A comprehensive policy and legal regime to ensure that economic planning respects ecological limits at all levels, local to national, including through independently conducted, participatory, comprehensive environmental impact assessments of projects, programmes, schemes and sectors; and that all chemicals and substances harmful to human or ecosystem/animal health are replaced by ecologically sensitive substances.

Talisman for every public action: does it sustain the natural environment and retain ecological health vital for people and wildlife?

  1. Programmes to bring back into prioritised public support all basic needs, including health, sanitation, housing, learning and education, water, food and energy, providing significantly higher budgetary allocations for these than currently given; actions to convert all food production into agroecological and safe processes with maximum support to small farmers, pastoralists and fishers and their full rights over land, seeds, and water; actions to produce most energy through decentralised renewable sources by 2030 while also undertaking measures to contain demand to what is essential and within ecological limits; and urgent actions to regenerate and conserve water sources with give priority to water use for essential life functions.

Talisman for every public action: does it enhance, secure, and make accessible/affordable basic needs of everyone, and in particular of those currently deprived of these, in ways that are ecologically sustainable.

  1. Steps to make urban and rural settlements dignified, livable, and sustainable, as self-reliant for basic needs as possible, and with full rights of access to land, housing, and other amenities for the vulnerable sections of society, and highest priority to public and non-motorable means of mobility/transportation.

Talisman for every public action: is it leading to more livable and sustainable conditions of living for everyone, especially those currently deprived?

  1. Initiatives to transform all learning and education towards methods that are activity-based, enjoyable, culturally and ecologically rooted, enabling learners to imbibe the ethics of justice and responsibility, driven by self-learning processes, and able to instil respect for cultural diversity and ecological sustainability, including through relevant amendments of Right to Education Act, and community-based processes for both children and adults; dedicate at least 4% of national and state budgets to this sector.

Talisman for every public action: is it leading to all-round learning opportunities for everyone, especially those currently deprived?

  1. A comprehensive policy and programmes on innovation, technology and knowledge, that encourages and supports public and informal processes of innovation, recognises the creativity of ‘ordinary’ people, maximises the availability of knowledge and information in the public and commons domain including through independent media, and puts all technological developments up for public review to gauge how responsible they are to the goals of justice, accessibility, and sustainability.

Talisman for every public action: does it further democratise and make publicly accessible knowledge and technology?

  1. A comprehensive policy and relevant programmes to make conditions for healthy living and health services accessible to all, especially to vulnerable sections, including through the integrated use of multiple health systems, linkages with other determinants of health (food, social and physical environment, education, etc), community governance and monitoring; dedicate at least 10% of national and state budgets to this sector to ensure that the public sector reaches all. Talisman for every public action: is it enabling conditions of health for all, especially for those currently deprived of healthy conditions and health services? 15. Initiatives to encourage the democratic flourishing of the arts (visual and performing), removing the caste, class and gender discriminations that are embedded in some of them, making them accessible to all, and converting public institutions promoting them into independent bodies.

Talisman for every public action: does it support the arts to flourish in ways accessible to all?

  1. In all the above, give special attention to the empowerment and facilitation of India’s youth and women, and the enabling of their own voices in determining the present and the future. (Pl. see Part 3 on Youth).

Talisman for every public action: does it empower the youth towards greater justice and self-determination

Read the Full Manifesto HERE (PDF)

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