30 April 2017, Sunday

The LDF's Thirty Five Point Programme

The Left, which laid the basis of the development of Kerala with its historic initiatives, is approaching the people in the upcoming elections with an agenda of effective, alternatives policies geared to face up to the challenges of our times. The policies of globalisation pose many challenges with regard to the development of the state. The policies of the BJP government at the centre which violate the federal structure worsen the situation.

The action plan put forward by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) aims at implementing alternative policies, considering the limits imposed by the above-mentioned constraints. There are 600 proposals in the 2016 Election Manifesto which the LDF seeks to implement in order to take forward this vision. Out of these, the LDF puts forward 35 points as the main focus areas, constituting "The Thirty Five Point Programme".

The Thirty Five Point Programme

1.      Jobs for 25 lakh people: Ten lakh jobs to be created in IT, tourism, electronics and other related modern industrial sectors within five years for educated youth.  Fifteen lakh job openings will be aimed at in agriculture, construction, commerce, and small scale industries. Ten lakh young men and women will be trained through career guidance and skill development to equip them for jobs in modern industry and services.

2.      1500 start-ups: Incentives up to Rs. 2 lakhs to be provided every year for 1000 innovative ideas. 250 of them will be given mortgage-free loans of Rs. 1 crore each.  Funds will be generated in the following ways: 20% from Government angel funds, 20% from SEBI recognized private investors and 60% from banks. Special financial package to be created for start-ups initiated by people belonging to SC and ST communities.

3.      Addition of 1 crore sq. ft. to IT Park: The area of Kerala’s IT Park to be increased from 1.3 crore sq. ft. to 2.3 crore sq. ft. This would create additional jobs for 2.5 lakh people.

4.      Number of foreign tourists to be doubled: The number of foreign tourists visiting Kerala to be doubled from 12 lakhs to 24 lakhs in the next five years. 25% increase targeted in the number of domestic tourists. This would create additional jobs for 4 lakh people.

5.      Public Sector to be turned profitable again: The public sector to be revived once again and made profitable. Will create 50% increase in production. A large scale industrial complex to be created including the Kerala Mineral and Metal Company, Chavara to enable the conversion of Kerala’s unique mineral sand into value added products like Titanium metal.

6.      Completion of natural gas pipeline: The Natural Gas Terminal in Kochi to be linked to the National Gas Grid by completing the construction of the Natural Gas Pipeline. This would help strengthen the thermal energy industry. Availability of cooking gas for domestic consumption to be improved.

7.      Development of electronic hardware industry:  Revival of Keltron and completion of the Electronics Park in Amballur to transform Kerala into a national hub of this industry.

8.      Industries to produce value added products: An industrial network to be established to manufacture quality value added products from coconut, rubber and spices, under the aegis of farmer-owned companies. 50 industrial parks will be set up to enable the same.

9.      Agricultural income guarantee programme: A programme would be initiated to ensure minimum agricultural income for farmers. This will be implemented as a joint venture of both the central and state governments. Expansion of welfare measures. Creation of systems like Labour Banks in every panchayat. Agricultural workers to be trained in modern agricultural techniques. Paddy field owners would be given royalty in order to ensure the conservation of paddy fields. The fund allocation for agriculture would be increased.

10.  Other big projects: Time-bound completion of Vizhinjam port, minor ports like Azheekal, Beypore, Ponnani and Thankasserry and other projects like Light Metro, Kannur Airport, Kochi Metro, and Smart City.

11.  Electricity generation: A production capacity of 1200 MW thermal power, 300 MW hydro power and 1000 MW solar power to be achieved. A public campaign would be initiated to improve energy efficiency and to encourage the use of LED bulbs.

12.  Water conservation campaign:  A large scale campaign to be initiated on water conservation. A comprehensive strategy will be implemented for soil and water preservation from small streams to rivers. A permanent task force to be set up to review inter-state river water agreements in a time-bound and appropriate manner.

13.  Food security: Self-sufficiency to be attained in vegetables, egg and milk production. Area under paddy cultivation to be expanded to 3 lakh hectares through the ‘Arishree’ programme. Enforcement of strict regulations to ensure and prevent adulteration of food products.

14.  Coastal area package: Rs. 5000 crore package with primary emphasis on the development of infrastructure in the coastal areas. ‘Model Fisheries Village’ (Maatruka Malsya Graamam) project to be implemented for coastal regions to achieve parity with most other parts of the state with respect to human development indicators.      

15.  Defending traditional industries: Jobs in coir, handloom, reed, khadi, cashew, toddy and other traditional industries will be safeguarded and modernized. Procurement of handcrafted products like cloth, coir and handicrafts to be taken over by the government ensuring minimum wages. A separate department to be introduced for traditional industries.

16.  Road development: National highways to be four laned. State and district roads to be rebuilt with BM & BC. Village roads to be brought under the One Time Renovation Scheme. Completion of all bypass roads. Phase by phase implementation of Smart Road Project in Kerala.

17.  Waterways: Completion of National Waterways and construction of other waterways. Goods transportation through waterways to be initiated by linking it with the ports in Kerala. A study will be done on the possibility of a high speed ferry service from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod.

18.  Railways: Will press for the completion of the proposed new rail lines. A joint company to be launched with the Indian Railways to convert the present double railway lines to four lines. Attempts to be made to run High Speed Trains on the doubled lines.

19.  Clean Kerala: Kerala to be made the cleanest state in India and priority to be given to waste management at source. A campaign among the people will be initiated to create awareness about water pollution, and strict action will be taken against polluters.

20.  Housing: Land for the landless to be ensured. Homes and toilets for all in the next five years by reviving the EMS Housing Scheme and MN Laksham Veedu Scheme. One acre of agricultural land for Adivasis. The Land Reform legislation will be safeguarded.

21.  Health care: The present staff pattern to be re-examined and the number of doctors and nurses to be doubled.  Universal insurance scheme connected to the public health system to be implemented. Three medical colleges to be upgraded to the status of AIIMS. Heart surgery and Cath lab facilities to be introduced in Taluk Hospitals. Cancer detection facilities also to be made available in Taluk Hospitals.

22.  Ayurveda: Ayurveda University to be set up. A modern laboratory and research centre to be introduced at the cost of Rs. 500 crore. Basic facilities to be introduced in the Ayurveda sector linking health care and tourism.

23.  School with international standards: High-tech classes to be set up from classes 8 to 12. 1000 public schools to be raised to international standards with the help of alumni and well-wishers.

24.  Centres of excellence: Universities to be made centres of excellence. Higher education sector to be expanded through government collaboration with trusts and co-operative institutions.

25.  Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes welfare: Will ensure complete power of ‘Oorukoottams’ of Adivasis in the formulation of plans. Supervisory committees to be formed at all levels regarding the utilization of Scheduled Castes Development Fund. Local self governments to be bound to incorporate suggestions made by Scheduled Castes within the Gram Sabha/development seminar/working committee.

26.  Women’s empowerment: A separate department to be introduced for women. Gender budgeting to be reestablished. Kudumbashree to be made part of the Grama Sabhas. Loans to be provided to Kudumbashree at an interest rate of 4%.

27.  People’s Planning: The second edition of Peoples’ Plan to be implemented. It would be a people’s movement linking water body planning, waste management and organic farming to MGNREGS and Kudumbashree.

28.  Cultural renaissance: Budgetary allocation for culture to be substantially increased. 1% of the budgetary allotment for education to be ensured as grants to libraries. Libraries to be digitized. Financial assistance to be provided for arts and sports clubs. Facilities to be provided through school clusters for students to train in all art forms.

29.  Environment friendly Kerala: Programmes centred on wetlands to be introduced with people’s participation to conserve soil, water and biodiversity. Wetland protection laws to be strictly enforced. A master plan to be charted to clean the water bodies in the state.

30.  Expatriates: An Expatriate Development Fund to be instituted. Expatriates who return would be employed in industrial units set up using the investment made in this fund, depending on their qualifications. An extensive rehabilitation package would be designed for the expatriates who are returning to the state.

31.  Public distribution system:Public distribution system to be strengthened. Fair value shops that have been shut down to be reopened. There will be no price hike in Civil Supplies and Consumer Fed shops for the next five years.

32.  Hunger free Kerala: There will not be even a single person in Kerala without access to at least one meal every day. A scheme to be initiated in cooperation with voluntary organizations and others to provide free lunch to the needy, at select areas. This would be expanded throughout the state. A chain of hotels to be set up to provide quality food at fair prices.

33.  Social security: All pensions to be increased to Rs. 1000 from 1 June. All eligible persons above 60 years of age to be given pension. There would be timely increase of pension each year. Pension to be disbursed every month without arrears. Pensions will be delivered at home. Complete health insurance to be provided for all.

34.  Bank of Kerala: A major bank to be set up in Kerala by bringing together district and state co-operative banks. Co-operative sector to follow a bi-level system.

35.  End corruption; Ensure good governance: The suggestions of the second Administrative Reforms Commission to be implemented. E-governance to be made effective. All complaints and problems to be solved at the government level within 30 days. If complaints or requests are rejected, facilities would be instituted to re-examine the issue and ensure clarity, with people’s participation. The Directorate system followed by the central government, which is decentralized and more effective, shall be introduced to replace the Secretariat-based system. This will be implemented while safe guarding the rights of the employees. Service centres will be opened to make all government services available through a single window. Right to Information Act to be implemented effectively.

The Left Democratic Front seeks to achieve the goal of ensuring drinking water, food, electricity, home and social security for everyone. Improving the quality of healthcare and education is an important goal. Schemes are to be implemented with the view of ensuring jobs to educated youth in accordance with their qualification. The LDF would pro-actively engage to build the foundation for such a development, by strengthening the agricultural and industrial sectors and by developing the infrastructural facilities required for the same. 

The LDF has thus proposed a plan of action that would sustain the advances that we have made and also enable us to face the requirements of the new times.