“We want policies and schemes that are people centric, not nominal ones that our elected representatives decide,” say volunteers of Chittoor People’s Action Committee (CPAC). CPAC is a pro-active citizen movement and the voice of the people in Chittoor, a city crying out for basic amenities and infrastructure.
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CPAC has interacted with more than 5000 citizens from Chittoor, Gangadhara Nellore and Puthalapattu constituencies, to deliver a data-centric, in-depth citizens’ manifesto. The manifesto is the end product of various surveys and workshops such as Nenu Bharath Aithe (inspired from a political drama movie starring Mahesh Babu). The volunteers of CPAC met the MLA candidates in these three constituencies and presented the manifesto.
At a time when all the contemporary political parties woo voters with cash, liquor and other freebies, there is a need for a comprehensive manifesto that gives a voice to the underbelly of society. Chittoor will be voting simultaneously for the state (Andhra Pradesh) Assembly and the Lok Sabha, and this is what they plan to push their MLAs and MPs to achieve.
Free quality school education for every kid. The AP government spends over Rs 60,000 per head per year on school education, but it is not yielding fruit. In a survey conducted by CPAC only 22% of students have expressed confidence that they can secure a job with their studies.
- Establish Vidhya Nagar (Education Park) for every 50k population
- Government should allocate adequate space and provide facilities like playground, laboratory, library for this Education Park so that educationalists/aspirant educationalists and those who run small schools/colleges can utilize these shared facilities/infrastructure, while they concentrate on quality of education rather than worry about capital expenses too much time or money on the infrastructure.
- The space allocated should be at least 5 acres with all the basic infrastructure and it shall be well connected to all areas with public transportation / free transportation.
Employment and livelihoods
CPAC Survey has revealed that 74 percent of students studying in Chittoor feel they have to migrate from Chittoor to get a job. This explains the absence of job opportunities in Chittoor. Here are a few measures that would create jobs for the youth.
- Restore the old glory of Vijaya Dairy. In case restoration is not feasible, research center on Horticulture / Poultry / Dairy / Natural Farming shall be established in the same site which shall bridge the gap between farmers and scientific community
- If co-op sugar factory restoration is not feasible, use the factory land to establish a Government Medical College or the Education Park that is proposed above.
- Take steps to make colleges follow stringent practices to ensure that their students spend quality time during internships and do productive project works and acquire job skills during their course tenure
- Create internships/project works for students in government departments like Police, Municipal Corporation, revenue, electricity, etc; students should work on solving local issues, which will make them more socially responsible while acquiring job-skills
- Establish single window clearance systems for all MSMEs
- Establish startup incubation center in Chittoor
- Set up Mines & Geology Central University, Hydrology Central Universities in Chittoor
Infrastructure and basic amenities
- Introduce an intercity train between Chittoor-Chennai & Chittoor-Bengaluru enabling people to reach their destination within three hours
- Complete Tirupati-Katpadi railway line doubling on priority
- Reduce travel distance by over 60 km by setting up a new Chittoor-Palamaner-Bangarapet train route
- Start works related to the existing proposal for Chittoor-Bangarapet railway line within 1-2 years and complete it by 2024 at any cost
- Construct footpaths in all the roads and streets so as to ensure pedestrian safety and also encourage people to walk. These should be disabled-friendly as well
- In every Panchayat/Mandal/City, there should be aDharna Chowk for the public to express their voice
- Set up a Government Medical College in Chittoor
- Set up sewage Treatment Plants in Chittoor
Water and greenery
A recharge well for every panchayat, treating pond water, undoing the tanker mafia and digging recharge wells in government places are some pertinent demands. People also demand interlinking of ponds and setting up of a Lake Development Authority. To encourage people to plant trees in government places, ‘Tree Patta’ scheme can be introduced under which the ownership of the trees planted are shared in the ratio of 70:30 between citizens and the forest department.
Governing policy and election of leaders
- Have direct Elections for Mayor & Chief Minister
- Discontinue the Legislative Council and abolish the current system of electing MPTCs/ZPTCs and make Sarpanchs elect Zilla Parishad Chairman directly
- Set up Ward Committees as per 74th Constitutional amendment and give them the freedom to carry out tasks and make budget allocations on their own
- Make corporators accountable to each and every citizen
- After every monthly ward committee meeting, make it mandatory to publish the budget details and planning activities
- Seek public opinion for all projects that cost more than Rs 2 crore and ensure that all budgetary allocations and planning decisions are transparent
- MLAs/MPs should not interfere in the functioning of the local government
- Only philanthropists and religious leaders should be appointed as board members and trustees of religious organizations and temples.
Right to Government Services act
The practice of bribery to get work done in government offices is still prevalent. 43 percent of the people confirmed this in the ‘India Corruption Survey – 2018’. 30 percent of the problems we received through our ‘Nenu Bharath Aithe’ workshop are related to government services. Here is how we can fight the callousness in the system
- Implement the Right to Guaranteed Government Service Act
- Display the Citizen Charter with appropriate SLA for each service in every government office
- Citizens should be paid a minimum of Rs 250 per day if the government servant fails to meet SLA
- The RTI Act must be respected and the state government should make provisions for seeking information online under the RTI act
Street Vendors & Daily Labourers
- Set up Street Vendor Committees (In Chittoor City, it will benefit over 2000 families apart from neighbouring farmers)
- Introduce a dedicated Helpline for the well being of labourers
- Set up Anna canteens every one 1 km.
- Ensure public toilets every 0.5 km
- Police Stations currently depend on donations from private institutions for their maintenance. Grant every police station Rs 50000 every month to make them more independent.
- Eve teasing is on the rise in high schools and junior colleges, especially in rural areas. It is increasing the drop out ratio among girls. Install CCTVs in rural and urban education institutions and have these connected to a Command & Control Center for continuous monitoring.
- Local courts with the provision to handle cases with low cost are required immediately
- Implement the Gram Nyayalayas Act that was enacted in 2009
- Set up a local court for every 50000 people in every city/mandal headquarters
- Chittoor people have been making sacrifices for the construction of the capital region. Almost all state level offices are being built in the capital. At the least, a High Court Bench should be established in Chittoor.
National Health Profile 2018 states that a rural family spends an average of Rs 13,698 and an urban family spends Rs 28,092 on health. By appointing family doctors, reliable and quality medicine should be provided to the people without them having to spend a rupee. A de-addiction centres of international standards should be set up in Chittoor, and at least 10% of the alcohol sales (from the district) revenue should be diverted to the centre.
Profits for farmers and tenant farmers
It is disappointing that parties keep promising farm loan waivers when studies clearly show that they are of no help. However, by introducing a few policies, farmers can be helped.
- Increase the storage facilities and provide pledge loans with nominal interest rates; farmers shall have the option to store when the market price isn’t fair.
- Set up a large scale Price Stabilisation Fund and remove middlemenfrom retail chains.
- While farmers all around the nation lost around Rs 1,40,000 crore because of the increase in imports, in the state the prices of iron, pulses and lentils have fallen heavily over the past two years. It’s high time government works on ways to increase the profit for farmers instead of just providing farm loan waivers.
- Revoke existing Agricultural Market Committee Policy
- Mango pulp preparation should be brought into the cooperative sector
- Establish a Mango Board
- Set up agriculture cooperative societies in every panchayat and cooperative federations in every mandal and district, and integrate these with agriculture, horticulture, banking and irrigation departments
- Panchayati office should make provisions for farmer to sell their crops from villages. Information on crops and produce shall be available in every panchayat office and put online if possible. This allows users to buy directly from farmers.
- A third of the profits should go to the farmer in all exports of mango, sugarcane and tomato
- Current market place should be utilized for cold storages and godowns
- Handri Neeva works must be completed immediately and net share of water should be allocated, as only the excess water is being shared now.
- There should be a rainwater harvesting pit for every 10 acres and a recharge well for every village.
Amendment of ChUDA
To include Revenue, Irrigation, R&B, Forest, Local governments (Chittoor Corporation and other Panchayats), Health, Education (Primary to University), Police (Criminal Control & Traffic), Pollution Control (APPCB), Agriculture, Horticulture, Marketing, Finance, Urban Planning and other departments in Chittoor Urban Development Authority (ChUDA), Andhra Pradesh Urban Development Authorities Act should be amended. ChUDA president shall not be nominated. He shall be elected by the sarpanch, ward members & MLAs instead. ChUDA shall become the Smart Urban Development Authority by including villages for comprehensive development with the concept of connected villages.
With the current MPs strength in Andhra Pradesh, it will be difficult to push for Special Status for the state, with other states opposing it. Elected representatives should push for special status for 100 backward districts in the country. It is a win-win strategy because that will include seven districts of Rayalaseema & North Andhra, besides giving a chance to many backward districts in other parts of the country. Chances of getting a nod in parliament are high for the strategy.