Bhubaneswar: The political parties were presented with a “Peoples’ Manifesto” in a convention held on Thursday at Guru Kelucharan Odishi Research Centre in Bhubaneswar. The event, organised by collaboration of civil societies and attended by about 150 participants from across Odisha, put forward suggestion on nine separate sectors including Health, Education, Disaster management, Gender, Tribal, Dalit, Religious minority, Senior Citizen and Third Gender. Mr. Lenin Mohanty of BJD, Dr. Aiswarya Biswal of BJP, Mr. Amiya Pandav of Congress, Mr. Ramkrushna Panda of CPIM, Mr. Soumyaranjan Swain of AAP and Mr. Mahendra Parida of CPIM(L) heard the detailed presentations and in their response agreed to consider the suggestions in their party’s manifesto.
Senior journalist Mr. Dillip Bisoyee presided over the convention. Mr. Bisoyee praised the effort of the civil society in suggesting the manifesto to the political parties and also lauded the political parties for taking up preparation of manifesto quite seriously this time. Welcoming guests and introducing the convention, Mr. Akshaya Biswal, Regional Manager of Oxfam India, informed that civil societies from across Odisha have engaged with communities at the grassroots and have come out with this peoples’ manifesto. Mr. Biswal further informed that the civil society will not limit to suggesting peoples’ manifesto, it will also start review implementation of the manifesto every year. Dr. Pravas Mishra and Mr. Bibhu Prasad Sahu coordinated the proceedings. Some of the major demands of the peoples’ manifesto are: 1. Ensure universal access to good quality and comprehensive health care including the entire range of primary, secondary and tertiary services for the entire population by enacting legislation ‘health care a fundamental right’. 2. Ensure good quality health care for all by public health care facility through allocation of 2.5 percent of the GSDP and to implement of National Health policy 2017 as well as to achieve universal health coverage (SDG-3) rather than making health care insurance as the option for universal health coverage. 3. Regulate private health institutions with a string mechanism of monitoring and accountability. Insurance based health care models create dependency on private health care providers. The Clinical Establishment Act should make provisions for observance of patient’s rights in all clinical establishments, regulating the cost of various services, eliminating kickbacks for prescriptions, diagnostics and referrals, and establishing government supervised independent grievance redressal mechanisms for patients.4. Extend the Right to Education (RTE) Act to cover all children from pre-school to class 12, and guarantee unconditional Fundamental Right to free education of equitable quality for all children up to 18 years of age and affordable higher (including technical) education in a time bound manner. 5. Make a comprehensive Odisha State Education Policy to ensure improved quality education from pre-primary to the higher secondary education level.6. Stop mass scale merger/closure of government schools; re-open those that have been closed.7. Ensure appointment of all teachers through the Odisha Staff Selection Commission and build capacity of the tribal, dalit, women and minority candidates for better teacher ship and make sure to prioritize appointment of local candidates for teacher ship.8. Allocate 26% of the state budget for education for better quality and improved education services in the state. 9. Ensure post disaster relief be given to all affected households, irrespective of them having ration card; 10. Pre-positioning of relief materials at the village level institutions such as ASHA, Anganwadi, GKS and schools etc. 11. Make necessary amendments in the Relief Code giving authority to the Gram Panchayats enabling them to immediately respond to any disaster within 24 hours or earlier. Allocate an emergency contingency fund of Rs. Five Lakhs to the Gram Panchayats for immediate response. 12. Earmark 20 percent of MP and MLA Local Area Development (LAD) Fund to reduce disaster risk. 13. Make provision for comprehensive disaster risk vulnerability mapping in the entire state and mandatorily integrate the risks in planning and development initiative. 14. Establish institutional mechanism at block, district and state level to ensure mandatory compliance of DRR integration in all development works and provision social audits. 15. Frame a comprehensive ‘River Policy’, giving primacy to its natural flow, riverine culture, riparian rights, sustainable development, and disaster risk reduction.16. Frame Odisha State Tribal Policy, to address the growing sense of alienation among tribals and to help them fight against exploitation.17. Ensure Gram Sabha to exercise control over local plans and resources including tribal sub plans with specific powers as mentioned Under Section 4 (m-vii) of PESA. 18. Safeguard land rights of the adivasis by strong implementation the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006. Ensure proper compensation for recognized forest rights and existing assets under LARR whenever relocation from PAs does take place.19. CAMPA Act should be revoked and Gram Sabha’s powers to conserve and manage forests, including any plantation activities should be respected; in any case, there should be no privatisation of forest management.20. Ensure people’s engagement and power must be ensured as per the provisions DMF (MMDR Amendment Act 2015).21. Enforce SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and POA amendment Act-2015 in letter and spirit and further strengthen and enforce SC/ST POA Act, with regular review and expand the reach of Act to include Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims 22. Open SAMATA Kendra in all villages of Odisha. The SAMATA Kendra should be managed in close supervision of Panchayati Raj System. 23. Auto inclusion of elderly with provision of social security. 24. Establish old age home with elder friendly facilities in all districts to provide better shelter and elderly care. 25. Ensure effective implementation of Odisha State Policy for Senior Citizens, 2016 and Maintenance Act 2007.26. Ensure universal accessibility under AIC based n harmonized guidelines of Govt. of India focusing districts 27. Ensure inclusive education for all, and cover all people with disability (PwD) under the health insurance schemes and provide health insurance cards (RSBY, BKKY etc.). 28. Ensure pension for the PwDs with 50 percent of minimum wage and based on the current inflation rate in the state. 29. Make provision of 5 percent budget allocation for the PwDs under each department in state and district and ensure its expenditure.30. Make provision for disaggregated real time data for each flagship program of state and central government and ensure mandatory PwD representation in community level planning and grievance readdress. 31. Ensure formation of State Minority Commission to provide rights and justice to the monitories.32. The draft Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill is pending in Parliament since 2011 should be passed without any further delay.33. Make provision for ‘Minority Sub Plan’ in manner with the SC & ST Sub Plan and earmark 5 percent of budget for each department and ensure its expenditure.34. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 (its current form) needs to be completely overhauled, and made compliant with the Supreme Court verdict, and incorporate the community feedback given to the Standing Committee before it is presented again. 35. Inclusion of third gender (LGBTQ) in all educational admissions, education syllabus in secondary school level, in all government jobs and in health system. Also include third gender in gas connection and election nomination form36. Ensure inheritance of parental property by the LGBTQ and form an LGBTQ Board at the state level.37. Sex segregated reporting for all programmes and schemes 38. Appointment of separate Protection Officer under PWDV Act and adequate budget provision along with monitoring mechanism should be ensured and mechanism should be developed to take cases at Block level.39. Budget provision for implementation of all legislations related to addressing crime against women.40. Provision of Mahila Sisu desk in all the police stations of the state must be functional with dedicated and adequate and trained staff.41. Stringent efforts must be taken for total ban of liquor in the state.42. Reservation of 50% seats for women in the state assemblies and the parliament. 43. Remove the two child norm which undermines the women’s quota in the Panchayat Raj Institutions.44. Ensuring formation of Internal Committee under Sexual Harassment of Women; “Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013” and implementation of this Act in all schools and colleges.