Friday, May 24, 2024

Pro-ILP, anti-CAA flavour in VPP election manifesto


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, April 5: The amendment of the National Education Policy 2020, the review and reconsideration of the border dispute resolution between Meghalaya and Assam, reservation of jobs, the implementation of the inner-line permit (ILP), and opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act have found space as the key issues in the election manifesto of the Voice of the People Party (VPP) released on Friday.
The VPP said the party is committed to promoting transparency, accountability, and efficiency in governance to ensure that the needs and aspirations of the people are met effectively.
“We pledge to uphold the democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution, including the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of all citizens. We will uphold the principle of secularism in letter and spirit, fostering an environment of multiculturalism, peaceful coexistence, and the protection of minorities across the country,” it stated.
On education, the manifesto says: “Engage with the government to ensure that the central educational institutes cater to the needs of local people in terms of seats for learning, employment, and course of study. Promote the learning of foreign languages and soft skills by assisting existing institutions. To advocate for the amendment of the National Education Policy 2020 to make it relevant to the state of Meghalaya and the Northeastern region.”
It stated that it would advocate for putting Meghalaya under Article 371 to protect the state from the application of central laws affecting the customs and traditions of the people. Streamlining the working of the grassroots governance including the Sixth Schedule in the state and also advocating for the preservation of people’s ownership rights over land and natural resources.
The party promised to develop a comprehensive border policy aimed at fostering the socio-economic development of regions along international borders.
It also emphasised developing micro hydropower projects, solar energy, and wind energy to promote sustainable and clean energy sources besides initiating the development of agriculture-based industries and schemes to support farmers.
The VPP manifesto also talks about amending the Mines and Mineral Development Regulation Act 1957 to suit local requirements, resisting the implementation of The Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act, 2023, in Meghalaya, and advocating robust monitoring mechanisms to ensure that large-scale factories operating in the state adhere to national environmental standards while providing economic benefits for the local communities.
It also dwelt on the interstate boundary dispute and promised to review and reconsider the border dispute resolution between Meghalaya and Assam and seek central government intervention to resolve the border dispute over Block 1 and Block 2.
The VPP advocated job reservation in lower-grade posts for local people in central government offices located in Meghalaya and felt the need to seek the Centre’s intervention to tackle drug abuse and smuggling by strengthening border guarding and supporting rehabilitation efforts.
The party also promised to oppose the implementation of the CAA in the state and devise strategies to mitigate its effects in the state apart from fighting the bid to introduce the Uniform Civil Code. It also opposed the establishment of railway lines in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills unless adequate safeguard measures were in place to address concerns related to the influx and the mining of uranium in Meghalaya.
The party expressed its commitment to press for the inclusion of the Khasi language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, promote its learning in the state, oppose the imposition of Hindi and uphold English as the medium of instruction in schools and colleges and as the official language of the state.
Under ILP, it stated: “To reinstate the names of Khasi and Jaintia Hills in the preamble of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873, as it was removed in the Adaptation of Laws (Amendment) Order, 2019. Implement the Inner Line Permit in Meghalaya to regulate the entry of outsiders and protect the interests of indigenous communities.”
On health, the VPP manifesto said: “Improve the human development index in the state and promote herbal medicines practised by the people to ensure holistic healthcare and well-being. To advocate for increased salaries and government support for Accredited Social Health Workers (ASHA).”
“To improve the working conditions of the Anganwadi centres in the state and uplift the living standards of the Anganwadi workers,” it added.
The manifesto touched upon enhancing the airway infrastructure, enhancing road infrastructure and communication technology, advocating the development of digital technology to enhance communication networks, focusing on building ropeways in feasible locations, improving connectivity and transportation options, exploring opportunities for constructing flyover roads where feasible to alleviate traffic congestion, mitigating traffic congestion and ensure smoother mobility, effectively implementing centrally sponsored schemes and providing infrastructure facilities for sports, scholarships for meritorious sports persons, and establishing sports academies.
The VPP manifesto also championed the rights of differently-abled persons.


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