ASSOCHAM presents ‘suggestions for manifesto of parties’

A land acquisition and rehabilitation policy and farm loans at one per cent interest rate are among key suggestions made by the industry body, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), to political parties going to the polls in the State next month.

A paper prepared by ASSOCHAM, presented earlier to the parties, spells out several social and industrial priorities they should include in their manifestoes, J. Crasta, co-chairman, Southern Regional Council, ASSOCHAM, and D.S. Rawat, national secretary-general, told a news conference here on Friday.

The paper, “Suggestions for election manifesto of political parties in Karnataka”, hopes to evolve consensus on important economic issues so that Karnataka can achieve double-digit growth in the next decade, they said.

Terming land acquisition as “a significant issue hampering industrial growth in Karnataka”, ASSOCHAM suggests that the matter should be left to the buyer and the seller of the land. The State government for its part should facilitate speedy and transparent transactions. Farmers offering land for agro-based industries should be made equity promoters, it says.

The suggestions cover political issues, health, education, rural development, infrastructure, industrial environment, tourism promotion and telecommunication.

On the social side, it has said that programmes should be evolved to raise the education and health standards of people in the State.

Special farming programmes should be taken up to improve crop productivity, water harvesting and community farming. Agriculture loans should be offered at an easy rate of one per cent rate of interest through co-operative societies.

Parties should focus on rural infrastructure, roads, housing, safe drinking water, sanitation, power and rural-urban connectivity. The paper underlines the role of public-private partnership in agriculture, industry and services in creating jobs and raising economic activity.

Mr. Crasta said that ASSOCHAM would pursue its agenda with the incoming government. The industry body strongly favours government-financed election expenditure, he said.

Political stability is necessary for the growth of Karnataka and for it to attract private investors. Transparent policies, a strong Lokayukta (State government ombudsman) and protection to whistle-blowers are also necessary, they said.

The paper says that the traditional handloom and textiles industry should be propped up and export-oriented special economic zones, including small enterprises, should be set up. New infotech centres should be developed on lines of Bangalore.