Indian National Green Party


National Policy-Strengthening Rural Communities

4.1 Principles
4.1.1 Rebuilding Rural Communities
While a world view is necessary if we are to both care for the planet and redress world-wide injustices and inequities, the fate of the world rests significantly on the actions of communities - both in their ability to generate local initiatives and in their combined ability to promote change at national and international levels. The Party's policies therefore strengthen local democratic processes, encourage regional sustainable development initiatives and planning, and enhance management capabilities within local communities.
The Indian National Green Party's policy for strengthening rural communities is based on the recognition that the situation in rural communities, whereby occupational choices are limited, family members often have to leave the district to obtain work, services have been cut back and where cultural and social opportunities are restricted , is one which needs major government attention and implementation of positive community and regional development initiatives in order to be redressed.
The Indian National Green Party recognise that Indian rural communities have, in recent time, been subject to government policies which have adversely affected the viability of community life, the quality of life in rural communities as well as adversely affecting producers’ access to markets within India. The Indian National Green Party are wary of making an economy less diverse and more vulnerable through encouraging it to specialise in those industries in which it has competitive export advantage while abandoning those industries that cannot compete against foreign imports.
An efficient and sustainable agricultural sector is critical to the viability of local and regional economies and is a vital component of the revitalisation of rural India. The Party's policies for strengthening rural communities and for Agriculture recognise the central role of community and ecologically sustainable agricultural production to regional and national economies.
The Indian National Green Party also recognise that in a technological society, empowerment of the individual may rely on his/her ability to effectively use communication technology and information systems.
The Indian National Green Party will support education policies to enhance the opportunity for all Indians to reach their full potential in science and technology literacy.
4.1.2 Physical Environment
Agricultural practices are presently operating beyond the ecological capacity of most areas devoted to farming, which in turn impacts on rural communities. Processes that threaten biodiversity, the long-term viability of agriculture and in which inappropriate land management practices are currently implicated include:
l ongoing legal and illegal clearing of native vegetation;
l changed and/or insufficient flow regimes in rivers and streams;
l salination;
l soil erosion and degradation;
l chemical contamination of habitat and food sources;
l water pollution;
l irrigation; and
l intensive inappropriate or cruel animal production practices.
The ecological and economic cost of land degradation will increase unless major steps are taken to counter degradation processes. Farm financial pressure is a contributing factor to land degradation. The servicing of loans often requires farmers to extract the maximum amount of income from their land. Financial pressures are exaggerated by unsympathetic banks, fluctuating commodity prices and unreliable climatic conditions. The cost of land degradation in India is now measured in crores of rupees per year, resulting also in significant impacts on rural communities.
The Indian National Green Party policies for water are based on adopting a total catchment approach to the management of water, recognising that the restructuring of the water supply in India by introduction of free market competition is likely to be accompanied by a severe loss of social and environmental accountability and responsibility; and, equitable allocation of water amongst all users.
4.2 Goals
4.2.1 Provision of Services to Rural Communities
The Indian National Green Party aim to:
a) provide a level of services comparable, where feasible, with metropolitan services, for example, in health, education, community care, communications (including both post offices and information technology services), sports facilities and cultural activities;
b) provide programmes to ensure residents achieve a comparable quality of life and access to services;
c) provide programmes to enable rural residents to appreciate culture and knowledge; and
d) facilitation of public transport and communications (including postal services) and provide improved access to transport services to residents of rural India.
4.2.2 Community Participation in Government
The following goals are set by the Indian National Green Party :
a) in the long term, wherever possible, decision-making should be determined by bioregional considerations and patterns of social interaction;
b) community services and local environment policy should be provided at the closest possible level to the consumers of the services; and
c) there should be a move towards regional planning and organisation, foreshadowing the eventual emergence of a more decentralised system of government.
4.2.3 Environment
The Indian National Green Party aim to:
a) hold the amount of water captured for human use from surface aquatic systems and provide environmental flows to all river systems and their dependent ecosystems;
b) limit the amount of water drawn from groundwater systems to rates not greater than they are replenished; and
c) maintain public ownership and control over all major water supply, distribution, drainage and disposal systems.
4.3 Short Term Targets
4.3.1 Provision of Services to Rural Communities
The Indian National Green Party will:
a) work to provide a quality public education system with guaranteed access for all, including rural residents;
b) provide additional funding for students who are physically and/or intellectually disabled, or who are disadvantaged by location and/or distance;
c) initiate programmes aimed at reducing suicide rates, particularly among young people and people in rural areas; and
4.3.2 Support for Young People in Rural Communities
The Indian National Green Party support:
a) increased employment and education opportunities, for disadvantaged young people, including for those in rural or remote areas; and
b) greater representation of young people on regional economic organisations and greater recognition of community-based organisations which generate environmentally and socially useful employment opportunities.
4.3.3 Community Participation in Government
The Indian National Green Party propose that
a) funds be made available from the Central Government for the coordination, preparation and implementation of ecologically sustainable strategic plans by local governments and regional organisations; and
b) financial assistance be provided to local interest groups to assist them to participate in local and regional planning and sustainable development initiatives.
4.3.4 Trade
The Indian National Green Party will also support a review of agriculture subsidies in terms of their adverse social and environmental impacts.
4.3.5 Environment
The Indian National Green Party will work to:
a) implement, as a matter of urgency, national legislation to control the clearing of native vegetation, with complementary provisions at state and/or local level;
b) integrate commercial wood production into diversified agricultural enterprises, and provide marketing mechanisms to facilitate this;
c) support the development of alternative fibre industries where they are more ecologically sustainable;
d) provide funds for the planning and initiation of ecologically sustainable industries at local and regional level;
e) propose changes in the taxation structure for chemical fertilisers and pesticides with the aim of supporting a change to ecologically sustainable farming methods. Levies on these products will be redistributed to the farming community through education, information and other appropriate programmes on integrated and non-chemical pest management and sustainable farming practices.
f) maintain or restore the natural diversity and productivity of soil in agricultural and pastoral areas .
g) provide information and low-interest loan incentive programme to assist rural residents to:
lchoose renewable energy systems for domestic and farm power supplies; and
ladopt water conservation practices for domestic and farm use.