In tune with its anti-graft plank, Aam Aadmi Party vowed to bring an effective Jan Lokpal in its manifesto released today that also promised to bring down the minimum age to contest polls from 25 to 21 besides carrying out reforms in electoral and justice delivery system.
The AAP, which is making its maiden foray in Lok Sabha elections, proposed installing CCTV cameras in court rooms to ensure transparency in judicial system. AAP, which was formed in November 2012, is contesting about 430 seats out of the 543 parliamentary seats at stake.
The 26-page manifesto released by AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal detailed its position on a range of key issues like economy, foreign policy, internal security, electoral reforms, defence and Jammu and Kashmir.
Asserting that containing corruption was party's key focus, he said bring an effective Jan Lokpal Bill that can "bring people, right from the Prime Minister to a peon under its ambit" was one of the top priorities of AAP.
Giving details of manifesto, Kejriwal said decentralization of power, citizen's charter to ensure time-bound delivery of services and providing good governance will be some other priority areas for the party.
On party's proposal to bring down the minimum age to contest, he said, "If an individual can marry at the age of 21 and assume household responsibility, then he can also take care of his constituency. This move can improve political representation of youth."
He also reiterated party's stand on introduction of "Right to recall" and "Right to Reject" and proposed brining political parties under the purview of RTI Act.
In the manifesto, the party said it was "industry friendly" as creation of wealth was essential for overall development of the country but noted that it was against "crony capitalism".
On Kashmir, the party said, "It is an integral part of India and there would be zero tolerance towards cross border terrorism.
"In addition to short term use of security forces, AAP believes in a long term approach of decentralization and devolution of power, which would give people of Kashmir the ability to make decisions for their own development."
Emphasising on judicial accountability, AAP also promised to double the number of judges in courts across the country in the next five years. It also proposed to set up fast track courts at "all levels of judiciary".
"We will install CCTV in police stations. There should be cameras in interrogation rooms as well. We have proposed to make separate investigative and law and order wings in police. The internal accountability of police must be fixed," said Kejriwal, while promising various measures on police reforms.
"There must be judicial accountabilty. We must have a fast, efficient and honest justice system. In five years, we will double the number of judges to ensure speedy justice," said Kejriwal,
The former Delhi Chief Minister also announced that the four-year undergraduate programme in Delhi University will be withdrawn as demanded by a section of students and teachers.
On foreign policy, the manifesto said the party advocated friendly relations with all the countries, but had "zero tolerance" for cross border terrorism.
"We will work to reduce to political hostilities in our immediate neighbourhood, but we will have zero tolerance for cross border terrorism.
"Coordination of bilateral and multilateral efforts are important to prosecute terrorist and for better border management. It is also essential to have a sustained dialogue at various levels to dismantle the structures that encourage terrorism," Kejriwal said.
He said border areas should be developed as zones of high economic engagements to create a larger constituency for peace on both sides.
"We will work to enhance the defence capacity to deter the border incursions by China, but also will strive for a greater and more balanced trade with the country," he said, adding it was important to have meaningful dialogue with US and other important blocs.
Elaborating on its economic policy, Kejriwal said that his party was pro-business and pro-industry. "We believe that unless industries don't flourish we won't be able generate jobs."
The AAP leader said that Swaraj Bill remained the core aspect of the party, which it intends to implement.
"Our party stands for decentralisation and devolving power directly to people at the gram sabha level in villages and the municipality level, in each ward there should be mohalla committee that can have a right to decide on what is required for their development," Kejriwal said.
Besides this, the party will strive for simplifying rules, create accountable institutions and bring back black money. However, he failed to elaborate when asked what measures his party will take to bring back black money. Butm he said this required political will.
The AAP leader advocated strong police and judicial reforms and more accountability of these law and order enforcing agencies.
"Not registering an FIR will be treated as an offence and CCTVs will be set up in police stations including interrogation rooms. The CCTV footage can be accessed through RTI. IPC and CrPC should be reviewed," he said.
On defence policy, Kejriwal said the party will not only focus on reducing foriegn dependence in defence equipment but also strive to bring transparency in their procurement.
He said in principle the party opposed nuclear energy.
Kejriwal said his party would use a long-term approach of decentralisation and devolution of power to resolve Kashmir and Naxalite issues.
The party also advocated review of laws like AFSPA and said sexual violence against women by armed forces personnel should not tolerated.
Known for his attack on media, the AAP leader said his party will explore ways to enforce accountability and regulation on media houses and will take steps to curb paid news.
"State monopoly on news broadcasting on media should end and there should be transparency and disclosure of ownership of media houses," he said.
AAP leader promised to set up Judicial Appointment Commissions, both at the state and the national level to make the selection process of judges for the lower and higher courts transparent.
On electoral reforms, it said internal functioning of political parties to be regulated to ensure that they follow transparency norms under RTI and get their accounts scrutinised by CAG approved auditors.
It also promised to introduce Right to Healthcare Bill to improve accountability of private health care providers.
Senior party leaders Manish Sisodia, Yogendra Yadav, Gopal Rai, Prashant Bhushan and manifesto committee head Atishi Marlena were also present at the manifesto launch.
AAP National Manifesto 2014 by OutlookMagazine
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