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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

AAP vision: Coal, oil and gas must be owned by govt alone

Gaurav Choudhury, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 24, 2014
First Published: 00:14 IST(24/3/2014) | Last Updated: 00:50 IST(24/3/2014)

Government ownership of major natural resources, such as coal and oil, phasing out of contractual employment, nationwide rollout of the goods and services tax without hurting the states and a small industry-led revival of manufacturing are the main focus areas of AAP's vision for the economy.

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But, a source, involved in the drafting of the Aam Aadmi Party’s economic agenda, told HT: “Ownership of minor minerals and minor forest produce and rainwater will vest with the local communities.”

The party’s manifesto will also draw up a roadmap for rural infrastructure – storage facilities, warehouses and roads – to incentivise setting up of small manufacturing units in villages.

In January, then AAP-led government in Delhi reversed a decision that allowed foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail – letting global chains to set up superstores in the national capital – triggering howls of protest from business leaders.

“The party will also pitch for progressive elimination of contractual jobs, where work is needed round-the-year, and non-discrimination with contract workers in terms of access to canteens, uniforms, company transport,” the source said.

The party is also in favour of a new legislation to bring in a comprehensive social security legislation to address pension, healthcare and insurance needs of more than 400 million workers in the unorganised sector.

The party is in favour or raising the share of manufacturing in India’s national income from 18% to about 25% as envisaged under the national manufacturing policy. The industrial revival, however, should be led by adequately incentivising small and medium enterprises as opposed to mega-industrial zones.

AAP is in favour of empowering gram sabhas to oversee the allocation of mineral resources. “If mining requires persons to be displaced, the consent of the gram sabha will have to be taken and the oustees will be provided alternative sources of livelihood,” the AAP source said.

The party is also in favour of rolling the GST to stitch together a common national market “without compromising the financial independence of states and local institutions”.


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