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In 1865, a child was born in Madras, India. Her parents named her Lucy Deane. As destiny would have it, in 1893, Kensington Vestry (UK) wanted to hire women Inspectors where, at that time all inspectors were men. Lucy Deane was hired and was a factory inspector. In 1898, she cautioned the authorities that asbestos was causing lung disease. The report collected dust. It took a century and in 1998, EU and France banned all forms of asbestos. (1)

As we stand today, Government of India has approved the use of GM Mustard for use in India. Like all throughout the world, there is a pro-GM and anti-GM groups in India. There have been spate of articles and influential voices who are supporting GM Mustard and its widespread use, without knowing the ramifications. Those who are against it are being labelled Luddites, risk averse, unscientific, elites and hypocrites. With government approving this, we know where the government stands.

Comparing the incomparable:

In a recent article in Indian Express(2), an author compares Viagra, Insulin and cell-phone towers and makes a point whether the elites sought zero risk proof for these products. First it pitches the GM crop as pro-poor and pro-farmer and insinuates all others as elites who swallow Viagra and go out to protest. Let me not rebut on this clever ploy of making this about one man versus the other.

The larger stupidity of this is the comparison of risks of Viagra against the risks arising out of a GM Crop. Though it is appealing to the common sense and immediately identifiable, its conceptually flawed from the first word. Viagra is a thin tailed risk and GM is a fat tailed risk. Thin tailed risks are common sense probabilistic and form the majority of Risk Management. The world as we see, revolves around with the use of such risk.

Insurance, the business which completely relies on risk had a seminal paper by Filip Lundberg in 1903 which formed the basis of what risk managers and many insurance actuaries know as Ruin Theory. Ruin is “the physical destruction or disintegration” which has no chance of recovery. There cannot be an un-ruin. Rebuilding is not bringing back the same structure which was there. By ruin, in this context, we mean the ruin of the complete system. This is not fear mongering and is grounded on sound logic and evidence.

The system here is the nature. This system is so complex that we cannot predict the weather pattern for the next month. The complexity of the system also makes the impact of GM crops unquantifiable. In 2005, UNESCO with its advisory body World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), released a paper called as “The Precautionary Principle.”(8) It states:

“The emergence of increasingly unpredictable, uncertain, and unquantifiable but possibly catastrophic risks such as those associated with Genetically Modified Organisms, climate change etc., has confronted societies with the need to develop a third, anticipatory model to protect humans and the environment against uncertain risks of human action: The Precautionary Principle (PP).”

What it states is essentially this: lets protect before something bad occurs and not get into the damage control where we may not have any chance. This paper also puts forth when we need to apply this principle. Just by quoting this, we cannot stop the human progress.

Conditions to satisfy are:

  1. Complexity of the system
  2. Unquantifiable scientific uncertainty

If we look at GM Crops, it is a tailor case to apply this principle.

One, interaction of GM Crops with nature cannot be ascertained because nature is highly complex system and it is non-localised. Two, the impact is unquantifiable. Applying the risk of ruin, which essentially states that the impact cost will be infinity, and any non-zero probability will make the overall risk as infinity.

This is not same as one crore road accidents nor losing Titanic nor losing MH370. These are localised risks. Or the aforementioned opinion item provocatively mentions – Viagra.

Anyone who states that GM is completely safe is fooling us and fooling themselves. A recent study has revealed unintended mutations were induced in mice by a genome editing technique. And we are not sure how that will affect GM Crops.(3)

Thus we can safely conclude, that this is a system which must be seen from the Precautionary Principle and Ruin Theory view.

For detailed study of these risks, please read the books The Black Swan and Antifragile by Nicholas Taleb.  Also, he, along with many has authored a paper on GMO based on Precautionary Principle.(7)

Anti GM is essentially anti-corporates:

This is another lie that is being spread against the principled, theory and research oriented stand against GM Crops. What this essentially states are that since the anti-GM group, doesn’t like profits, are somehow socialists or communists and hence hate corporate profits. The same author(2)chides us for being perfectly fine with the duopoly of only Boeing and Airbus for travel and iOS and Android for mobile. Be that as it may, let me not address the trap again but the logic why this is wrong.

Nature provides biodiversity. What we essentially see in GM crops are close to monoculture. The single minded approach to GM crops as espoused by the pro-GM side is productivity. More, for less. More, for less land. More, for less water. More, for less pesticide. More for less, insecticide. More, for less fertilizer. Even our love of our own mother has some negatives but nowhere will you find any negatives that the pro-GM lobby presents with us. This is logical.

Let me present you another evidentiary proof. Between, 1845 and 1852, more than 10 lakh people died of famine in Ireland, also known as Great Famine of Ireland or Potato Famine. The root cause of this is a blight had wiped out the entire crop in Ireland.  What is also said and repeated many times, which we tend to forget is that the entire population was dependent on just one or two varieties of potato.

Now, you can see that why one loss of MH370 is not as same as a crop failure.

Now, you can see why the risk is unquantifiable and the losses in this case is near infinity or what we call as ruin.

With our single minded aim to improve productivity, we are laying the foundation for the unknown. Again, this is not fear mongering to be ignored, this is rooted in risk theories and in history.

Recent studies have also shown that GM crops may not be as insect resistance as we might have thought.(4)(5) This states that there is an evolutionary resistance to the GM crop. Again, we do not understand the nature as much as we think we do. And as stated above, nature is complex.

Mankind has always tampered with crops:

This is another half-truth that is being peddled by the lobby. For example, we are shown a black rose which is not available in nature but has been modified by the influence of mankind.

In 1865, Gregor Mendel, gave a speech on his experiments on peapods. The translated title of that speech stands “Experiments in Plant Hybridisation.”(6) This is essentially wrong comparison, again. Methodologies, processes and techniques were human but the ‘law of selection’ was left to nature. But, in present GM crops, we tend to select on behalf of nature. And herein lies the greatest issue we have.

Mankind have played with crops and animals. All the dogs that we see are examples. The interracial kids that we see are examples. We, you and I are examples of this selection. But nowhere but in GM crops have we altered at this micro level, the DNA.

The march of technology is inevitable. The advancement of science is unstoppable. But what can be and must be done is to make these crops into more and more trials till we are near certain that there won’t be any systemic impact of ruin.

The Precautionary Principle also states that the burden of proof does lies with the entity which brings into the system the GM crops.

To borrow Sun Tzu, “it’s a matter of life and death. A road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry, which can on no account be neglected.”

  1. http://www.wilpf.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Streatfeild-Lucy-Deane.pdf
  2. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/gm-mustard-us-them-the-farmers-4683373/
  3. http://www.gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/17657-crispr-induced-mutations-what-do-they-mean-for-food-safety
  4. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-gillam/new-research-shows-failin_b_14003604.html
  5. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0169115
  6. https://archive.org/details/mendelsprinciple00bate – Page 317.
  7. http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/pp2
  8. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001395/139578e.pdf

This post was originally published here.

Here are a list of ideas I can think of to make India more self-reliant even in today's world of mega imports and consumer mentality. India may not have a lot of money (at least among the masses) or enough jobs for all to earn, but one huge resource India has that we don't use is manpower. With a population of 1.2 billion people, we have a lot of people who can invest effort to make their own lives better.

Decentralize power

This one is the biggest. Lack of electricity is a multi-faceted problem. It isn't that India isn't adding capacity, it is also that use of electricity is increasing recklessly. I think offering an amount of electricity completely for free per month combined with enabling people to produce their own electricity which they can use for free will help improve availability of electricity for all. I am basically talking of turning the National grid from the main source of power to a back up source of power for as many people in the country as possible, while the main source becomes electricity they produce and use for near free using whatever means are suitable for their home.

Some ideas:

  • Rooftop water heating. This water can be used not only for bathing, but speeding up cooking. Rooftop water heaters can be made at home for very cheap and purcased ones are also available.
  • Solar cooking - for people with rooftops, gardens or sunlit balconies, solar cooking can offer healthier food along with fuel savings if fuel is only used when solar cooking is not possible.
  • Alternative power production. Many homes can produce power from solar panels, small windmills, local streams, sea power, biogas or other means, drawing power from providers only if/when they fall short.. If the main source of power can be shifted to self-produced renewables, you will not only reduce dependence on National grid, many people will be able to completely eliminate one expense from their life - not a minor achievement for a country with many people fighting for affordable living. Obviously not all will be able to do it, but it is a big enough incentive for homes to start being designed to be energy efficient and energy producing. Not to mention those who cannot will have better electricity available if those who can adopt these methods (and profit from savings too - not "sacrifice in larger interest" type exploitation)
  • Outdoor installations using electricity - like hoardings, street lights, traffic signals and so on, can easily be producing their own electricity.
  • Innovative cooperative power production should be encouraged - for example, villagers contributing manure to a biogas plant to fuel biogas vehicles and sharing profits according to their contributions (and getting the discards as fertilizer).

This is a general idea. Obviously far more specific ideas are possible, like societies using solar power to light all common areas or NGOs that help more and more people be self-reliant on electricity, or people selling surplus electricity to the state (or "banking" it for use when they fall short).

Fuel self-reliance

AAP should study the Cuban Special Period for the drastic reforms they brought about that ended up creating a healthier country that worked on 10% of the fuel it used to use.

"The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil" is a must watch film.

But more can be done. For example, stress on making roads bicycle safe and requiring parking lots to have bicycle stands (so you can lock your bicycle to it, and it can't simply be carried away and stolen) will automatically increase the people who can use bicycles for transportation without any fuel costs and minimal maintenance costs (in the whole of last year, I have spent Rs.330 on my bicycle - more than half of it on a seat I didn't "need", but liked).

Food self-reliance

Shifting to organic farming is among their biggest revolutionary moves that not just reduced costs related with fertilizers and pollution, Cuba saw drops in heart attacks and diabetes and such statistics as well. From Wikipedia:

Manuel Franco describes the Special Period as "the first, and probably the only, natural experiment, born of unfortunate circumstances, where large effects on diabetes, cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality have been related to sustained population-wide weight loss as a result of increased physical activity and reduced caloric intake".

A paper in the American Journal of Epidemiology, says that "during 1997-2002, there were declines in deaths attributed to diabetes (51%), coronary heart disease (35%), stroke (20%), and all causes (18%).

Home food growing, urban gardening, encouraging use of all available land to produce food, reclaiming damaged soil with natural manures, advice for home farmers, local farmer markets and more are among many things Cuba did out of necessity and now embrace as normal life. 80% of food in Cuba is organically grown.

Encouraging local economies, investing and purchasing locally will bring resilience to rural economies, as well as keep money in the area instead of draining it into cities. Communities should be encouraged to produce what they need to buy from a distance.

Decentralization of education

Diversity in education needs to be developed to address practical use. Apprenticeships, vocational education needs to be developed for specializations for practical jobs that are in demand - think "night school certificate in business management, law and strategies for running a street stall". Advanced education should be subsidized only on the condition of mandatory service in government projects/initiatives/organizations - and I'm not talking of token years, I'm talking of govt institutions being used to fulfill urgent national needs.  Ten years minimum, till a point where country stops needing advanced professionals this badly, and years can be reduced. It does not make sense to provide cheap education for those who will go on to earn many times the unsubsidized amount privately, while the country continues to suffer for lack services it is subsidizing heavily, but still not utilizing. It will also encourage private organizations to develop quality education in critical areas like medicine if they can be assured of students who do not wish to do mandatory service and are willing to pay well for a career that in turn will pay them well. Right now, a private college cannot compete with drastically and artificially reduced government college fees - particularly in areas like medicine. So you simply don't have very many of them.

Healthcare

New qualification for a kind of doctor should be created who are trained to deal with the bulk of usual needs - cough, cold, fever, small wounds, etc and refer to larger hospitals for anything beyond that. Such "doctors" should be available in every village and training courses should be short duration. Priority must be given for applicants from an area without access to medical care rather than marks and such.

Midwives should be trained professionally at government expense and midwivery should be encouraged in areas where hospitals with maternity wards are not available - considerable research shows that hospitals can be a source of INFECTIONS for newborns. Natural birthing techniques have also proved to be considerably more stress free and birthing facilities should be encouraged to research and provide more caring environments. Ideally, maternity hospitals/wards should be increased.

Government healthcare should offer ALL procedures commonly used in diagnosis and treatment. For example, try asking for a government MRI scan facility in Mumbai - a fairly common procedure. And this is Mumbai we are talking about. Not some village in the back of beyond.

Schools

Asking children to take notes from their teacher to their parents should be banned. Teachers should contact parents independently and children must not be forced to carry humiliating words about themselves between adults and be on hand to face any ensuing anger.

Schools should have independent child welfare worker (paid by government) desks freely available to all children to contact and discuss their problems or needs or complain of abuse. These child welfare worker must be routinely reposted between schools to prevent collusion.

Revision of Intellectual Property laws

Any government funded research - however minimally - must mandatorily be open content and available for citizens to learn from and use.

Recovering research and investment from research must be encouraged to seek alternative means other than "passive income" that restricts use, prevents challenges to cost effectiveness or peer review for effectiveness or peer improvements. It is difficult to believe that a company that makes a drug and knows it inside out cannot produce it cheaper than a "copycat" who must reverse engineer and learn it before producing. Or that it has no means of earning from it other than making everyone who wants to use it PAY. Clearly this is an exploitative model aimed at making the government uphold private property. Knowledge doesn't end with production. Exceptional cases should have to apply for an exception to be made in a court of law - that establishes how it is in the country's interest to protect that monopoly.

Also, the current propaganda would have you believe that generics go to the neighborhood zerox machine instead of having proper labs, which is bull shit. They still have to make their product - which may be a copy - test it, produce it, quality control it, and so on.

Music, for example. A day spent on making a sound track can pay you for years. But if I have purchased a copy, is that copy mine, or not? I didn't purchase the sound track, I purchased copy, but I should be able to do what I want with MY COPY. Why cannot I use it as I wish including making copies of the copy or sharing? The idea of "stealing" is nonsense. I am copying what I purchased, not what is sitting in the composer's home. We have created these "passive income" ideas, that result in those with the means to own such ideas to earn infinitely from them. The corollary is that if you cannot own such property, you will forever be at a disadvantage. Inequality will keep you there. The chap making chairs will forever be poorer because he can sell that chair only once. Thus perpetually keeping those who create tangible products poorer than those who can create easily duplicated ones, but charge for each duplication (which requires no effort/investment on their part)

For a farmer to create a pump that uses three of the best innovations will not be possible. Not because he can't, but because he can't afford the "permission". Why shouldn't he have access to all twenty designs, use, mix, make them all, test, choose the best, and make a hundred of it for all farmers of his area and profit? If they are really good and competitive, he will make one for himself, but won't be able to produce to sell at a cost lower than the available invention. Anyone say free market?

Strangely, those arguing for free markets are the biggest advocates of government protected monopolies - only in areas other than the current ones.

Investment risks are a fact of all business, not only innovation. Investing all your money into a shop won't give you the right to prevent someone from copying your design and USP if it becomes popular (check out the proliferation of coffee bars and number of "outlets" selling vada paav variants). Is the loss of monopoly by the shop any less a risk? Or are the investments of some more valuable than others?

An innovator unwilling to take the risk will not take it, someone else will. Just like everyone else. Human innovation is hardly going to stop because you can't turn it into a passive cash cow.

Opening knowledge and its free use to all citizens will go a long long way toward allowing access to new knowledge for all in a country where some people have incomes larger than many countries and the vast majority have to do creative maths from month to month just to afford normal living.

Not just exposing and punishing, but FIXING damage from corruption

My favorite example here is the Irrigation scam, but really, every scam. If people are found to be seriously deprived of their rights and particularly if there are serious consequences, apart from exposing scams and punishing the accountable, it should be the government's responsibility to treat the damage from the scam on the scale of a national crisis and make immediate provisions to provide relief. The black paper and white paper business apart, what was done to restore or provide immediate relief for 10 years of missing irrigation and the resulting problems for the farmers? These actions should happen from regular funds for dealing with crisis situations like earthquakes - for example. When the legal process of the scam is complete, including punishments, these costs must be recovered from the assets of the accused. But the relief to those harmed by the scam must be immediate - as soon as the denial of necessity is confirmed.

Food quality control

There needs to be clear information provided for people who may need to complain about quality of food sold - either as product or restaurants or stalls, with clear procedure for investigation and punishment, including banning product or business if problem is serious enough. I suppose the same should handle things like MidDay meals or quality of govt rations related complaints. These facilities should include labs for testing and teams to conduct sting operations.

Reduce taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, introduce quality control and 50% of tax collected must go to associated healthcare

Every budget sees a rise in taxes on "addictions", which rarely are questioned, because no one wants to "defend a wrong" it is also usually peddled as a deterrent to improve health, but in reality is a cash cow for a government perpetually overspending and planning badly. Rising prices of cigarettes and alcohol rarely cause addicts to quit. Instead, those who cannot afford, switch to poorer quality products and ADD risk to their health. Furthermore, the government that apparently cares so much for the health of smokers/drinkers is not visible doing anything in particular to help those they claim to care about while milking money.

There is a need for quality control. Who do people approach when your cigarette has twigs, or smells more like dry leaves burning than tobacco? Who should people approach if some country liquor tastes "off"? This is important. These are huge industries with equally huge potential for corruption and little oversight, because of the "shame" factor. Why do smoking "lounges" have to be humiliating? Are those who use them criminals? Poorly ventilated rooms full of acrid smoke that are worse than smoking and used pretty much like one uses a public urinal. Go in, smoke, come out, back into civilized society. Is this deliberate marginalization of smokers at the cost of their health fair? All because open areas - where no harm from passive smoking has ever been proved - must be kept sanitized for the "real" citizens?

For that matter, there is nothing inherently wrong with country liquor if quality can be ensured. The main fear about it is risks related with dangerous substances being mixed or byproducts of risky ingredients. This should not be so difficult to govern. Yet we have so many deaths related with country liquor.

But most importantly, 50% of taxes collected from cigarettes and alcohol should be spent on research and free healthcare and deaddiction support. Tuberculosis is a menace in India. While it isn't solely caused by cigarettes, why can't the funds from taxing cigarettes fund research and better treatments (or increased reach) for attacking this mega killer that is growing resistant to treatment? Why can't more treatment centers be made for alcoholics with 50% of funds from taxing alcohol? Treatment for liver failure, counselling? Humanitarian aid to abused families in many instances? Why is there no connection between what the country earns from and what it spends on, even where desperate needs are visible?

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And more. This page will keep getting updated. Drop back later to see what's new.

NASA is planning to launch their next mission to Mars on Monday, and I went on a flight of fantasy, hoping that we found all the methane there is on Mars before NASA got there.

What would happen if India found methane on Mars?

Here are five guaranteed things that will happen.

The space tanker mafia

All that gas will have to be brought to earth, and I don't see how our tried and tested tanker mafias can be left out of it.

Bill for reservations in Extra terrestrial gas

The Congress party (if it still exists then) or whoever inherits their practices will table a bill for reservations in Extraterrestrial Gas. BJP or whoever inherits its paranoias and reluctance that anyone except the powerful have any rights will WALK OUT.

The Space ready products market

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (hopefully someone else will be Prime Minister) will revolutionize India's market for products that work in space by making available inexpensive space ready products from China via Walmart.

Ambani will control prices

By virtue of controlling most of the gas fields on Mars as well as ISRO, Ambani will be able to set appropriate gas prices to prevent falling into poverty.

American Invasion

By virtue of controlling large stores of gas, India will finally become eligible for the attention of the world's largest military exporter of democracy. Farmers whose land is acquired for building space shuttle stops will petition to the first world to finally put us out of our misery.

Luckily I controlled my imagination on time. NASA is planning their launch on Monday, but India hasn't captured the methane yet. Watch this space avidly.

Pun intended.

Note: The potential for really rocking this post with images has not escaped me, but I do not have the time. If you send an appropriate illustration, naturally you will get a link to your (family friendly) website in its credits 😉

I had contributed a series of suggestions about party agenda to the Aam Aadmi Party, and several people asked me about them. Instead of forwarding a whole series of emails to everyone who asks, I'm compiling them here. There is some editing for coherence, but all the points are identical and any other party wanting to adopt them is welcome to do so too.

Note: These suggestions are not comprehensive, and generally omit ideas likely to have occurred to a lot of people.

Mosquito control

Mosquito borne illnesses kill hundreds of thousands of people in India and force even more to spend money they sometimes don't have on healthcare and preventative measures like coils and creams as well as increase the country's burden on health. This is not counting the many who suffer from anxiety for health and discomfort. This will result in savings of hundreds of rupees per home for those who spend on their safer health.

Additionally, mosquitoes covering vast distances easily, individuals have no means to protect themselves long term other than continuous deterrent.

 

Aggressive mosquito control can change many lives for the better. AAP could have supporting research on environmentally friendly extermination of mosquitoes as well as immediate and aggressive measures to curb mosquito breeding all over the country on their agenda.

Also consider punishing people (Minor punishment or the real evil - red tape hoops to jump through) who are repeatedly found allowing mosquitoes to breed on their private property.

Aggressive stand on child marriage including action against adults involved

Protection to whistle blowers who alert the state about child marriages and state adoption of vulnerable children if they are deemed to be at risk in their homes. This will improve health of mothers and children as well as have an impact on child mortality, as underage mothers are a large factor in underweight and at risk infants. It will reduce the birth rate (a third of Indian women marry underage and a significant number bear kids too early too - not sure of exact numbers off the top of my head - can be found out). It will also safeguard women from potential domestic abuse from a very young girl being thrown among strangers with authority over her while she can't even legally operate her bank account independently or take many actions in her own interest. Needless to say, politicians and governments who witness child marriages and allow them to happen should face legal action.

Gay+transgender rights

Endorsing the rights of gays and transgenders and possibly rooting for a quota in govt jobs (or alternative strategies or motivations), since social stigmatization and discrimination is a problem with getting employment. Will also be good if you can have a couple of gay/transgender candidates.

Environment and support for environment friendly practices

Crackdown on polluting industries, reviving water bodies, making roads safe for cyclists, possibly removing taxes or offering special subsidies for poor people buying cycles. Bicycles are important. They offer instant mobility that can be maintained for very little cost, promote health and have the potential to empower women in particular. Support for organic farming, encouraging people to recycle their organic waste at home as vermiculture. Steps to reduce plastic waste as well as clean up of plastic trash accumulating in rivers, roads, gutters and so on. Free legal representation/advice/other govt support/resources for environmental activists on issues related with protection of environment.

Laws about plastic should also be revised and made less discriminatory against the small businesses and local shops. For example, when plastic is banned, as it often is (till ban forgotten, it resumes out of necessity) a small grocer has a problem selling loose sugar (for example) because clients don't want to risk taking it home in paper bags that will puncture easily. Branded sugar continues to sell in plastic packing. A fifty paise toffee comes with its own plastic, as do five rupee snacks packets. But a forty rupee investment in sugar has to be risked to fragile paper or purchase branded (more expensive)?

There is also a need to investigate abundant reports of reverse osmosis water selling businesses dumping the brine from the process into the water aquifier (in the name of "recharging the groundwater", which degrades the quality of water for all (and in turn make the purchase of drinking water necessary). This should be investigated and banned.

Endorsement of control of people to their own land

They should have a veto on "development" being imposed on them without needing to risk their safety at hands of brutal crackdowns aiming to crush them.

Local resources sold should be by consent and sharing revenue received towards the development of people impacted.

Fuel independence

Solar lighting is very hep (and promotes imported products), but:

  • Solar cooking and water heating can save a hell of a lot of fuel and can be done with scrap materials.
  • Solar water purifying can be a boon in India (rather than the environmentally damaging, but highly profitable reverse osmosis mafia).
  • Biogas fuels can transform India with such a large rural population with cattle and agriculture.
  • There needs to be a decentralization of power production and movement toward renewable energy, which works out cheaper in long run and sustainable. Also important because our losses in Transmission and Distribution are far more than our deficit. Reducing the distance electricity has to be transported will help save losses and automatically improve availability.

Rural Community Interdependence

Encouragement for poorer sections of society to contribute to and self-govern communal kitchens for cheaper food and saving labour for income generation. Community kitchens can use more heavy duty designs of solar cookers as well as bio-gas from animal/plant waste.

Possible exploration of bio gas to run vehicles and/or other machinery like pumps for water and such. In villages with lots of cow dung, even if some of the transport or agricultural machinery or pumps can be made independent, it will be self-sustainable.

Neo-Swadeshi

Another idea is encouragement for swadeshi and imports/FDI that will contribute to development. While complete swadeshi is near impossible as a lot of "essentials" are simply not made in India, there should be maximum stress on self-reliance and building capacity. For example FDI in computer manufacturing can prevent massive numbers of computer imports rather than crap like FDI in retail. Encourage people to know the source of what they buy and prefer the closest source as far as they can afford. Keeps money in local economy + is friendlier for environment as less fuel is spent on transport and preservation and storage.

Building a future

  • No clearance for new construction without solar panels to take of building lights and rainwater harvesting.
  • Every village in India to have its own rainwater harvesting tank strictly for drinking water for all its residents. Harvested rainwater needs no further treatment to be drinkable. The water from such tanks can NEVER be used for any commercial activity by law - including selling drinking water, factories or agriculture.
  • Water from lakes and ponds cannot be sold without consent of those dependent on it and sharing profits from its sale. Which means a village with a lot of water can allocate a portion of it to coca cola if they want and their share of the money can be used for the local school or whatever - this should be done my local voting/show of hands in Panchayat meeting or whatever.

Supporting the disabled

  • There used to be news for the deaf and dumb in sign language on DD. That should be started again. Daily. At least one weekly news slot for deaf-dumb should also be made mandatory for private news channels.
  • Government buildings should all be disabled accessible.
  • 50p, Rs1, Rs2, Rs5 coins should all *feel* different from each other and have properly raised inscriptions so that people with poor eye sight or blind don't have to examine barely visible numbers. Different shapes will be even better.
  • Govt supported care for special needs children with profound disabilities - or payment to hire help. Particularly for single parents living on their own. Single mothers with children with severe disabilities live near impossible lives with expenses as well as inability to take a job because of child.

On a long term, larger picture view, I think AAP should become India's Pirate Party as well by adopting their key agenda points like patent and copyright reform, free speech, direct democracy and so on.

The patent and copyright reform in particular is important for India because if knowledge is accessible to only a few who can afford it, then you will never be able to end inequality, because those who can't access that knowledge will simply never be able to compete. Also, reduced access to knowledge reduces speed of growth of knowledge available to mankind too, as the fewer people have access to it, the fewer people expanding it. Alternative means of funding and earning can help reduce restrictions on access as means of income.

An added benefit of becoming India's Pirate Party will become access and collaboration with Pirate Parties worldwide, access to policy ideas and research, and a common interest in channeling people's voices very transparently. There is no obligation, only access and sharing of resources and work done among people with similar goals. Pirate Parties are autonomous - Pirate Parties of other countries will have no power over you.

AAP has a lot in common with Pirate Parties. It will not be a big shift. New ideas will be added. Nothing already happening is incompatible, Pirate party agenda will only add some very useful ideas.

I guess I am the first individual to try to recruit a party :p.

PS: Feel free to let loose in the comments with your own ideas on how specific changes can get big results/improvements.