20 Point Programme

These oppressive measures under the Emergency were accompanied by Indira Gandhi's announcement of a `twenty-point programme' - claiming to improve the lot of the poor. Under this programme, she promised to implement land reforms, abolish the practice of bonded labour (under which rural landlord-moneylenders tied poor and landless labourers to eternal bondage if they failed to pay off their debts), fix minimum wages for agricultural labourers, supply clothes to the poor and increase job opportunities for educated young people, among other things. In her speeches, she asserted that it was to be able to implement this pro-poor programme that she had to impose the Emergency, so that the rich who opposed it could be suppressed.

The Increased discipline

Basking in a bright October sun that followed a prolonged but beneficent monsoon, hundreds of thousands of Indians gathered last week to celebrate Dussehra, the ancient Hindu festival that symbolizes the victory of good over evil. As always, the climax of the ritual was the burning of effigies of the demon-king Ravana and his kinsmen Meghnad and Kumbhakarna. But 1975'sceremonies were a bit different than usual. The fireworks display at Delhi's parade ground saluted Prime Minister Gandhi's 20-point social and economic program, which was inaugurated after the emergency was declared last June 26. At Dussehra ceremonies elsewhere in the country, effigies of black marketeers, hoarders and smugglers were burned along with Ravana and his ilk.

These days India is engrossed in a frenzied campaign to encourage discipline, punctuality, and cleanliness, courtesy. On a street corner in New Delhi: ECONOMIC OFFENSES BRING STERN PUNISHMENT. Another, quoting Mohandas Gandhi:A BORN DEMOCRAT IS A BORN DISCIPLINARIAN.

The campaign for discipline was having some impact on the country. In Bombay, for instance, streets were no longer littered with debris, telephone repairs were made promptly, and state ministers arrived at their offices at the hitherto unheard-of hour of 9:30 in the morning. Police claimed crime is down 10%, largely because they no longer had to spend so much of their energies controlling political demonstrations. One veteran foreign observer of Indian affairs believed Mrs. Gandhi "administered to the country a massive punch in the jaw, which it probably needed."