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Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 14:01 UK

If I were prime minister...

India will be holding elections over the course of one month from 16 April.

BBC News asked people from all corners of the world's largest democracy what they would do if they were prime minister.

Gita KunduAli HussainRam BaiPradeep RanaMita KapurChandra Deep YerraVenkateshSwetha RamachandranChandra MishraManjunatha

GITA KUNDU, HOUSEMAID, 43, DELHI

Gita Kundu
First of all, I will get rid of all the politicians and ministers and then I will work to improve the situation in the country.

Our country is in a right solid mess at the moment. The biggest problem is corruption. Everywhere you go, officials ask you for bribes. I will work to weed out corruption.

Poverty is also a major problem here. There are so many poor people who can't even afford to eat! Some people have big families and they need support. School fees are so high, something needs to be done about that too.

And India has been hit by terrorist violence so often. If I were the prime minister of India, I would make sure that they are all caught and tried quickly. And I would hang them in three months.


VENKATESH, FARMER, 30, RAMPUR VILLAGE, KARNATAKA

Venkatesh
If I become the prime minister, my first priority will be to ensure that all the farmers in this country get a fair price for their produce, whether it's rice, wheat, sugarcane or some other crop.

If the government ensures that farmers get paid what's their due, then it will not have to spend any more money on their wellbeing. The farmers will use the money to improve their own lives.

Life in our villages can be tough - the roads are bad, there's no electricity or proper schools and hospitals.

But the villagers are more than willing to take matters in their own hands. So instead of having to depend on government handouts, I would make sure that they get the funds they need which they can administer directly.

Farmers make up more than half of our country, so it's important to focus on their needs instead of only taking care of people who live in the cities.


PRADEEP RANA, ANIMATOR, 22, GURGAON

Pradeep Rana
If I were prime minister , my first act, my greatest priority would be to introduce a rule for all political candidates.

All candidates should be educated to degree level.

In certain backward Indian states candidates are not educated. They do not know how to attract investment to their states, they cannot serve well.

I admit that the railways minister, Laloo Prasad Yadav from Bihar is doing a good job for railways. But an education gives you an additional advantage.

I would want to solve all of our electricity problems. Even where I live we have long power cuts in the day of about six to seven hours.

That is intolerable in the summers. It is a serious issue. That's why we need a nuclear deal and that's where having an education counts.


MITA KAPUR, 43, LITERARY CONSULTANT AND WRITER, JAIPUR

Mita Kapur
As prime minister, I'd probably look at ways of separating religion from politics.

That will solve most of the problems that our country is facing right now whether it is the threat of terrorism or the insecurities that dwell in people's minds.

Today a regular Indian does not have confidence when walking out of his house. He doesn't know if he is going to walk back in. I would like to restore that confidence.

Seventy percent of Indians live under the poverty line. But are we really looking at the villages where this happens? There is so much rich culture, heritage there are lots of economic opportunities as well

There is so much more we can do in terms of preserving, perpetuating and using all that as a means of livelihood.

We have wealth and we are ignoring it.


CHANDRA MISHRA, 26, SOFTWARE ENGINEER, BHUBANESWAR, ORISSA

Chandra Misrha
As prime minister my attention would be focused on education and infrastructure.

Both are key drivers of growth and will be much needed in the future to sustain growth.

For a vast country like India with its huge population, it is imperative that everybody is well educated and well connected. There should be many super highways connecting major cities throughout the country.

Special economic zones would continue to generate employment while education will make them more competitive and marketable.

Corruption is the root of slow growth and I would eliminate it by bringing in more transparency and accountability.

As prime minister I would strive to set an example myself and this will serve as a beacon of hope to everybody in this country.


SWETHA RAMACHANDRAN, 23, HEALTH WORKER, ANDHRA PRADESH

 Swetha Ramachandran
India is a country with a lot of resources and potential. But it does not have a proper leader who can tap the resources and present our case to the rest of the world.

As prime minister I would do what is necessary to get people more educated. Literacy rates are very low. I would set things right and increase literacy rates throughout the country so education is more available to people all over India.

We could make a lot of difference to the world if India could only use the power of its population.

And educating people about health is important. If people can take care of themselves, our problems are reduced.


ALI HUSSAIN, STREET VENDOR, 40, DELHI

Ali Hussain
I am a poor man, I have no job. Today I'm selling tobacco pouches, candies and hot tea from the footpath here but this is not my shop. It belongs to an acquaintance who has gone to his village and asked me to run it till he returns.

I would like to have a shop like this.

If I become the prime minister of India, I will make sure that all the poor people like me can have small permanent shops so that they can earn a living. Poor in this country have no peace, no hope.

I will formulate schemes to help the poor, get the unemployed people jobs which pay well.

For people like me, rising food prices are a big worry. Inflation is killing us. The prices of wheat flour and lentils have hit the roof. The two main political parties - the Congress and the BJP - are useless.

But where is the alternative?


CHANDRA DEEP YERRA, CUSTOMER SERVICE, 26, VISAKHAPATANAM

Chandra Deep Yerra
What would I do if I was the prime minister?

There are a lot of things I could do if I were the prime minister even for a single day. Instead of assigning ministries to my own party members, I would see who had performed well in that position in the previous term and hand it over to that person.

I would start a new division which would continuously monitor my ministers and other members and score them at the end of every week or month. This division would also educate the ministers on where they went wrong and where they could improve.

India is primarily an agricultural country. Since food is a basic commodity, first importance should be given to it.

I would once again bring back the slogan 'Be Indian, Buy Indian' and make India a self-reliant country. I would leave behind the ancient 20th Century India and would turn it into an advanced and modern 21st Century India.


RAM BAI, FRUIT SELLER, 50, DELHI

Ram Bai
I have been selling fruits in Delhi's Connaught Place area for the last 35 years. I have a license but sometime the authorities still come and seize my goods.

Some of the other people like me who used to put up stalls here have been forced to leave. How are the poor supposed to live?

If I were to become the prime minister, I would give shops to all the poor. I will tell the police not to harass them.

I have five children. I earn 100 to 150 rupees a day from sales. If I were to work as a day labourer I would only make 50 to 60 rupees. How will I feed my family then?

The inflation is so high, wheat flour, rice and lentils are so expensive. How can the poor pay for them? The prices must come down. If I were the prime minister, I would work to bring down the food prices.


MANJUNATHA MV, 29, SOFTWARE ENGINEER, BANGALORE

Manjunathan
If I were prime minister I would promote the fast-paced economic development of our country through prudent economic policies.

This is necessary because there are many Indians still living under poverty.

I would have a vision for the country, a vision that stretches as far ahead as 2020 and 2050.

I would also promote e-governance at all levels to introduce transparency so corruption is removed and the government comes closer the people.

I would make education a basic right for every citizen and provide free education to girls in rural areas living under poverty.




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