Dear Community Member,
The Parsi community is on the threshold of change with adult franchise being allowed for the first time. As a candidate for the Bombay Parsee Punchayet Trusteeship, I would like to outline my background, my thoughts, and my pledges and how, if elected, I propose to bring about a change in the functioning of the BPP.
When I commenced my business in 1991,1 remember running from pillar to post hoping to convince people for funding my venture. It was not an easy journey. The first contracts were not easy to get, but with God’s grace and the help of several fellow Parsi professionals and friends, I weathered the storms and my business grew. From small contracting jobs to one of India’s largest design and build companies, it has indeed been a backbreaking but exhilarating experience. Today we have over 1600 people across nine offices and are developing six townships and mass housing projects across the country.
My association with community service began over five years ago when I restored the Rustom Faramna Agiary at Parsi Colony, Dadar. Thereafter, with the blessings of my parents and the support of my family, my involvement with community service took on a new dimension as I understood the issues affecting the community. This led me to form the PRG – Parsi Resource Group to address some of these burning issues.
As I write this manifesto today, I look back with great joy and pride in what has been collectively achieved by me and my team. I firmly live by the maxim – “bite off more than you can chew, and then chew it”.
In this manifesto, you will find through my understanding of our community’s issues, why I believe change is important. I recognize that there are many people who may possess a deeper understanding of these issues. But as someone who has worked with teams to create successful business stories, I know the power of collaboration and joint thinking. Hence, I am certain the co-trustees and I will be able to effectively come together for the betterment of the BPP and consequently, our community.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am young, and I have a fierce desire and passion to do good things for my community. I have the necessary skills to execute and deliver results on time. I believe that given an opportunity, together we will be able to lead our community into its most glorious phase through active participation and not silent spectatorship.
JIMMY RUSI MISTRY
I. HEALTH AND COMMUNITY WELFARE
- I believe that BPP’s paramount concern should be the all round well-being of the community. I believe we need to ensure a minimum standard of living for everyone in the community. I pledge to:
- Put in place a subsidized Cashless Insurance Mediclaim Policy for the entire community covering all preexisting diseases based on my prior experience at PRG where we have successfully negotiated and implemented such a scheme for Mobeds
- Empower committees at each Bang to ensure quick resolution of key issues and problems, faced by the Baug residents and follow Standard Operating Procedures for repairs and renovations of flats and their approvals, hence taking care of safety of building and convenience of tenants
- Setup creches at convenient locations, thus providing a community support system to assist working parents
2. CARING FOR THE ELDERLY
- I belie ve that as Parsis we should not only pride ourselves on having our elderly live for ninety or hundred years, but also ensure that our senior citizens are not left to fend for themselves without adequate resources. Several such cases are for all of us to hear and see. I believe we need to take care of our elderly. I pledge to:
- Work towards setting up professionally managed homes for the aged
- Improving the conditions of our widow chawls and social standing of our widows
- Raising funds for our elderly through sponsorships for medicine
- Create a database of elderly Parsis to ensure their safety and security via the empowered Baug committees
- I believe our future lies in the hands of our youth that have potential but need to be nurtured and developed so that succeeding generations of Parsis will be brighter, stronger and faster. I believe that BPP should be a platform for providing education and employment opportunities for the youth. I pledge to:
- Work towards setting up of a professionally-run Career Guidance, Jobs and Placement Cell
- Explore holding a referendum for minority status, which enables secured seats and placements in schools, colleges and jobs
- Setting up of an Educational Loan, Guidance & Assistance Committee
- m Work towards the setting up of Vocational Training Centres so that our youth develop skills that will enable them to ignite the entrepreneurial skills, that is so typical of our community
4. GOVERNANCE AND TRANSPARENCY
- I believe it is crucial to have regular interaction between the apex governing body and the community to motivate every member to become involved in community affairs. I believe it is necessary to restore the credibility of BPP. I pledge to:
- Organize open house meetings every six months. The meetings “will cover:
- Information about flats-available, deployed, and criteria for allocation
- Amount available for education and other objects of the trust along with sources and deployment of BPPfunds
- Have a fully functional Bombay Parsee Punchayet Website that is current and with complete update of information
- Send yearly account Report of BPP to every member
- I believe that Parsi properties should remain within the community. I believe that instead of keeping developers out of the BPP, on the contrary BPP needs more people with professional expertise and experience in housing and development. Hence, my experience in town planning, mass housing, redevelopment projects, municipal development control norms can be put to good use by the community to ensure access to housing, which should be available to the poor and needy in the community. I pledge to:
- Fight for the continuance of Covenant Status to zealously protect the property left behind by our forefathers
- Ensure that land belonging to Parsis stays with us – no sale or lease to be permitted; however, the same property may be used for any community purpose like old age homes, creches, vocational training centre, or community service centre
- Ensure transparency in allotment oihouskig&z other premises of the BPP
- Work towards a change of rating system by doing a referendum on the criteria for allotment of flats, thus having a democratic decision on the allotment process and making the process publicly known
- Work towards ensuring that no legal heir after the demise of the authorized tenant is forced to sign leave and license agreements and that they be recognized as legal tenants under law
- Collect a database of locked flats and multiple tenancies and address the issue firmly
- Reduce the number of litigations by forming a committee of people who understand housing issues to examine the various litigations in court and as far as possible to come to an amicable out-of-court settlement for the same
6. CARING FOR MOBEDS AND AGIARIES
- I believe that religion is the binding force for any community and we must come together to preserve our agiaries and promote the welfare of our priests. All programmes that have been undertaken by PRG for the Mobeds will continue to operate as before. BPP will not have any role to play in the same, I pledge to:
- Continue all existing PRG Mobed Schemes under PRG that cover the entire all-India Mobed community, which includes Cashless Mediclaim, Free Children’s Education and Pension. All these schemes shall continue to be personally funded by me. No donations shall be accepted in PRG for Mobeds schemes
- Housing for the Mobeds
7. IGNITING PASSION FOR THE COMMUNITY
- I believe that we need to bring the community together and make sure that community members participate in community activities. I believe that only when we are proud of our community can we work towards its progress. Ipledge to:
- Strive to involve every youth in every family to participate in the advancement of Parsi community
- Involve the community in activities like the Peace & Friendship Drive, Humbandagi’s which predominantly focus on bringing the community together and thus igniting a passion for our religion
- Put in place Events and Activities to bring the community closer and instill a sense of “Parsipanu”