Between polls and promise
As scheduled, Lok Sabha passed the legislation to regularise illegal colonies in Delhi amid heavy criticism from the opposition that the BJP-led Central government is capitalising on the timing of the introduction of this bill just two months prior to Assembly elections in the national capital. Given that the regularisation of unauthorised settlements in Delhi has for long been a point of contention between the Central government and the AAP-led Delhi government, the aspect to not lose focus on is that living as a whole, inclusive of state-provided services and necessary amenities, in areas that have a disputed status because of governments at loggerheads, is made difficult and is largely compromised, and the price of which is paid by the common citizen. The bill passed in the Lower House of the Parliament in this regard aims to give legal framework for granting ownership rights to residents of unauthorized colonies in Delhi. With this legislation, entitlement of the services of the state will rightfully belong to the residents and will be accessible to them. Although, as is characteristic of common politics, the mileage to apparently be extracted from this welfare move may be motivated by electoral gains, the more long lasting impact will be that of the regularisation of the set settlement of the residents in occupancy for decades. The National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill will put at ease some of the major concerns faced by the residents of (hitherto) unauthorised colonies such as lack of ownership or transfer rights, provision of basic infrastructure and civic amenities. Notwithstanding the timing of the favourable event, it comes as a much-needed first step to enable enduring development and quality living for the common people in the national capital. Apart from the matters of relief directly pertaining to the regularisation of unauthorised colonies, what stands out for greater significance is that the high rate of crime the city is known for will likely reduce with the presence of solid system to address the concerns of the people. The national capital is said to be the face of a nation and making it good in real and quality sense will only reflect well on the nation.