Needless bickering in the Capital
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is a master of playing to the gallery. With his heart not perhaps set in governing the city and his <g data-gr-id="64">laser like</g> focus to remain in the news without doing any credible public service, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader has pushed the government from the brink of one crisis to another to cover-up. The current fracas over an absolute non-issue, wherein his double-standards are being exposed day-after-day, is targeted at creating noise . Especially at a time when the people at large and the BJP cadres, in particular, prepare to celebrate a year of Narendra Modi government’s at the Centre. The timing is perhaps not coincidental.
Since these celebrations would clearly show the 100-day-old Arvind Kejriwal government in a very poor light, the AAP leader is trying to drag everyone from the Raj Niwas to the senior members of the Central government including the Prime Minister and Home Minister Rajnath Singh into the thick of controversy. However, these ill-meaning political machinations by Kejriwal and his acolytes cannot take away the well-deserved credit from Narendra Modi government for having done its utmost for the welfare of the people.
It needs to be recalled that the reform process in the Capital started with the oath ceremony of the Narendra Modi led NDA government. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Budget for the year 2014-15 since Delhi was under Central rule then. The Rs 36,776 crore-Budget for Delhi presented in Parliament by Jaitley raised subsidy of Rs 0.80 to Rs 1.20 per unit for small power consumers. Since the announcement was backed by the budgetary provision, the consumers enjoyed fruits without any hiccup as we are witnessing today. Not only that, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley didn’t propose any new taxes in the budget.
By proposing more night shelters, a multi-specialty hospital in Rohini and 50 dialysis centres in the different parts of NCT, the central government showed sensitivity towards people underlining the thrust areas in Delhi. With such proposals, the Prime Minister Modi and his Finance minister had shown their concern for the common man. Unfortunately, all these projects have got stuck since the elected government in Delhi Secretariat has chosen to lock horns with Centre on non-issues and squander the initiative provided by the Centre.
Considering the paucity of health services, Jaitley had earmarked Rs 2,724 crore in total for the health sector in the budget for Delhi. Showing its concern for increasing cases of sexual assault, one stop centers for crisis management and rehabilitation of victims in each district in government hospitals were also proposed. However, such major issues of women safety have proved to be a non-starter as the Kejriwal government instead of working towards it has humiliated any woman who decided to red flag AAP leaders’ moves.
The biggest relief for people living in unauthorized colonies of Delhi came in last December when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the government’s decision to regularize 895 colonies of the national Capital. The decision was expected to influence the life of more than 60 lakh people. These colonies have not been regularized for a long period because of ineffective decisions of the past governments. Instead to taking the initiative forward, the Kejriwal government has decided to put the matter on the back-burner.
Delhi has more than 1,600 unauthorized colonies, some of them over two decades old, which are thriving, highly dense living spaces. By regularizing 895 colonies, the Centre had given a fresh lease of life to the people living in these colonies. Hope Kejriwal government finds some time from the acts of carrying out lockouts within its own offices to make officers occupying these offices work towards the public good.
The steps taken to modernize and improve the situation in Delhi continued even after the last assembly elections despite the voter deciding to reject our plea for a BJP government. Showing a big heart, the Centre in the last Budget (2015-16) allotted Rs 5,372.88 crore for sprucing up traffic infrastructure, induction of the latest technology and capacity building of the Delhi Police.
Considering the heavy dependence of the citizens on Delhi Metro, the allocation of funds for city’s lifeline saw a 22 <g data-gr-id="57">per cent</g> jump over the last budget. A total of Rs 4,259 crore had been earmarked to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, which is a joint venture of the Central and the state governments. In coming days, people of Delhi are expected to see many more world class policies being announced. Hope the city government comes out of its churlish ways and holds hands of the centre for the prosperity of the people of the national capital. And he can do this best first by presenting a Budget, which he has failed to do so far.
(The writer is general secretary, Delhi BJP and Member, Standing Committee, South MCD. The views expressed here are personal)