As Kejriwal Govt in Delhi Completes Three Years in Office, AAP and Congress Trade Barbs

At a function to celebrate three years of 'good governance', Kejriwal highlighted the good works undertaken despite having to fight through numerous roadblocks put up by the Centre.

New Delhi: Having completed three years in office, the Aam Aadmi Party government led by Arvind Kejriwal today recounted its achievements, especially in the fields of education and health. The Delhi chief minister pinned the blame for the delay in certain developmental works on the deliberate attempts by the central government to not let it function properly; and claimed that it had provided a corruption-free administration to Delhi, unlike the previous Sheila Dikshit government of the Congress which had also delivered much less in its 15-year rule.

The claims by Kejriwal at a function organised to celebrate three years of “good governance” at the NDMC Convention Hall here brought in a sharp rebuttal from the Congress, as Dikshit and state party president Ajay Maken came together to accused the AAP government of all round failure and merely parroting false data. The Congress also released a booklet, authored by former President Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter and Delhi Mahila Congress head, Sharmistha Mukherjee, detailing the “failures” and unfulfilled promises of the Kejriwal regime.

But a closer look at the claims of both Kejriwal and Maken made for an interesting reading as they showed how truths, half-truths and lies are dished out to the masses.

AAP’s coming to power was a ‘new experiment’

In his address, Kejriwal spoke about how “three years ago, the people of Delhi performed a new experiment with politics whereby they elected their legislators from amongst people who had formed a party barely a year earlier. It was also for the first time in India that a new party had formed a government within one year of its formation”.

Describing his party as one of “sevaks”, he said it is the duty of a government to give its account to the people. Spelling out the major achievements, he said, “Revolutionary changes have come in health and education, about which the world has also been talking. There has been unprecedented investment in expansion of education and health and the reason is we believe in people, we believe in investing in people.”

‘Three-tier health model a success’

Stating that a new three-tier system is being planned in the health sector, with two-room local mohalla clinics, polyclinics and super-speciality hospitals forming the three layers, Kejriwal said 164 mohalla clinics have already been constructed and land had been identified for 786 and soon their construction would begin. “Then in every 1.5 square km area there would be a mohalla clinic. All medicines and tests would be available for free here,” he said.

For slightly more serious ailments, he said, 26 polyclinics have been created and 94 more would be constructed soon. These clinics will have eight different specialists to cater to various ailments. For bigger health issues, more super-speciality hospitals would be set up.

In the last 70 years, he said, a capacity of 10,000 beds had been created in hospitals, but this year alone 3,000 beds are being added and next year another 2,500 will be added. He said the intake in government hospital OPDs has also increased form three crore to four crore during the last three years, indicating an improvement in service quality. Moreover, nearly 90-95% people admitted that they were getting free medicines.

The chief minister said his government has also allowed 133 types of radiological tests in 67 different certified laboratories. And similarly, he said, in case a patient was not given a date of less than one month for an operation in a government hospital then they would be entitled to an operation in 44 different empanelled private hospitals.

Overall, he said, while the Centre spends 2.5% of its budget on health, and Haryana spend 4.5 %, Rajasthan 3.25 %, and U.P. 3.5%, Delhi spends a much higher 12% on the sector.

‘Power is cheapest in Delhi, cuts have become negligible’

Kejriwal also patted his government for not allowing water and power bills to increase and improving their supply. “We have not allowed power bills to go up in the last three years. If you are using 400 units, your bill was Rs 1,340 in 2010; in 2014, it became Rs 2,040; but now in 2017, it is Rs 1,170. For the first time we have seen rates actually coming down in this country,” he said. He also claimed that power tariffs in Delhi were lower than in other states as 400 units would cost Rs 2,665 in Uttar Pradesh, Rs 3,357 in Madhya Pradesh, Rs 2,697 in Rajasthan and Rs 3,160 in Maharashtra.

Delhi, he said, was also getting electricity 24 hours a day now despite the peak load rising to a record 6500 MW last year. “The qualitative improvement has been brought out by installing 582 new transformers. The cuts have gone down from 11.5 crore unit in 2014 to 1.5 crore in 2017.” But, he admitted that there are still problems in some areas where thefts still exist.

‘Piped water in all colonies in two years’

On the issue of water, he said, 20,000 litres of water is being provided free to households. Besides, new pipelines have been laid in 448 colonies and 69 more were being connected. In the next two years, he said, efforts are on to connect all colonies with piped water supply. Similarly, 46 colonies have been connected to the sewer network and in 337 work was in progress and would be completed this year. In Congress rule, he said, only 220 colonies were provided sewer connection in 15 years.

Taking a dig at the Sheila Dikshit government, which is known for making flyovers, Kejriwal said in three years his government constructed 11 flyovers at a pace which matched that of her government since it had constructed 57 over 15 years.

Nearly 15,000 classrooms, equivalent to 350 schools, being added

On the issue of education, he said in three years, 7,030 classrooms have been constructed in government schools and another 8,000 are likely to be constructed in the next year. “The Congress government had only constructed 800 classrooms in 15 years.”

These 15,000 new classrooms, he said, were equivalent to 300-350 new schools. Moreover, he said, 20 new schools have been constructed and another 28 are about to be completed. “In comparison to these 48 schools, the Dikshit government had constructed only 33 in the last 15 years.”

Credit: Delhi government

Besides, he said, 16,000 community toilets which would benefit women and jhuggi dwellers have been constructed. The government has also constructed 90 new night shelters taking the number up to 265. Most importantly, he said, the quality of night shelters has been found to be the best among all states by Justice Kailash Gambir committee which evaluated them. This, he said, we do not work for votes alone, but for people’s welfare. “Those who have less in life, should have more in law,” was the maxim which was driving his government.

2,000 new buses, landscaping along 500 km of roads for fighting pollution

In the field of transport, he said, 2000 new buses would be added this year, of which Delhi Transport Corporation and the cluster bus system would add a thousand each. In order to tackle pollution, apart from adding more buses, he said, the government had also experimented with the odd-even scheme. “That was, however, a temporary measure. For permanent solutions, we have taken to imposing fines ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh on construction sites. This year, we would also undertake landscaping in a big way on the sides of all roads over 100 feet wide to prevent loose dust from spreading. This would cover nearly 500 km of roads. Tree plantation would also be undertaken in a big way.”

Besides, he said, a study is being conducted to identify the exact cause of pollution at different times of the year and to find their solutions. “The chief secretary is working on this and would submit his proposal in a week.”

Free wifi by year-end; certificates, rations to be delivered home

Kejriwal said the vision of his government was that Delhi should be known as a “modern, vibrant, pollution-free and smart city”.

He also mentioned how doorstep delivery of all kinds of services and rations would be provided at home to all people at the time of their convenience. “This year, free wifi would be implemented all over Delhi and funds have been sanctioned for it.”

‘81% reduction in corruption as per CVC’

The chief minister claimed that his government had achieved more than what the Dikshit government did in 15 years. “This only happens when a government is less corrupt. Even the Central Vigilance Commission report in Parliament states that there has been 81% reduction in corruption in Delhi in the last three years.”

He also mentioned how his government had been tormented by the Centre over the last three years. “For one-and-a-half years, the Lieutenant Governor kept the mohalla clinic proposal with him,” Kejriwal said, questioning the principle of governance. He also charged that using “one complaint against a doctor in one mohalla clinic was used to stall setting up of 1,000 clinics”. Similarly, he noted how important bills pertaining to no-detention policy in schools, annual audit of private schools, making guest teachers permanent and time-bound delivery of services approved by his government had been stalled.

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Referring to how a high-level committee under former CVC V.K. Shunglu had examined the files of his government, he said: “All our 440 files were scrutinised and three senior officials who were put on the job could not find anything against us.”

Stating that while no wrong-doing could be unearthed in his government, he took a dig at the Narendra Modi government saying, “we say just give us your files for four days”, and laughed aloud.

‘Teen saal, Dilli behaal’ 

The Congress responded strongly to Kejriwal’s claims and charges, debunking them as half-truths and lies. At a conference, which was also attended by party’s Delhi in-charge Veerappa Moily and former Delhi cabinet minister, Maken and Dikshit answered all the charges one by one. Releasing the booklet, “Teen saal, Dilli behaal”, Maken quipped that “khaasaadmi party had flopped in every field. He said the booklet has also brought out a comparison, with figures and sources, on the works done during the Sheila Dikshit regime.

Maken said the booklet shows how all development works have stalled in Delhi and how the AAP government has not kept its promises. He also charged that Kejriwal had promised to bring the Jan Lokpal Bill in December 2013 but despite resigning in 2014 on the pretext of not being able to get the bill passed, on return to power in 2015, the AAP government forgot about the original Lokpal Bill. “They brought a new diluted Lokpal Bill on returning to power.”

‘98,000 students left government schools, pass percentage has dropped’

On education, he said, 98,000 children have left government schools and gone to private schools. Besides, “the number of students passing out of Class 12 in Delhi government school has dropped from 1.47 lakh in 2013 to 1.08 lakh last year. For the first time, the pass percentage and the number of students in schools has decreased.” Moreover, he charged Rs 1931 crore funds for education have been allowed to lapse this past year.

Accusing the Kejriwal government of not adding new infrastructure, he said while six deemed, 22 colleges, 20 professional colleges, 5 ITI, 12 polyclinics were constructed during 15 years of Congress rule, not a single new school, college or university has been built in the last three. “Only rooms have been added,” he noted.

‘Deaths due to breathing problem, cholera, diarrhoea have risen’

Coming to the health sector, he said a record 9,149 people died in Delhi due to breathing problems in one year, while 1.4 lakh people died due to cholera and diarrhoea. Also, 111 dispensaries were closed down.

Maken said the Congress government had added 14 hospitals with 3,700 beds during its rule but the Kejriwal government has not opened any new hospital but only claims to have added beds. “Merely adding beds does not help unless additional infrastructure like diagnostic facilities and operation theatres are provided.”

‘No new flyovers constructed, only one bus added in Kejriwal rule’

Similarly, Maken said Congress constructed 75 flyovers and 4,308 km of roads during Dikshit rule but not one new flyover has been constructed in the last three years. “If they are counting the bridges over drains as flyover, then we cannot say anything,” he quipped.

Transport has also suffered from neglect, he said. “The number of traveller trips in DTC buses dropped by 54 crore in one year due to poor service, 1,272 buses vanished from DTC fleet, and for the first time Metro projects are running behind schedule by two years.”

He also said in last three years, while just one bus has been added to the DTC fleet, in Sheila Dikshit’s third term 3,125 buses were added to the DTC fleet. Also, during Congress rule 12 bus depots were constructed, but in Kejriwal government eight had closed down. The lack of focus on public transport, he said, was a major reason for rise in pollution.

Also read: The Long, Slow Death of an Opposition Government

On the Centre stalling Kejriwal government’s works, he said “Sheila Dikhsit’s government also worked within the same constitutional framework for 15 years and delivered on its promises repeatedly because of which it was elected for 15 years.”

But coming to the AAP regime, he said, “the sent 15 Bills to the L-G in last three years out of which in 11 they got the permission. The other four included those pertaining to regularisation of guest teachers and Lokpal Bill which they did not deliberately want to pursue. So they did not follow the procedures or else these too would have been passed.”

Dikshit charged that most of the funds of the AAP government were being spent on putting out advertisements. She said while Kejriwal government has been making announcements regularly, its work is not showing anywhere.

Meanwhile, the Delhi BJP launched its ‘Jan Andolan’ against the AAP government’s failures. Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari had earlier this week announced that the protest that would run up to February 22 had been planned because the Kejriwal government had failed on all counts.

Tiwari had charged that the fact that around 69% of the government school students had failed in the pre-board school exams spoke volumes about the standard of education. Likewise, he had noted that most mohalla clinics remain closed due to missing doctors or medicines. He had also declared that the movement would reach out to the people and tell them how development stands stalled in Delhi and the government had come to be known for the corruption of its ministers and legislators.