Shri Arun Jaitley gives us a textbook example of why Swaraj should be adopted and why the Center should not budget for expenditure for the state, the districts, the blocks and the Mohalla Sabhas. He lacks the bandwidth, in-depth knowledge and intent to make Delhi free of its troubles. The Delhi Budget was yet again a business as usual budget, which goes back on many of the promises made by the BJP and could even be called a Sheila Dikshit budget.
The Delhi Budget presented by union finance minister Arun Jaitley in the Lok Sabha on Friday is a complete betrayal with the residents of the national capital, who have been cheated by the BJP-led government once again. There is not one line about tackling price rise, stopping the water tank mafias or anything that affects the common man. The BJP had, during the assembly elections and the Lok Sabha elections, both, promised 30% reduction in electricity tariffs, but despite having got a proper opportunity to do so, it finally failed to deliver on its promise, proving that the promise was merely to hoodwink the people. They added insult to injury after tariffs were further raised by 8.32% to add to the removal of the original relief provided by the AAP Government.
It is none other than Finance minister Arun Jaitley himself, who had mocked and derided the AAP government for providing electricity and water subsidy in a public statement and blog post on January 1 this year.
However, while presenting the Delhi budget on Friday, Mr Jaitley has done exactly the opposite of what he used to say earlier, but what is shocking is that the subsidy announced by him is exactly what the Sheila Dikshit government used to give. Minister Arun Jaitley announced subsidy of Rs 0.80 to Rs 1.20 per unit to small power consumers. Something that he himself opposed vehemently. This is the same subsidy that the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government used to give to the people of Delhi. We knew that both of them were brothers and sister in corruption, but didn’t know that they were deviant classmates who copied each others’ budgets and policies.
Jaitley saab, please let us know when you will write a blog post defending this subsidy that you have given. We eagerly wait to read it.
We are not opposed to this subsidy, but we do unconditionally criticize your double standards. This temporary subsidy is not enough. We demand a 50% subsidy as given during the tenure of the AAP government. We had given a written statement for an allocation of 699 crores to be incorporated in this f/y as a power subsidy while the discoms are audited to give relief to consumers. But this has not been followed through on or implemented. There is enough evidence on record to suggest that the discoms have siphoned off huge amounts by fudging their account books. On the basis of the evidence available in public domain, the AAP government had ordered a CAG audit of all the three discoms of Delhi to unearth the scam. The CAG has been complaining that the discoms have not been cooperating with the auditors and have so far refused to make their account books available to them. Instead of forcing the distribution companies to comply with auditing norms, the government has come to their rescue by announcing this undue hike in electricity tariff.
Waah, Jaitley saab, Waah!
What happened to the claims by Delhi BJP leaders that a provision of Rs 700 crore would be made in the budget to bring down the electricity tariffs in Delhi ? Did their own central government not listen to them or were they trying to mislead the people ?
Well, moving on to your other faults, for which it seems we will have to convene night sessions of the Lok Sabha as well:
The current average demand for potable water in Delhi is around 1,100 mgd (million gallons per day) and the Delhi Jal Board supplies around 800 mgd water across the city after treating raw water in its treatment plants. The demand is projected to touch around 1,400 mgd by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan in 2017.
However, nothing was done to increase the quality or quantity of water in New Delhi. He mentioned the Renuka Dam again like a manifesto promise. Jaitley saab, election time is over. It’s time to actually do work. You can’t keep doing pilot studies. The BJP government at the center forgets, actually does not know that the Dwarka water treatment plant has been non-functional for many years and that the Okhla plant working much below capacity due to lack of water. There is no mention in the budget of how water starved areas in Delhi will get adequate supply of water and how the tanker mafia would be eradicated to ensure all residents will have access to clean water. The AAP government gave 20K liters of lifeline water for free, seized control of 35 tubewells operated illegally for high profit, and revived water harvesting systems. We may be new in governance, but are seemingly much better at it than you.
Before making the announcement about renovating and modernizing water treatment plants to merely show an increased number of such plants, the BJP government should have given adequate attention to the existing plants, which are non-functional due to water scarcity.
Mr. Jaitley says that he wishes to impose no taxes but the lawyer in him possibly slightly out-of-order and overburdened by his work in Defence and Finance, has forgotten that he is constitutional precedent states that he can’t raise new taxes on the citizens of Delhi. This only needs a cursory interpretation of Article 356 and 265, that says that no tax shall be levied without the authority of law, which in this case is vested in the state. Thus he claims victory in the media over something that he could not do.
And many of the “great” solutions proposed are just restatements of initiatives made by the AAP government in Delhi. The 100 new ambulances or online booking of beds in hospitals or opening up of forensic laboratories were all initiatives of the AAP government, which the minister conveniently copies without any mention of its origins.
Your government can be characterized by the phrases “Naam bade, darshan chhote” and “Abki baar jhooti sarkar.” At every stage in the evolution of your political party, you have lied to the masses. These Lok Sabha elections and Delhi Assembly elections were no different. Your manifestos were full of impossible claims and false pledges, which are being seen in effect everyday.
You promised to reduce the power tariff by 30 percent but have bowed to the regulators and discoms, and increased the tariff by 8.32%.
You have not made any progress on controlling price rise or made any allocations towards it. Where is your price force to check hoarders? Where are your online Mandis? Modi jee, it is time to deliver on your high-flying technology promises? Agar aise hi advanced technology aur transparency ke sapne dikhaakar usey chakna chur karte rahe, to janta maaf nahi karegi!
The BJP government also promised to bring police, DDA and other land-owning agencies under one roof to streamline governance. There have not made any outlays for this purpose. The BJP also promised to grant full statehood, but as their response to Shri Vijay Goel’s question in the Rajya Sabha suggests: they have no plan in mind to give the country’s capital, the independence that it deserves. The BJP which promised full statehood to Delhi hasn’t even started thinking about when and how to pursue this goal.
Sunn rahe hain, Dr. Harshavardhan?
Where is your academy to train prospective IAS/IPS/IFS officers? Where is your scholarship for meritorious students? Where is the CWG sport scholarships? Where is your online university? Where are your allocations for these programs, Jaitley saab? You had promised a program called Khel Mein Jeet Hain to sponsor and facilitate upcoming sports talent and use the Commonwealth Games infrastructure. However, all this is still missing. Iss budget mein Khel ki Jeet nahi, Dilli ki haar hai.
You had promised 50,000 new jobs by making Delhi the new green capital of the world? Where are the jobs? The unemployed restless masses of Delhi ask you this question. And for all your pretense for being pro-business, you have done thing to promote honest industry. Only the corrupt will thrive under you. The AAP government in 49 days had announced a simplification of the VAT process, raised the ceiling limit from Rs. 50 lakh to Rs. 1 crore, removed the 6% commission levied on farmers for selling produce at government mandis and removed FDI in retail till real benefits are known. We improvised by creating night shelters in abandoned buses, started the process of regulating colonies, provided lifeline water, and recognized and started regularizing over 1 lakh contract workers. The Aam Aadmi Party will further ensure minimum wages and regulate their working hours, weekly holidays and working conditions. Provision of social security shall be initiated along the lines of the Construction Workers’ Welfare Board. That is real pro-business governance, Modijee. That is real pro-people governance, Modijee.
Modijee, you are portrayed as having the face of a lion but have the heart and mind of a rabbit in front of the corrupt owners of society. The corrupt, greedy and malevolent elements of Delhi are happy with your government coming to power. The AAP government despite being new in politics struck fear into the hearts of those who targeted the weak. An FIR was filed on the CWG street-light scam in which Shunglu committee indicted Shiela Dixit. An FIR and investigation was started into 3 Delhi Jal Board targeting scams to the tune of 341 crores. There was a probe in the 184 crore Salimgarh bypass project on the basis of the Shunglu committee report. We delivered on our zero tolerance on corruption promise. Do let us know when you start doing so. We eagerly await it.
You pretend to help senior citizens but have done nothing to fulfill your promise of raising their pensions, giving RWAs funds to provide local programs, establish fast-track courts for citizens or even remove regular problems in their access of healthcare or banking. Under the social welfare schemes, Dr. Harshavardhan said his government would increase the pension of elderly, physically challenged, widows and destitute women. It remains the same. You have forgotten the people who built this country.
In healthcare, you made huge promises of mobile healthcare, extremely cheap health insurance, doubling the OPD treatment facilities, free transportation for patients, home visits for senior citizens, but yet again, as it has been the trend of your government, these are all empty promises. Even the presence of ex-Delhi CM candidate, and current MP from Delhi Dr. Harshavardhan who is also our health minister has not given you the impetus to do any work.
Dr. Harshavardhan, achcha hota agar aap isey Das Bahaaney keh dete na ki Das Iraade.
A Delhi Women’s Protection Force was promised with the promise of recruitment of 25,000 officers to protect women. However, no allocations have been made and your budget simply restates whatever plans there already were. Where are the special courts to tackle and fast-track cases against women? Are you not serious towards the security of women, Mr. Jaitley?
When the AAP government was in place, we conducted an infrastructure audit of 1000 government schools, gave Rs. 1 lakh per school for immediate needs, set up a help line for nursery admission and removal of management quota. We promised to open 500 schools but were cut short by your government’s tieup with the Congress. In this budget, you promise allocations for only 20 schools. Delhi ke bachche kahaan padenge, Jaitley jee?
You have said that you’d like to work to integrate the public transport infrastructure, make it safer for ladies and integrate payment systems, whilst simultaneously building new lanes and doubling the buses on road. I feel like that you’ve forgotten everything in your manifesto. The manifesto also stated the party would implement long-awaited mono rail, which would be complimentary with Delhi Metro, to ensure all areas of the capital are covered by it. I’ve traveled in Delhi: I can’t see the monorail. I’ve looked at your documents. I can’t see a monorail. Sirjee, jhooth bolna kab band karenge?
Achche din transport ke nahi, aapke hi aaye hain!
Dr. Harshavardhan came up with Das Din, Das Iraade. All of them are now broken. We can only ask him “Kya hua tera vaada, woh kasam,woh iraada?”
Aur rahi baat Jaitley saab aur Modi jee ki. You celebrate the anniversary of Bal Gangadhar Tilak but refuse to understand and implement the concept of real Swaraj. That will only come when you relinquish your power and give it to the people. And while your budget hasn’t delivered on your promises or delivered Swaraj to the masses, we promise that we will overhaul this business-as-usual UPA-III budget when we come to electoral power in Delhi.
Disclaimer: This was originally prepared as a note on the Delhi Budget. It was then infused with political rhetoric for delivery as a speech in Parliament. These do not represent the official views of the Aam Aadmi Party.