Respected Speaker and Honourable Members,
I warmly welcome you all to the first session of the Sixth Legislative Assembly of Delhi.
It is with great humility and profound hope that my government accepts the mandate given to it by the people of Delhi. It is a mandate that carries the dreams and aspirations of young and old, poor and rich, women and men, regardless of caste, creed or religion. There is one unifying, resounding message that the people have sent out. They want good governance that emerges out of clean politics and to achieve this they have shown their eagerness to engage with the political process. In an age of cynicism they have put their faith in the political philosophy of participative and consultative democracy that alone can lead us to Purna Swaraj that is, self-rule. My government intends to deepen and strengthen our democracy by involving people in issues that affect them on a daily basis. My government will dismantle the barriers that have come up between the elected and the electors.
My government believes that good governance should reflect the concerns of all sections of society. Equally, development must include the well-being of every citizen – that is, it must be inclusive. The goal of a safe and progressive Delhi that can hold its own amongst the best capital cities of the world cannot be achieved unless each and every citizen feels safe to pursue their livelihood, their way of life and faith. For that has been Delhi’s way. Indeed, that is the essence of the idea of India.
My government shall endeavour to be transparent, participative and interactive. We will make every effort to establish the Janlokpal in Delhi to ensure a time-bound investigation in corruption cases. Whistleblowers shall be provided protection from harassment.
In a major move toward devolution of power to the people, my government shall seek to legislate the Swaraj Act so as to enable the local communities to have a say on issues affecting their daily lives. For this purpose a Citizen Local Area Development (C-LAD) Fund will be provided to local communities.
Further, it is the intention of my government to push for full statehood for Delhi, which has been a long-standing demand of the people of Delhi. The provision of critical public services such as law and order and low-cost housing would happen more smoothly if Delhi were accorded autonomy as a full-fledged state with greater control over these aspects. The Centre’s publicly stated position of promoting cooperative federalism will hopefully help in securing genuine autonomy for Delhi’s governance. Only then can the problems created by a multiplicity of authorities and jurisdictions in Delhi be solved.
The ultimate aim is to ensure that institutions such as the DDA, MCD and Delhi Police are accountable to the elected government of Delhi. This will help bridge the gap between the government and the people by creating greater coordination among civic services with regard to service delivery.
Just as in its earlier tenure, this time too My government will be responsive to the need for lowering the crushing burden of accessing basic public utilities such as power and water. The policies framed will not only benefit those who already have access to these facilities, they will pay special heed to colonies that have been deprived of formal electricity and water connections.
As for the capacity to fund public services, it may be pointed out that Delhi inherently has the potential for raising higher resources due to its robust economy. In fact the Delhi State GDP in recent years has grown impressively at several percentage points above the national average. Delhi has also had a history of budget surpluses. This financial year Delhi has a total budget of around Rs.37,000 crore which, if used optimally, can truly create a new blueprint of development. How effectively and honestly these funds are deployed is the key to meeting our commitment of inclusive and holistic development. It is not a paucity of funds that has kept the citizens bereft of basic public services. The crucial question is this: how effectively are those services being delivered on the ground to the very poor. My government will rigorously do a resource audit whether it is in the area of providing electricity or water or other public services. We are convinced that Delhi has enough resources to transform it into a modern and prosperous capital city where every citizen finds a space for herself or himself.
My government shall be unwavering in its commitment to ensuring that Delhi remains a state where women feel as much at home and at ease as men in pursuing their livelihood and social pursuits – proudly leading from the front. . My government will not let any fund crunch come in the way of putting in place safety and security measures for women. As regards mobility, my government will exert itself to provide effective last mile connectivity in Delhi’s public transit system to ensure that its women are able to travel safely and securely. To ensure speedy justice, my government will create fast-track courts dedicated to handling cases of sexual assault and other crimes against women. It will create a Mahila Suraksha Dal by redeploying members of the Home Guard and Civil Defense Volunteers. Further, my government will facilitate the appointment of new judges to ensure that the judicial system works fast and effectively.
In line with our idea of making Delhi a digital capital city par excellence, we have an effective plan to create Wi-Fi hotspots at various public locations in Delhi. This will also provide an impetus to education, entrepreneurship, business and employment as well as tie in with women’s safety initiatives.
To further this end of a capital city of excellence, my government will focus on strengthening and expanding educational and health infrastructure. It will build new schools with a special focus on secondary and senior secondary schools to ensure that every child in Delhi has easy access to quality education. We will endeavour to streamline the nursery admission process, minimizing avenues of corruption. In the sector of Higher Education my government will make every effort to formulate schemes where every youth can pursue a diploma or degree course regardless of his or her financial status. We will build new colleges under Delhi administration in partnership with the people of Delhi. The existing seat capacity of Delhi government administered colleges will be enhanced, including at Delhi’s flagship university, the Ambedkar University.
My government will increase the budgetary allocation on healthcare infrastructure. My government will build new Primary Health Centers (PHCs) and add new beds to Delhi hospitals, especially in maternity wards. Quality drugs will be provided at an affordable price — pharmaceutical drug and equipment procurement will be centralized to cut out corruption.
Historically, Delhi has been a city of flourishing trade and my government is committed to making it a trade and retail hub once again by creating a friendly tax environment for traders. The government is firm on its commitment to insulate Delhi’s traders from the inspector raj. We will discourage raids on traders and create a bond of trust between them and the government. We want to create a policy framework where every businessman and businesswoman in the country would like to come to Delhi to establish new enterprises.
An important priority of my government concerns Delhi’s villages which over the years have become islands of neglect. My government will take steps to ensure that the people living in these spaces are able to partake the fruits of growth as well. Decisions regarding the development of Delhi’s villages will be taken with their consent. The sectors of agriculture and animal husbandry will receive incentives and infrastructural support. We shall seek to provide sports facilities in villages to encourage young adults to pursue sports. Connectivity to rural Delhi will be enhanced through increased bus and metro services.
In its effort to make Delhi a state that reaches out to its last citizen my government will create opportunities for new jobs in the next five years. The government will create an enabling environment for innovative and private startup accelerators to provide support to entrepreneurs. The focus will be on creating an ecosystem that enables private industry to create more jobs. In line with this idea, my government will encourage startups by setting up business and technology incubators in universities and colleges. Delhi government will also create affordable business incubation space.
In the past, earlier governments made announcements regularizing unauthorised colonies. Moving forward from these announcements, my government will take a more realistic and effective approach to regularise unauthorised colonies in Delhi, transforming resettlement colonies and slums, bringing them within the ambit of Delhi as a truly global and modern capital city.
Honourable Speaker and Members, I have presented a brief sketch of my government’s intent and action plan to return Delhi to the people over the next five years. I wish you all success in this fruitful endeavour.