When AAP formed the government in 2013, Delhi’s budget was close to 29,000 crore. After five years of AAP governance, the budget has increased to 60,000 (2019-20) crores and Delhi has become the first state to double its budget within 5 years in India. This feat has been achieved despite spending a considerable amount on people welfare and providing regular facilities for free such as 20,000 litre/month free water, cheapest electricity up to 400 units/month, cheapest education in world class government schools, free healthcare in mohalla clinics, free surgeries in government and private hospitals etc. Three tier medical system created in Delhi is one of the cheapest and the best in country. Parents are beginning to gain faith in public education and transferring their kids to govt schools from private schools.
Since AAP came to power, Delhi government is looking after electricity, water, education, health, roads, and other government services such as issuance of certificates. There is a huge population living in slums and unauthorized areas in a very pathetic situation. Because of their unauthorized status, they can not avail many government facilities. Over the years, AAP has ensured that slum-dwellers get proper services for a dignified life. In the last 4-5 years, more than 50,000 roads have been constructed. New water pipelines have been laid to make sure that clean water is supplied to the remotest areas of Delhi. Dark spots, that were dangerous for women safety, have also been illuminated by installing street lights. Now, there are home-guards in buses for the security of women. Delhi is going to be the first state in India where 1,40,000 CCTV cameras will be installed across the state.
Battery inverters are very common in India, but in Delhi, inverters are becoming history and generators placed along the pathway are disappearing due to uninterrupted power supply.
Politics: A Bad Word
Politics was never a good word in India until 4-5 years ago when Aam Aadmi Party was formed. It was very difficult to convince the parents of young individuals, without having a political background, who wanted to join politics. Since the last 5-6 years, lots of people who never had plans to enter politics, have started getting into active politics. Even graduates from Harvard and Oxford universities, doctors, engineers, chartered accountants, businessmen, lawyers have joined politics. These people always had an intent to improve the situation in India, but they never believed that it was possible until a bunch of activists began to change the system. AAP happens to be that platform which gave a new hope to young India.
Two years ago, AAP started the revolutionary project of Mohalla Sabha to implement the model of Swaraj. Entire Delhi was divided into 3000 mohallas. Each mohalla constituted of 5000 people. Under this project, AAP wanted to give financial and decision-making powers to mohallas. Delhi government proposed to mohallas to submit their list of requirements. Based on these requirements, Delhi government would allocate the budget which will be spent by the mohalla sabha. Delhi government sent the proposal for approval to LG office. After a period of more than 2 years, project approval is still pending and AAP had to give up on that project. We might see this project become a reality only if AAP gets full power to make decisions. Moving forward, some of the concept of mohalla sabha has already been implemented with Mohalla Clinic Committees, Residential Welfare Associations, committee of toilet management, and School Management Committees (read more). Though AAP couldn’t manage to launch mohalla sabha project the way they wanted, they implemented its concept wherever they had the power to do so. Its impact can already be seen on the ground.
AAP government planned to construct at least 15 mohalla clinics in each Vidhan Sabha constituency totalling 1000 across Delhi. Each clinic requires a land area of around 60 square yards. To build these clinics, AAP government needs land which either belongs to Delhi Development Authority or Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Both the authorities turned down the request to grant land to Delhi government. When the project was launched, Delhi government built 160 mohalla clinics but the file for further allocation of land kept transferring from one department to another for more than 2 years. Delhi government appealed the people to lease their land for mohalla clinics. Many people came out in support, but then AAP was accused of favouring certain individuals which resulted in the government turning down the space rental. Thereafter, AAP government proposed to construct mohalla clinics in school premises, but LG office kept the decision pending for 2 years. After the SC judgement in early Sept 2018, things have changed a little bit. Now AAP government has started the construction of mohalla clinics in schools and the number of functional mohalla clinics is approaching to 300.
When it comes to building new schools in Delhi, it is very challenging to get the required piece of land. So, Delhi government decided to build new classrooms within existing buildings. Delhi government planned to build 20,000 new classrooms in 1,031 government schools. This is equivalent to building almost 700 new schools. Out of these, almost 10,000 classrooms have already been constructed. This implies that in the past 3-4 years, Delhi government has created 300-350 new schools.
Increased Bed Capacity in Government Hospitals
Similarly, in the health sector, AAP government is constructing new hospitals, adding new blocks, and optimising the usage of space in hospitals. All these efforts are increasing the bed capacity. By the time AAP government finishes its 5 year term, we will have almost 3 times the number of beds in government hospitals across Delhi in comparison to when they started.
AAP has also completed many flyovers within the stipulated time period with an allocated budget to ease traffic situating in the state. Odd-Even was one of the initiatives taken by Delhi government that was discussed worldwide and praised by many environmentalists. It was a challenge accepted by both the government and the people, and they made it successful.
Critical Issues for AAP
For AAP, four issues are critical at the moment, 1) funding, 2) false propaganda against AAP, 3) EVM, and 4) deletion of voters from the voting list. There is huge discontent among a majority of people regarding EVMs. Many political parties are also against EVMs due to EVM malfunctioning, EVM serial number mismatch, and mismatch in vote casted against voted. There is a general sense of dissatisfaction and many parties have come together to demand voting using paper ballots. AAP is recommending to verify at least 25% EVMs in a constituency against VVPAT slips.
Deletion of voter list is a very serious issue as around 3 million voters have disappeared from the voter list. According to a sample survey conducted by AAP, it was found that many voters living in the area had their names deleted. Coincidentally or not, most names deleted were strong supporters of AAP. AAP started a drive across Delhi where volunteers went door to door matching the voters living in the area against the voter list. The team is educating voters across Delhi to check their names in the list. For further assistance, the team is also organizing voter camps to help people get their names added to the voter list.
AAP has also been a torchbearer in establishing a mechanism where people can donate to a political party in a transparent manner. AAP team integrated different platforms for online donations in such a way that any Indian citizen living in any part of the World can donate for a political party in India. There are more than 3,00,000 unique donors who have donated to AAP in the past 5 years. Fundraising team is reaching out to people and appealing them to donate for AAP. AAP has made political funding transparent in their own way, but as a country, we don’t have a clear system for political donations and AAP is continuously fighting for it.
One of the big projects initiated in Chandni Chowk is changing the way the area looks. Chandni Chowk is overcrowded which makes it unnavigable. In a new exercise, the entire area is being redeveloped with a modern outlook. Creating space for people to walk, making it car free in a certain time period, giving an attractive look, are some of the initiatives that we will witness in future.