2018 will be remembered as a "landmark year" in the history of Delhi as the elected government got powers to take decisions on administrative and policy issues following the July 4 Supreme Court verdict, says Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
2018 will be remembered as a “landmark year” in the history of Delhi as the elected government got powers to take decisions on administrative and policy issues following the July 4 Supreme Court verdict, says Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. He told PTI that although in 1993, Delhi got a legislative assembly, 2018 saw “another milestone” in terms of governance and democracy.
Also, 2018 saw less of rabble-rousing between the AAP government and the Lt Governor’s office as compared to the past after the July 4 Supreme Court order. The apex court had ruled that the lieutenant governor of Delhi is bound by the “aid and advice” of the Delhi government. Earlier, both the AAP government and the LG had been on loggerhead over administrative issues. “In 1993, Delhi got the power to elect government, but Delhi’s democratically-elected government got full power to work in 2018 after the SC verdict.
“It was a major breakthrough to strengthen democracy… 2018 will be remembered as a ‘landmark year’ in the history of Delhi,” Sisodia said. 2018 also saw passing of several ambitious projects of the AAP government, including doorstep delivery of ration, installation of CCTVs across the city among others. However, the deputy chief minister rued that as services do not come under the Delhi government, the AAP dispensation cannot create new posts. A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court reserved its order on services and other issues and an order in this regard can come anytime.
“As the Delhi government does not have power of services, we cannot create new posts. We can open news schools, but when it comes to hiring teachers, it will be done by the LG. We can open new hospitals, but hiring of doctors will be executed by the lieutenant governor,” he said. Sisodia hoped that in 2019, services will come under the Delhi government. In 2019, the Aam Aadmi Party government plans to conclude its ongoing or pending projects such as free Wi-Fi, setting up of 1,000 mohalla clinics and doorstep delivery of ration among others. Giving details about the government’s upcoming projects, Sisodia said that the AAP dispensation will start entrepreneurship curriculum for students of class 9 to 12 for 2019, a move aimed at giving an opportunity to youths to become job providers instead of job seekers.
Also, the government will open teacher-training university and sports university in 2019, he said, adding that the process of executing these projects is in the final stage. According to Sisodia, the proposed teachers’ university is aimed at giving quality training to teachers. Sports university will offer various curriculum to youths, intended to encourage youths towards sports. Another project which will be executed in 2019 is free Wi-Fi. The government is considering two-three modules to provide free-Wi-Fi, a pre-poll promise of the Aam Aadmi Party.
“We are currently considering two-three modules. The Delhi government is on it. Technologies with regard to Wi-Fi are getting changed day-by-day. I can say that in 2019, Delhi will get free Wi-Fi,” Sisodia said. Talking about AAP government’s doorstep delivery of services, Sisodia said that as of now, 40 services, including driving licence, certificates of birth, death, income and marriage, are being provided to Delhiites at their doorstep. “We will start providing a total of 100 government services by the end of current financial year,” he said. Looking back at 2018, the tussle between the AAP government and former chief secretary Anshu Prakash was a major issue. In February, Prakash had alleged assault by some AAP legislators in front of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Sisodia at the CM’s residence.
The incident triggered a political storm, with the BJP and the Congress seeking to attack the AAP which vehemently rejected Prakash’s allegations. Following the alleged assault, IAS and DANICS officers boycotted attending meetings with cabinet ministers, including the chief minister, to register their protest demanding an apology over the issue.
In June, Kejriwal, Sisodia and cabinet ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain staged a sit-in at the LG’s office, demanding that the lieutenant governor direct IAS officers to end their “strike” and order action against those who had struck work for “four months”. The ministers had also demanded the LG’s approval for the doorstep delivery of rations. Following the sit-in, Lt Governor Anil Baijal started working from home. The sit-in had continued for nine days.