"Don't mess around with the youth and education" in order to avoid a "perilous" future, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today warned the Centre.
“Don’t mess around with the youth and education” in order to avoid a “perilous” future, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today warned the Centre and attacked it for “reducing” the Central education budget which he said would “ruin” the country.
Running through the initiates taken by the AAP government during a live interactive session here, Kejriwal called for repealing the “no-detention policy” under which every student is promoted till Class IX.
“Don’t mess around with the youth and education of this country. If this system continues then the future may be in peril, unemployment will be widespread. The Centre has a no-detention policy in place till Class VIII.
“But it is found that in Class IX students suffer from depression and even commit suicide as they can’t read and write. This no-detention policy should end, this is ruining the country. I appeal to the Centre to clear the bill we have passed in this regard,” he said.
For the first 40 minutes into his two-hour-long session, Kejriwal highlighted his government’s emphasis on education, health, power and water. He also spoke extensively on the issue of compensation to farmers for land and crop damage.
Detailing the ruling AAP’s work in the power sector, which has seen it clashing with private discoms, Kejriwal said the city’s power rates were among the “lowest” in the country and the only challenge was the “extremely poor” distribution network.
“If a family in Delhi consumes 400 units, the cost would be Rs 1,370. The same would be over Rs 2,500 in Gujarat, Rs 4,300 in Mumbai, Rs 2,927 in Kolkata and Rs 2,690 in Punjab. One challenge remains and that is of extremely poor infrastructure.
“No work has been done in the last 10-15 years. We have started work in war footing and I have asked all our MLAs to find land to set up transformers,” he said.
On reservation for local students in the Delhi University, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said he will meet Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar and urge him to provide 5 per cent grace on cut-off marks in 28 colleges that receive funds from the Delhi government.
Kejriwal said BJP government’s decision to reduce education budget by about 25 per cent, “from 82,000 crore to 68,000 crore” was fraught with dangers as the country will be ruined if the youth don’t get to study.
Kejriwal also accused Lt Governor Najeeb Jung of cancelling Delhi government’s proposal to involve the Akshaya Patra Foundation in the mid-day meal scheme, saying a similar initiative was doing fine in Gujarat and eight other states.
“I had promised to regularise guest teachers but the LG rejected the proposal. How will the 45 new schools run? We have built 8,000 new classrooms. We sought land from the DDA to build 10 new hospitals which they are not giving. The LG also cancelled a Commission of Inquiry on women’s safety,” he said.
He cited several examples to claim that the ruling AAP has saved hundreds of crores of rupees by finishing infrastructure projects like bridges and flyovers in time, unlike other states where the actual cost “goes up”.
Expenditure in health and education is an investment for the AAP government, Kejriwal said adding that it has identified land for 100 new schools, which he claimed would be superior to private schools.
“Many private schools have turned into teaching shops and are resorting to ‘goondaism’. They randomly increase fees. Earlier, these schools used to go around taking the chief ministers in their pockets as CMs used to push requests.
“I have not pushed one request. My son goes to a school in Noida. Had I wanted, I could have sent my son to any school in Delhi but that would have weakened my position,” he said.
On health, Kejriwal reiterated AAP’s promise to build 1,000 new mohalla clinics by the end of the year as he touched on a three-tier system being built by the government, which he claimed has earned accolades from the US as well.
“Even the middle class is flocking to the clinics. They said the facilities were better than five-star hospitals. There’s a revolution in the health sector. I believe access to quality health services is almost like a fundamental right. If one goes to a private hospital, he is virtually looted,” he said.
Kejriwal said his government believes water should be made available free of cost up to a “basic sustenance level” and that’s the reason consumption of up to 20,000 litres per month have been made available without charge in Delhi.
“There are several areas where water is supplied through tankers. I told my officers that piped water has to be made available in those areas by December 2017. I told them people should be able to drink water directly from the tap,” he said.
Responding to a question on why AAP had increased the salaries of MLAs, Kejriwal said that it was needed to curb graft so that the legislators do not have any excuse to resort to corrupt practices to earn money.
“We raised the salary from Rs 12,000 per month to Rs 50,000 per month and it is for all to see. In the MCDs, they don’t pay salaries then how do the councillors own huge bungalows and move around in expensive cars,” the CM asked.
In the first edition of his ‘Talk to AK’ show, the first 40-minutes of which was a monologue on AAP’s achievements, he flagged the issue of “rising” prices of pulses, alleging that only eight to ten individuals were responsible for it.
He also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to waive the loans of farmers, wondering why it was not being done despite industrialists availing such benefits. He had raised the issue at the Inter-State Council meeting yesterday.
“We raised the compensation to farmers for land acquisition to Rs 3 crore per acre. It was almost a six times jump. But the LG cancelled the notification. I did not have any option and had to retort by cancelling his order in turn. Then the media says I keep on fighting.
“Prices of pulses are skyrocketing. There are eight to ten people doing this. There are warehouses at Mundra port where hoarding is done and in few other states. Even in Mozambique, hoarding is being done at ports,” he said.