2015’s much awaited Delhi elections were expected to be a close encounter between the mighty BJP and the new kid on the block, AAP. In what was being termed as a David Vs Goliath battle, the minnows reigned supreme and BJP, led by Narendra Modi, suffered its first major setback. The result was shocking enough but the manner in which AAP decimated its opponents became talk of the town and rightly so. Delhites unilaterally bestowed blind faith in AAP even after the massive blunder it had committed last time around. Expectations are high from AAP and it is expected to deliver big time in its second outing.
Few days have passed and it looks like that the people of Delhi made the right choice. Fulfilling two of its major poll promises, AAP government on Wednesday announced free water supply to each and every household with a functioning meter installed and 50% reduction in power tariffs. The people of Delhi couldn’t have asked for a better start.
The freebee scheme will take off from 1st of March 2015 and Lakhs of households will benefit immensely from the scheme. The scheme is expected to cost the exchequer a whooping sum of Rs 1670 crores annually. Households of Delhi which consume an average of 400 units of power on a monthly basis will notice their electricity bill slashed by half. As far as free water is concerned, households using less than 20000 litres a month will not have to shell a single rupee for their water consumption.
According to the party, this is just the first step it has taken towards extending never before seen support to the people of Delhi. Now its entire focus is aimed at fulfilling the rest of its poll promises, including statehood for the national capital of Delhi.
More than 90% of consumers will substantially gain from the slashed power tariffs while more than 18 Lakh families will cherish the free water supply. But if the consumption of water crosses the stipulated 20000 litres mark, then full payment will have to be made to the concerned department. The water subsidy will continue for the rest of AAPs tenure while the power relief will be extended till the audit of electricity firm’s finances is completed. The power tariff might get hiked and in that case the subsidy will be provided on the increased tariffs. The audit is expected to be over soon and a clear picture will emerge once all the problem areas are ironed out.
But praise isn’t the only thing showered on AAP for its bold move. AAP has received its share of flak from many quarters, including the honorary Prime Minister of India. “Utilize the public funds for sustenance, maintenance and development of Delhi instead of extending subsidy”, the critics are yelling out loud. Critics are also pointing out that water is a precious commodity in Delhi because of its short supply and such a move will promote and encourage its wastage. Also, more than 14 Lakh families living in unauthorized colonies and slums who need this water subsidy the most don’t have access to a piped water network, thus they can’t benefit from the same.
Only time will prove whether the subsidy schemes prove to be boon or a bane for the government and the people of Delhi, but one thing is for sure, love or hate Arvind Kejriwal, but you surely cannot ignore him.