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Full Statehood: A Fight for the Self-Respect and Rights of Delhi’s People
Full Statehood: A Fight for the Self-Respect and Rights of Delhi’s People
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Full Statehood: A Fight for the Self-Respect and Rights of Delhi’s People
 
By ARVIND KEJRIWAL

When India gained Independence in 1947, the whole country became a democracy. The people of the entire country started voting and electing their Government. Those Governments started working according to the will of the people. But Delhi did not get complete freedom. In Delhi, the rule of Viceroy of the British Empire was replaced by the rule of the Lieutenant General (LG).
Although the people of Delhi elect it, the Delhi Government does not have much say in governance. No matter which Government the people elect, the rule of the LG prevails. This means that only in Delhi, people's vote has zero value. This is an insult to the people of Delhi. Why are the residents of Delhi considered only half-citizens?
We have reached a point where the people of Delhi are insulted every single day:
    People of Delhi say, “We want CCTVs to ensure women safety.” The moment the elected Government starts installing CCTVs, the LG says, “I will not allow CCTVs to be installed.”
    People of Delhi say, “We want Mohalla Clinics and Schools.” The LG says, “I will not allow Mohalla Clinics and Schools to be built.”
    People of Delhi say, “Please regularize our unauthorized colonies.” LG says, “I will not allow regularization of unauthorized colonies.”
    The most important question today is whose wishes and decisions should prevail in Delhi — the LG's or the people of Delhi's? The time has now come when the people of Delhi will have to fight for their self-respect, their rights and for the future of their children.
Read the Full Letter from Arvind Kejriwal on Delhi’s Full Statehood »
Join the Fight to Secure Full Statehood For Delhi
THE INDIAN EXPRESS
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NDTV
Why has the BJP and the Congress forgotten its promise to Delhi?



Full Statehood: A Fight for the Self-Respect and Rights of Delhi's People 
By ARVIND KEJRIWAL|
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 Little power, great responsibility

All efforts of Delhi’s elected AAP government to live up to its mandate have been hindered by the Centre. Full statehood is the only way forward
Written by Manish Sisodia |
Updated: June 16, 2018 8:37:32 am
As soon as the AAP government in Delhi set about fulfilling its mandate, the BJP-ruled central government started infringing on its powers. (Illustration by CR Sasikumar)
Delhi, our national capital, is an embodiment of the entire nation. Hailed often as a city of immigrants, lakhs of citizens from all parts of the country make Delhi their home every year. The single reason that draws them to the city is hope. Hope for a better future for themselves and the city they call home. Naturally, they expect the best from themselves as well as their elected government. It was this spirit that gave birth to the historic anti-corruption movement in 2011, culminating in an unprecedented mandate of 67 out of 70 seats for the Aam Aadmi Party in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections. This fact alone speaks volumes of the resentment among the people of the city with Delhi’s governance woes and their yearning for a better tomorrow — better schools, healthcare, water supply, electricity, transport, environment, safety and above all else, a government that is honest and accountable to them.
As soon as the AAP government in Delhi set about fulfilling its mandate, the BJP-ruled central government started infringing on its powers. One of our key mandates was to crack down on corruption. Within days of coming to power, we strengthened Delhi’s Anti Corruption Branch (ACB), which had always functioned under the Delhi government, including during the 15-year rule of the Sheila Dikshit government. A new helpline was launched, which received 32,489 calls in the first 100 hours of which many led to the arrest of government officials. To counter the wave of popularity that followed, the Centre struck by passing orders and forcefully taking away control of Delhi’s ACB by sending paramilitary forces. Today, Delhi’s ACB is back to being a decaying and defunct organisation.
In a similar manner, the Services department which decides the appointments, transfers and postings of all officers of the Delhi government, including IAS officers, had always functioned under the elected government in Delhi. But an order issued by the Union home ministry in May 2015 instantly stripped the AAP government of the control of the Services department, and therefore authority over all its officers. No elected government in Delhi or anywhere in India has ever had to face this.
The fallout of this action has been unprecedented in the annals of Indian democracy. Today, only in Delhi does a bureaucrat think it is okay to tell his education minister, “I cannot tell you the number of pending positions of teachers to be employed in schools because that comes under the Services department, which is not under your purview and comes under the Centre”. Many of our policy proposals are routinely returned because we are not allowed to propose the number and type of staff to man the institutions we wish to create to serve the people of Delhi, for example, creation of schools, colleges and hospitals. And it is for the same reason that neither the Centre nor its representative in Delhi — the Lieutenant Governor — has shown any urgency or accountability to fill over 50 per cent staff vacancies in all major departments of the Delhi government, causing almost a crippling effect on our ability to implement our mandate.
The fate of Delhi’s Jan Lokpal Bill, the most powerful such piece of legislation anywhere in India, has been sealed in a similar manner by the central government. The bill could have been approved and brought in force within six months. But because the bill needed the approval of a central government that is bent upon the single-minded political persecution of the AAP government, the bill has been kept pending for almost three years now. Had the Centre cooperated, an accountable ACB and an effective Jan Lokpal Bill would have made every common citizen in Delhi proud that be it the CM or the peon of my government, if anybody indulges in corruption then he is put behind bars.
Since the Delhi government effectively operates at the mercy of the Centre, our proposal to regularise the unauthorised colonies of Delhi in a fair and transparent manner, which was drafted in three months by our government, has been stuck with the Centre for three years now. And it is for the same reason that the Lieutenant Governor, who exercises a veto over every decision of the Delhi government, did not think twice before dismissing a proposal duly cleared by Delhi’s cabinet to create a nodal agency for efficient procurement of medicines and lab tests in Delhi’s clinics and hospitals with a terse line: “I am not sure that this is such a good idea.”
Is it not a sign of a flawed system of governance that the only elected representative answerable for any law and order situation affecting nearly two crore citizens of Delhi is the Home Minister of India? Be it a chain snatching incident in Anand Vihar, or a rape of an infant in Shalimar Bagh, the only elected representative that the people of Delhi can hold accountable is India’s home minister, who is simultaneously tasked with issues in Jammu and Kashmir, the Northeast and Maoist insurgency in Central India. Is it a surprise then that Delhi continues to hold the disgraceful title of India’s crime capital?
Despite these hindrances, the sheer political will of the AAP government has ensured a complete transformation in several sectors, particularly education, health, water and electricity — many of which are being lauded and emulated across the country. But every such success has led to a new wave of political persecution at the hands of a central government that is willing to use and abuse all the powers at its disposal for political gains. First, a record number of cases were filed by the Centre-controlled Delhi Police on AAP MLAs, all to be dismissed by the courts. Then the CBI was let loose on all the ministers, even though not a single allegation has been proven against any of them till date. It is in this context that the strike by IAS officers, orchestrated by the Centre, must be seen. In responding to this crisis, the LG has acknowledged that the IAS officers aren’t meeting the ministers of the Delhi government, or taking their calls or joining them for field inspections, but has desisted from calling this a strike or taking any action to stop it. Our question to the Prime Minister of India is — would you be able to function a single day if your Cabinet Secretary, Finance Secretary or Home Secretary felt it unnecessary to speak or communicate directly to you or come to your meetings?
Given the prevailing governance crisis rooted in a deeply flawed scheme of governance in Delhi, the AAP government has intensified its demand for the only meaningful solution that exists — full statehood for Delhi. This is also a demand that has prominently figured in every BJP and Congress manifesto for Delhi since the 1980s. History shows that every respectable democracy with a thriving megacity as its capital has provided a high degree of autonomy to the elected governments of their capital — London, Paris and Berlin are all great examples.
However, Delhi needs to find its own model. Our government has already proposed a draft bill back in 2016, which has been accepted by prominent constitutional experts and bureaucrats. Under this bill, the Centre would directly administer the core New Delhi Municipal Council, which houses all the Central government ministries and foreign embassies, and the rest of it will function as a full state under a government elected by the people of Delhi. If the Centre has other suggestions, we are open to discussing them too. But a lack of any discussion betrays a colonial spirit to centralise and hold on to all available power. We will not accept this. Because the fight to secure the full democratic rights of citizens residing in Delhi is a fight for the democratic soul of the country.
The writer is an AAP leader and deputy chief minister of Delhi
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City bickersIndia’s national government and the city of Delhi are feuding
No grievance is too petty, no tactic too underhanded

Print edition | Asia
Jun 21st 2018 | DELHI
AMONG the world’s megacities, Delhi, India’s capital, has a good claim to several dubious distinctions: foulest air, hottest summer, most precarious water supply. It is currently in the running for a new distinction, too: the world’s most dysfunctional metropolis. As a dust-storm swirled earlier this month, its chief minister and other elected officials held a sit-in and hunger strike at the residence of the lieutenant-governor, who is appointed by the central government. The main opposition leaders held a similar protest at the chief minister’s office. And the city’s top-ranking bureaucrats pursued a work-to-rule boycott of their elected bosses.
Considering the way Delhi’s government is set up, it is a wonder that the city functions at all. Like India’s 29 states, Delhi is run by a government drawn from an elected assembly. In contrast to the states’, however, the powers it exercises are severely restricted. The unelected lieutenant-governor must sign off on nearly any appointment or expenditure. Delhi has no police force of its own: its finest answer not to any local official but directly to the national government. Unlike Indian states, Delhi cannot run its own civil service: the city’s administrators are appointed, transferred or sacked at the whim of the (national) home ministry. Yet the city government is expected to provide schools, health care, water, sewage and other services.
This unfair division has created trouble for decades. But the fallout has been limited because the party running the capital has often happened to be the same as the one in charge of the national government. For ten of the 15 years before the last election in Delhi, in 2015, for instance, the Congress party held sway in both.
In that election, however, the Aam Aadmi party (AAP), an upstart anti-corruption group, swept out the Congress and all other rivals, capturing an unprecedented 67 of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly. An equally dramatic sweep the year before had seen the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) win power at the centre. The stage was set for a test of wills.
The clash between the parties was not so obvious at first as the AAP, fired by reformist zeal, focused on local affairs. The party is widely acknowledged to have brought rapid improvements to local services. Delhi public schools now produce some of the country’s best exam results for state institutions. A network of local clinics for the poor has won praise as a model for public health. Ordinary Delhi-wallahs say petty corruption in services provided by the city has been drastically curtailed.
But as the AAP and Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, showed growing ambitions in national rather than local politics, the BJP has grown more hostile. “Every instrument of central government control has been used against us,” says Atishi Marlena, a former adviser. “We are outsiders, we don’t represent business as usual, so they are determined to stop us.”
Delhi police have routinely blocked AAP events, arrested its workers, and charged its members of the assembly with petty offences. The home ministry, say AAP supporters, has handicapped the city administration by serially declining to appoint bureaucrats to vacant posts, transferring those judged sympathetic to the AAP and installing BJP loyalists instead. Under the BJP the city’s lieutenant-governors have routinely cancelled appointments and vetoed proposals, even for projects vetted by the bureaucrats appointed by the home ministry.
Ms Marlena, who claimed a token salary of just one rupee, was among nine experts dismissed in April on the grounds that the home ministry had not approved the creation of their posts, several of which had existed under previous governments. In another instance the lieutenant-governor cancelled a carefully conceived project to improve the distribution of medicines with the terse note, “I am not sure this is a good idea.”
The AAP’s riposte is to agitate for Delhi to gain full statehood. That campaign, of course, will be another alluring target for the saboteurs in the central government.
This article appeared in the Asia section of the print edition under the headline "City bickers"
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Arvind Kejriwal Is Right, Delhi Deserves Full Statehood

By Shivam Vij mjaniec/Flickr
Why should Delhi not get full statehood? The main arguments we are given for this are, one, that Delhi can’t be a state since it is the national capital, and two, that policing has to be with the central government since the national capital sees the coming and going of VIPs all the time, and has to manage the sensitive diplomatic enclave too.
As a result, the police in Delhi is not answerable to the people of Delhi. Since the central government has to ensure security for VIPs in central Delhi, people in Punjabi Bagh can’t have a say in policing in Delhi. In Goa, whose population (15 lakhs) is less than Delhi’s (1.7 crore), people are able to use their vote to exFpress how they feel about the state of law and order.
In Delhi, law and order – and much else – is run by the central government, elected by people across India. Why should all of India decide who the station house officer of Mehrauli police station be?
Arvind Kejriwal has rightly said that the central government can keep the New Delhi Municipal Corporation areas with it, and delegate the rest to the Delhi government.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has rightly said that the central government can keep the New Delhi Municipal Corporation areas with it, and delegate the rest to the Delhi government. This seems like an eminently sensible suggestion. The New Delhi Municipal Corporation already reports to the central government, whereas the other municipal corporations don’t.
But why would a BJP government give away powers to an AAP government, when even a Congress government in the centre for ten years didn’t give full statehood to Delhi, which was then run by the Congress’ own Sheila Dikshit.
Truth is, the Ministry of Home Affairs, like any other arm of the government, will not want to give away any powers it has. In charge of national security, the Home Ministry thinks it is very much its birthright to administer law and order in Shahdara, east Delhi.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
The argument we are given is that too much time and energy would be wasted in co-ordinating between the centre and the state government over issues pertaining to foreign diplomats in Delhi, should diplomats face or create any problems in areas governed by the Delhi government. By that logic, the police in Gurgaon should also be made to report directly to the central government. Remember the case recently involving a Saudi Arabian diplomat in Gurgaon? Foreign diplomats often travel across India, but the central government hasn’t abrogated the powers of the state government over the police in the rest of India.
In UK, the City of London Police administers law and order in the 2.8 square kilometres of the City of London area. The rest of Greater London is protected by the Metropolitan Police Service. In Washington DC, the Metropolitan Police Department reports to the city's elected mayor. In Mexico City, only the Federal District's police is controlled by the central government, the rest of the city’s police reports to the state government.
The Modi government doesn’t even let Arvind Kejriwal appoint and transfer bureaucrats, leave alone let it have the Delhi Police.
The Modi government doesn’t even let Arvind Kejriwal appoint and transfer bureaucrats, leave alone let it have the Delhi Police. The reason why Delhi deserves full statehood unlike other union territories is the size of it population. With 1.7 crore citizens, Delhi is larger than all other union territories combined. Chandigarh is merely ten lakh people.
It is important that citizens have a say in policing, and the local government is able to closely supervise policing in consultation with the public.
The Sixty-ninth Amendment Act, 1991, gave Delhi a “special status amongst the Union Territories,” changing its name from “Union Territory of Delhi” to “National Capital Territory of Delhi.” It is time to take the next logical step.     





 

 

 

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