This was Mr Baijal’s first address to the House after he assumed office in December.
New Delhi: The five-day Budget Session of the Delhi Assembly began on Monday with lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal praising the the AAP government’s initiatives in health and education sectors, and other development works in unauthorised colonies in the city.
This was Mr Baijal’s first address to the House after he assumed office in December, and it came as a stark contrast to the times when the AAP and former L-G Najeeb Jung were locked in perennial conflict.
Mr Baijal said that the Delhi Jal Board has provided water connections in 1,175 unauthorised colonies. Mr Baijal’s speech highlighting the government’s initiative in unauthorised colonies and praise for pro-poor policies is being viewed in the political circles as the government’s efforts to reach out to its core vote bank ahead of the upcoming civic elections.
In his approximately 30-minute speech, the L-G ran through the works of the AAP government with education and health as the highlight areas. He said that over 100 mohalla clinics have come up in Delhi and their number will increase to 1,000 in six months. He also said that Delhi’s economy grew at 8.34 per cent in 2015-16, with the per capita income rising to three times the national level. He underlined the government’s measures like slashing power tariff by half and making a certain quantum of water supply free to improve the living standard of city residents. He said the Delhi government’s 50 per cent subsidy on monthly power consumption of up to 400 units would continue. The government will be presenting its third Budget on March 8.
Focusing on the health and education sectors, he said over 100 mohalla clinics, where people have access to doctors, tests and medicines for free, were working and their number would go up to 1,000 in six months.
Periodically welcomed by thumping of desks by the AAP-dominated House, Mr Baijal said the clinics had earned global acclaim, including from former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Mr Baijal, who succeeded Mr Jung in December, added that 122 polyclinics (secondary healthcare centres) would also be completed in the next one year. He said the Delhi government had also made radiology tests like MRI, CT and PET scans free for Delhi’s residents. “My government is focused on providing affordable healthcare services to its citizens,” he said. Mr Baijal said 10,000 additional beds would soon be added to Delhi’s healthcare system.
The L-G said that the work is in progress to build 8,000 new classrooms and 20 new schools, out of which 14 schools were ready. For higher education, construction of new campuses for Ambedkar University had started at Rohini in northwest Delhi and Dheerpur in north Delhi. For skill development, the Delhi government will set up five new polytechnics.
Mr Baijal praised the government for its “reading campaign” that he said had transformed one lakh children from non-readers to readers. The Arvind Kejriwal government had also prevented arbitrary fee hike by private schools built on government landMr Baijal spoke about the approval he had given to let the government hike minimum wages of workers by around 37 per cent. He said water connections had been provided in 1,175 unauthorized colonies. The government was also giving 20,000 litres of drinking water free to every household.
According to Mr Baijal, the fourth phase of Delhi Metro consisting of eight corridors totalling 116 km would be completed by 2021. “The third phase, which will take the Delhi Metro’s operational network from 189 km to 330 km, is likely to be completed by June 2017,” he said to another round of applause.
The budget session of the Delhi assembly will end on March 10, a month before the capital holds municipal elections in which the AAP will take on the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.