As we all know, Delhi is a union territory or a half state which has its own Legislative Assembly but this Legislative Assembly is not powerful enough. The Delhi government enjoys several powers but the police and the Land and Transfer department come under the Central government. A state government needs enough land to develop. Let’s compare and see what would happen if Delhi had the status of full statehood.
In the case of full statehood: If a government wants to construct a school building or a hospital or any public building, the government doesn’t need to buy it from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) or the Central government. They don’t need to pay for it.
In Delhi’s case: If the Delhi government wants to construct a mohalla clinic or a government school, they need to buy the land at market price from the MCD and the Central government. And if different parties are ruling in the state and the MCD, then it creates a lot of hurdles. It plays the role of a speed breaker on the path to development.
In the case of full statehood: The police comes under the state government, so they follow the instructions of the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister, other ministers and MLAs. The state government have all the powers to maintain law and order according to their need.
In Delhi’s case: The police comes under the Central Home Ministry, and the Lieutenant Governor (LG) works on behalf of the Home Ministry. So basically, the police department follows the instructions of the Central government rather than the state government. The state government can’t do anything but to plead for this and that. The people who voted for the state government question the state government on law and order but their questions should really be aimed at the Central government.
In the case of full statehood: The officers working in state government offices or any government offices follow the state government’s orders and instructions. They have to work according to the state government’s policy.
In Delhi’s case: The officers follow the LG who follows the Central government’s orders and instructions. The officers don’t answer to the MLAs, Ministers and the Chief Minister even in the Assembly. They only follow what the LG says to them. This creates an obstruction in the functioning of the state government, creating hurdles.
So basically that’s the difference between having full statehood as opposed to being a union territory.
People will question those they voted for. But the truth is that the elected government doesn’t have enough powers. And the imposed person by the Central government enjoys all the power and they are not accountable for anything. Accountability must be fixed for them too. My view is simple – people will question those they voted for so the elected government must be given enough powers to govern as they are accountable to the people.
Full statehood for Delhi is something demanded by everyone, not just by AAP, BJP or Congress. Earlier, BJP and Congress were asking for full statehood. In the 2015 Assembly Elections, all the parties promised to give full statehood to Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal’s government is fulfilling its pre-poll promise. Now the ball is in the BJP’s court. If the BJP wants to give full statehood to Delhi, they can do it in a day as they just need to pass the full statehood bill and send it to the President.
In July 2015, Newslaundry did a poll, asking the people of Delhi to answer whether Delhi should get full statehood. The picture below shows the results for the poll.
If the BJP blocks the bill for full statehood, the people of Delhi should raise questions to the BJP, especially since they had promised the same earlier. BJP will have to answer the questions of Delhi’s aware citizens. And if BJP obstructs the bill, the people will answer them in the 2019 general elections.
This post was originally published here.