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SC’s (L-G vs AAP) verdict: An inevitable, silent but deadly storm approaching Delhi

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For a long time, the Delhi Government has been claiming that the Lieutenant Governor is not letting them work and creating problems. With the Supreme Court’s order things seem to be pacified between the two. The Delhi Government also came up with  an Outcome Report of the Office of Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor. The report roughly has 35 different files or proposals across 15 different departments in the report. The First question that comes up in my mind is: “Is it all the work proposed by the Delhi Government for which they have been shouting all this time?” After going through the report, I could see that the government has tried to pin their failures on somebody, who in this case was the Hon’ble L-G. For every proposal, they mentioned the delay from L-G’s side and the impact of the delay. However, their delay calculation is incorrect. For instance-

Higher education loan guarantee scheme: They declared a delay of 402 days because of L-G. The file was first sent to the L-G on 30.08.2016. However, according to the very same report the file was returned to the government on 13.2.2017 and remained with the party till 06.09.2017 (200 days give or take). The party counted 402 days delay from the day they sent the proposal to L-G for the first time and did not exclude the delay of 200 days from their end. They were thinking of L-G as just a rubber stamp who would just sign and not look. The file was approved by L-G.

Similarly, Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics/AAMC(Schools): The proposals were said to be delayed by the L-G for 101 and 146 days respectively. However, they did not exclude the delay of approx 60 days when the file was with the party.

Mid-day meals by Akshay Patra Foundation: The L-G asked them to check if there are other similar functioning entities in the state. I think this was a fair question; the government should not pay more if alternatives are available. Technically speaking the party had sent an incomplete file to the L-G. They sent the file with incomplete information on 21.08.2017 and the L-G replied on 20.11.2017 and since then the party has not submitted the complete file. It is being delayed because of them and not because of the L-G

If a file is being sent to a signing authority, one should at least complete the different  necessary formalities. If they don’t accept the powers of the signing authority then why sending the files to the office of L-G in the first place? This does not make any sense. Does it? Let’s assume that the L-G approved and signed all the proposals and something goes wrong in the near future. Who would be held accountable? The Delhi Government would not have taken a second in pinning it on him, they would have said upfront “the L-G didn’t carry out his job properly, we sent the files to him”. It would have definitely made more sense then. Further, apparently, Mr. Kejriwal has some boon from whatever god he believes in that whatever he touches become pure and corruption free. He can raise queries but others cannot, he can make comments on others work but vice-versa is not allowed, his proposals are the best and there is no scope of improvement in them.

Maybe he believes in a pseudo-secular-democratic facade with an authoritarian anarchist at the helm. 

The report other than the misleading information also reveals Kejriwal’s approach towards retaining political power. It is absolutely fine to think about the next elections, every politician/government keeps next elections in mind.  They have to do things that would create their legacy or highlight their presence. But how they achieve this distinguishes the different leaders or say differentiates between a leader and a politician. Let’s take examples.

How are Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics different from Delhi Government Dispensaries and Primary Healthcare Centers? Scaling up the already existing structures and facilities would have been easier and would have cost less but would not have established an “Aam Aadmi” legacy. Would it? They allow the “AAP” to explicitly connect to the voters but same would not have been possible with the already existing structures. Same with AAMC(Schools), could have used Government Doctors do routine visits to the schools but again that would have not created the legacy. Building toilets and providing LPG connections to households are also a way to connect with the voters; even though they are vital for the society but would they make a legacy? Certainly not, after a few years “who” did those things would be forgotten. The party who does things like this would have to keep on working to win. The people who build legacy can use the legacy to win again and again. That is why the love for statues, street names and so on. The brand “Nehru-Gandhi” is an epitome of legacy building and beneficiary. Please have a look at why congress should loose 2019 for its own good.

“Building Legacy helps the politicians who work once and want to reap the benefits forever” 

Establishing a legacy is not an exclusive way to stay alive in the political arena.  Poor and lower castes have proven to be of critical importance in Indian Politics. Congress had always been allocating thousands and thousands of crores in for them by providing different services in the form of subsidies, etc. and there is absolutely no doubt about that. And yet they made sure that  the poor remained poor and lower castes remain lower caste. How and Why?  Mr. Rajiv Gandhi had quoted once ” only 15 paise out of a Rupee reach the needy”  Where did all the money go? They designed the system this way, it was not by accident. They added layers and layers of so-called essential middlemen officials. They fathomed exactly what they were doing and appreciated it.  Arvind Kejriwal is not inventing anything new, he is merely adding wheels to the already designed cart. Many of the proposals in the report re-constitute various committees; District Committees, Thana Committees, Town Vending Committees, other marketing committees or adding DANICs, etc. In the same report, there was a proposal to increase the pay for those DANICs. It is just a way to redistribute the allocated funds in the form of salary and other costs making it a win-win situation for the party. In the end, it is the money allocated for somebody but is being used for someone else. On one hand they are working for the poor, generating employment  and on the other hand, they are keeping the poor “poor”, whom they can use in future for their political motives; be it as protests (how significant are protests in today’s India is another discussion), or using their deaths as a tool or at the best using their caste and creating agitation for reservation. Further, AAP has now included logistics to it by adding the door to door delivery services like ration delivery and other delivery services. Who would bear the transportation, manpower and other costs? And before you compare door to door ration delivery by AAP and the center’s scheme, you should discern the difference between sending an ambulance for a person dying and sending it for a person who requires a routine checkup.  And if I am mistaken and the center is also delivering it to everyone, they should also stop this. One wrong does not make the other wrong ‘Right’.

Committees require people and the requirement to find suitable people. Putting the people of your liking on the places you want starts looking nasty right away. The Delhi Government’s proposal of Chief Minister’s Urban Leadership Fellows Program is a striking example of this; they wanted to award fellowships without conducting the exams. The L-G asked for the exam and they did not take the proposal ahead saying “the L-G killed the scheme”. I guess, one of the major issues with the Jan Lokpal Bill from AAP govt was also related to this.

Arvind Kejriwal is not just following Indian National Congress’ footsteps but is surpassing them without giving any kind of chance to his counterparts. Most of his counterparts cannot think beyond Family-Muslim-Dalit-Yadav-and-so-on (in that order) arithmetic. 

Offering freebies and wooing the voters is an old tactic. Kejriwal has also been employing this tactic. But again, he takes it a step ahead. According to the LG Outcome report, the Delhi Government made a proposal of Health Insurance Scheme which was rejected by the L-G. According to this scheme, the Delhi Government would be able to use vacant beds in the private hospitals for the general public for free. In short, cost born by the private hospitals and credit claimed by the AAP government. If Private hospitals feel like doing charity they can, but they have no obligations to do so. Arvind Kejriwal could have appealed to the people directly for this, as PM Modi did for waiving gas subsidies and other subsidies but then the credit would go to the people and not the government. Claiming the credit has a higher priority than the work. That is one reason why the pollution in Delhi hasn’t been fixed so far. Heavily criticizing Reliance Power and denigrating their reputation was also a strategy to put pressure on them to reduce the electricity prices and later claim the credit. He tries to do charity on someone else’s money. He does not even use his/his government’s money. And when he does not succeed, he starts hurling abuses as we have seen in the past.

Not only charity but he tries to use other’s money for his party as well. The report also mentions a few proposals which superficially look like they serve the people but in reality are only serving the party. One item was to get 600 LED screens so that the communication between the people and government increase. What good would displaying pollution index do? Instead of installing large commercial air purifies make more sense and so on. Usage of LED during the natural disasters was the second reason given in the report. Seriously? What natural disaster? Are Floods because of poor drainage system a natural disaster? Does putting money on LED screens instead of fixing drainage system make sense? Or the hidden agenda behind 600 screens is to advertise CM Kejriwal?

It could be clearly deciphered that all the proposals and other schemes(free water/electricity/wifi) not mentioned in the report add cost i.e. they demand a colossal  amount of funds. If LG had endorsed the reports, he would have had a moral obligation to provide with a suitable funding source for numerous infeasible proposals. If after signing the files, he would not have made the funds available, Mr. Kejriwal and the team would have said:“The center is blocking the funds, if funds presented a problem why did L-G approve the files in the first place”. This could be a reason why he did not approve the files. Thanks to the Supreme Court the L-G is out of the loop now and does not have to think about that.

On the other hand, Arvind Kejriwal, who portrays it as a win, will now have to directly get involved in this. How he arranges the funds is his problem now. May be in the not-too-distant future, we can catch sight of him complaining “the center is not allocating enough funds for Delhi”. On top of that there can be a possibility that the Delhi government starts borrowing irrationally and leaving  the state in a difficult situation in future. He might actually do this as Delhi is just a rung of the ladder as were people like his former team members, Anna Hazare, etc. ushering him to his end goal. People, especially in Delhi, might not predict the storm that is approaching them but if I were any political party I would not even field a single candidate in Delhi Assembly election. Simply because any government who comes next and tries to fix the issues would be thought of as evil. How? Please see the political-economical turmoil in countries like Greece and Italy. People literally died there because of debt & bankruptcy leading to staggering taxes. Moreover, we could also refer to the state of economy UPA2 left for NDA in 2014.

Mr. Kejriwal can claim the Supreme Court’s verdict as a win but in reality, it is a win for the L-G as he would not be held accountable for  Delhi’s Greece-ification in the coming years.

One of the files pending approval from LG was Establishing District Level Committees for withdrawal of Petty Offenses. Kejriwal and Party wanted to withdraw cases (petty offenses) for minors, senior citizens and vulnerable section of the society as they clog up the judicial system and pose a great inconvenience to these petty offenders. What is a petty offence? Are offences like Chain snatching, eve teasing, fraud at ration shops, cheating petty offenses?   Who constitutes the vulnerable section of the society? I guess, the different vote bank communities are part of this section. For minors, I agree the punishments can be lenient for them, but in no case, they should be let go without a punishment. Simply because in no time these tiny petty offenders would greatly scale up their offenses.  If you remember the most destructive culprit in Nirbhaya case was a minor. Instead of finding ways to improve/speedup Judicial system they came up with this. With AI tools penetrating judiciary and different law firms already using AI to reduce the paralegal work and so on, why can’t the government do the same? Either they can make fun of Startup India and Make In India or they can actually contribute towards these two. Their choice is clearly visible. Incidentally, they are the same party who could hack EVM in less than 90 minutes. Although they brought their own hardware, used their own processor/micro-controller, used their own Operating System(if they found running bare-metal application complex), and ran their own software application. I think they assumed that people would not know difference between hacking with programming, what they did was simple embedded systems programming, any engineer who has ever executed the most basic “Hello World” program in an embedded environment would agree with me.

Arvind Kejriwal being an IIT alumnus has not proposed even one innovative idea during his tenure so far. The most fortunate or unfortunate part is that an ex-chaiwallah is rendering exactly what is expected of an ex-IIT/ex-IRS.

Everybody who has followed his politics knows that he is an overly ambitious person and wants to stop not at anything less than the designation of a PM. Being ambitious is not  bad at all and everyone should be ambitious. But, a person should not ruin something to achieve his/her goals. Arvind Kejriwal is using Delhi solely as a step forward towards his ultimate goal. The very first time when Mr. Arvind Kejriwal became the Chief Minister of Delhi although only for 49 days, I was thinking that this person would have a lot of novel ideas but would lack a much required political acumen to stay in power. I think most of the people in India would have thought so.  The way he had reacted to unfamiliar situations also provided a hint that he might actually be lacking those skills. But today, it could comfortably be said that I was mistaken. His political skills are way better than anybody could have expected. None of the regional political parties and their leaders can parallel Mr. Kejriwal’s political skill set.  His political practices and beliefs will not only create devastating effects on the people of Delhi but also on the entire nation, which unfortunately is obscure at this moment.

“Terrorism was considered a regional problem and not a global issue until a highly qualified engineer blew up a tower” and “Delhi did not become a failed state until an eminently qualified engineer used it as a stage for his political ambitions”.

 

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By હર્બનશ સિંહ ਹਰਬੰਸ ਸਿੰਘ हरबंश सिंह

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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