Opinion: “Why Kejriwal Deserves A Third Term As The Delhi CM”

This year’s elections for the post of Chief Minister of Delhi is an open battle between the AAP and BJP. On one side, the AAP is claiming that it has done so much work in Delhi, that it will win all 70 seats in the Capital. While on the other hand, the BJP claims that AAP has done no work and has only created rhetoric and false narratives.

Let’s briefly look at the work done by Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government:

Education

The education sector is often considered one of the most important sectors in the development of a nation. When Arvind Kejriwal became the Chief Minister briefly in December 2013, the budgetary allocation announced by the then Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the Education sector for 2014-15 was Rs 2,482 crores. Today, the same Education budget for Delhi has increased to Rs 15,133 crores. This is 26% of the total budget expenditure of the Delhi government. There has been a significant improvement in the schools run by the Delhi government.

Recently, three Delhi government schools were ranked among the top 10 government schools in India. Also, for the first time in the history of government schools in India, world-class swimming pools were built in two Delhi government schools, in Mayur Vihar and West Vinod Nagar.

Inaugurated by Arvind Kejriwal in April 2018, the swimming pools provide free coaching and classes. Image source: Twitter

Healthcare

The second most important sector for the development of a nation is affordable government healthcare facilities. In a three-tier healthcare system designed by the Kejriwal government, primary-level mohalla clinics, followed by polyclinics, and lastly, multi-specialty hospitals have been set up to make helthcare facilities more accessible to people. The 452 mohalla clinics that  have been set up by the Delhi government is a world record by any government. The clinics have already got praise from former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. All the services, tests and medicines in the 37 Delhi Government hospitals are free of cost. This is a major step forward towards universal healthcare in India.

Electricity

The Delhi government has provided free electricity for upto 200 units for each citizen of Delhi. The government’s  dream of providing 24*7 electricity by is a major step towards curbing pollution in Delhi, and making PM Narendra Modi’s Digital India dream a reality. In fact, across India, Delhi is known to have the cheapest electricity rate, with Mumbai paying the highest.

Water

Water is the most fundamental thing for sustenance of human life. We live in a nation where there is a huge water crisis. In Delhi, all the citizens are getting 20,000 litres of free water supply per month. The piped water facility in Delhi has increased from 58% in 2014-15 to 93% today. This is a major relief for people who live in unauthorised colonies.

Travel

Travelling in cities is one of the most important rituals in the lives of city dwellers. But, when it comes to women commuters, the number is always disproportional to that of men commuters. Delhi government’s announcement of free travel for women in DTC buses has been a big step to undo decades of disparity in this number. This is a major step towards women empowerment and women safety. Every bus also has a bus marshals for the safety of women and other passengers.

Kejriwal inaugurated the free bus ride for women scheme on 29th of October 2019, under which pink bus passes are issued to women commuters. Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

Senior Citizen Schemes

The old age scheme of Mukhyamantri tirth yatra yojana, or the free pilgrimage scheme for senior citizens, has successfully allowed around 20,000 senior citizens to travel to major religious tourist destination of India, free of cost. There is also a pension scheme for senior citizens, under which Delhi citizens in the age bracket of 60-69 years will get Rs 2,000 per month.

Are There Any Cons To These Delhi Government Schemes?

Surely, a lot of work has been done by the Delhi government. However, there are some loopholes in the system that the government has still not tackled. If we look at the functioning of mohalla clinics, they are not running for 12 hours per day, leading to inconvenience by many.  It has also been reported that not all medicines prescribed by mohalla clinic doctors are available at all times, due to which some poor citizens are left at the mercy of rich corporate pharma shops.

Even in many Delhi government schools, 10th class results haven’t improved much in the five years of AAP-government. This must be tackled as quickly as possible. No one can ignore the issue of air pollution in Delhi. Although some work is being done to tackle air pollution, but clearly, it is not enough. Citizens deserve to live in a clean environment, which is a basic fundamental right.

The situation of Yamuna river hasn’t shown any improvement in Delhi. It is too polluted and a major health hazard for the public.

Nobody can also deny the problem of traffic in Delhi, especially during peak hours. This is one of the biggest roadblocks to the city’s development, as people lose out a lot of their precious time stuck in the traffic.

Final Judgment

There is indeed a lot of work that has not been completed by the Delhi government yet. But, what has been achieved by the Kejriwal-led AAP government is a phenomenal achievement, as they have successfully saved the government from going into a loss, despite a drop in grants by the Central government. They have also saved money by completing projects at a lower cost than the expected estimate.

After seeing all the progress in Delhi’s development, it would be interesting to see which way the citizens of Delhi have taken on 11th February. It is truly going to be a referendum on the popularity of Arvind Kejriwal and his work.

View expressed here are personal.

About the Author: Pradeep Yadav is a Political Science graduate from Kirorimal College, Delhi University. He is the founder of www.LawTycoon.com, where he provides free Legal consultation to Indian citizens. 

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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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