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Opinion: The Kejriwal And Modi Government Have Collectively Failed Delhi

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

*Trigger Warning: Covid Death*

Centre vs. State: The Cause Of Turmoil 

The plight of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is that his powers are snatched from him by the Central government time and again. That before the Centre made Delhi citizens gasp for breath; it had been doing the same with the Delhi government for years. This time the true colours of the BJP ruled Central government came to show as they limited the allocation/supply of oxygen to the capital city, adding to the woes of the general public.

modi, kejriwal
Representative Image.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court has warned the Centre of contempt case if Delhi doesn’t get oxygen. This is the situation of the country right now. Two governments are not being able to cooperate as the city chokes.

The Delhi government has rightfully called it out as an ego issue of the Centre that is acting as a barrier to the crises’ response. Sadly in the fight between the two, the general public is on the receiving end.

Where Did CM Kejriwal Go Wrong This Time?

As much as the CM is blaming the Centre, his government is equally responsible for the chaos in the system. He was driven by his false bravado that everything in Delhi was as PM Modi says, “Changa si”. At the same time, there is nothing pleasant as much as was for the show.

As awarded author Arundhati Roy pens“The system hasn’t collapsed. The government has failed. Perhaps ‘failed’ is an inaccurate word, because what we are witnessing is not criminal negligence, but an outright crime against humanity.” The system barely existed.

The Delhi government had been winning elections so far by advertising brilliantly on how the Delhi model was taken up by the Western countries. Healthcare, as many felt, had improved with the incoming of Mohalla clinics through the veins and arteries of the city. But does the oxygen flow through them anymore?

The answers bluntly expose the reality of the claims made by CM that Delhi was, as Modi says, “Aatmanirbhar”. It is not!

The lack of foresightedness of the Delhi government to tackle this second deadly wave of the Coronavirus is causing countless deaths. And he is still happily congratulating Mamata Banerjee on winning Bengal. It shows his lack of insensitivity and it only adds insult to the injury.

I understand that a small wish doesn’t hurt anyone, but talk to those who have lost their loved ones. They would absolutely want Kejriwal, whom they entrusted as their “Elder Son” to at least share their grief and prioritise Delhi for now.

Whether it is by fighting with the Centre for dire necessities or by setting up new medical facilities out of his own accord, every move of the leader is watched and commented upon now. I hope he’s listening to the wails of help and his social media teams also get to realise what Delhites are going through. It’s a humanitarian crisis, not a game of bettering social media insights.

Lack Of Foresight Cost Us Lives!

Corona Virus Outbreak In India
A view of a crematorium ground where mass cremation of victims who died due to COVID-19 is seen, New Delhi on April 22, 2021. (Photo by Mayank Makhija/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

What triggers me out of bounds is the insensitivity the AAP leadership has brought to the fore. I read continuously in newspapers that Satyendra Jain, Delhi’s Health Minister, paid no heed to the rising Covid cases in the capital.

On being asked about lockdown or precautionary measures taken by the government in the wake of the virus, he just replied“Lockdown isn’t a solution. Learn to live with the virus.” This one instance was on 27 March, a day later, after Delhi registered 1,534 fresh cases. Do the numbers not worry you, Mr Health Minister of Delhi?

Surprisingly Mr Jain has been missing from action lately. He’s nowhere to be seen and no one is asking him now, “Is the lockdown not a solution?” Finally, your eyes opened when SOS calls/tweets went out on Twitter asking for HELP when you weren’t in a position to deliver.

Last week the High Court slammed the Delhi government, saying“Set your house in order. Enough is enough. If you cannot manage it, tell us, then we will ask the central government to send their officers in and do it. We will ask them to take over. We cannot let people die like this.”

Much more to my dismay is the fact that the government went all deaf to the critical condition of Maharashtra due to the virus. Until and unless the country is Covid free, until and unless everyone gets the jab; sir’s, how can you be so careless? Is this your Delhi model being adopted by the world? It better not be.

The world needs to live and breathe peacefully. Unlike Delhi, where black-marketing of oxygen cylinders/cans and medicines are on another level of helplessness. Do you have a Helpline number for these medical requirements in place — to advertise outside your Mohalla clinics — or to highlight across your social media accounts now?

Say something, speak up. You’re playing on the same lines as PM Modi, who wants to be the Messiah figure for the entire country. You too are working tirelessly to enhance your political reach and win more states. Congratulations to your Mamata didi for winning Bengal, but YOU HAVE FAILED DELHI.

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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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