The Aam Aadmi Party has completed three years in government in Delhi today. It claims to have fulfilled 90 per cent of its promises, but critics say AAP has failed to bring about public participation in governance, build new schools and colleges, and ensure women’s safety.
ThePrint asks: Has AAP delivered on its promises in the national capital?
AAP has improved health and education, but public transport remains poor
Professor and director, CSDS
I would not hesitate to say that the record of the Aam Aadmi Party’s government in addressing the basic issues—health, education, drinking water, electricity supply etc, which concerns the common people, has been fairly good.
I would not even think twice before giving full marks to the Aam Aadmi Party for its work done in Delhi in the field of education and public health. The government has made a difference by making enormous changes in various aspects of education in government schools. The government has made improvements in infrastructural facilities, resulting in better facilities for the teachers as well as school children. Various innovations like regular parent-teacher meetings and summer camps have given greater confidence to schoolchildren from lower income families. All this has resulted in excellent performances of children in exams.
The government has made a difference in the field of public health through its innovation of mohalla clinics, which seems to have provided a large number of people affordable health care. Several people confirm that their electricity and water bills have got reduced drastically. There is better control on corruption, and we do no not hear of many cases of corruption, though some charges were levelled against the Chief Minister by his own minister.
Where the government has failed is the field of public transport—there is hardly any improvement in DTC buses. The condition of roads remains just about okay. The government has not been able to fulfil its promise of providing free Wi-Fi.
Overall, I would not hesitate to give the AAP government 8/10. But the difficulty is, sections of people, especially the middle class are not happy with the government, as it made a huge promise of providing a new kind of corruption-free, participatory politics, which it has not provided.
We have only one regret: The Anti-Corruption Bureau has been snatched from us
Spokesperson, Aam Aadmi Party
These three years have been tumultuous but revolutionary in many ways. AAP forming a government for the second time in 2015 was indeed a great achievement for a movement which had promised to clean deeply-entrenched, systemic corruption. The first term of 49 days gave the people of Delhi confidence that AAP can be relied upon for good governance, and they gave it an unprecedented mandate.
Hope and aspirations were very high. In the last three years, the AAP government has changed the rules of the game. It has focussed majorly on education and health, which no government since independence has prioritised. The AAP government has increased the education budget by more than 100 per cent and health budget by 46 per cent. It has not only constructed 8,000 new classrooms, refurbished old ones, and equipped them with latest infrastructure, but also trained principals and teachers with the aid of internationally acclaimed experts, updated the school curriculum, and made education student-friendly. The creation of three-tier health structures and the innovation of mohalla clinics have attracted international acclaim.
Today, the AAP government can proudly say that it is providing water and electricity to
the common man at the cheapest rate. Through efficient management, it has not raised the cost even once in three years. It is done with efficient management. It has reduced VAT from 12.5 per cent to 5 per cent on more than 100 items, which has not only increased the tax net but improved tax collection too. It has freed traders from the clutches of the ‘Raid Raj’. And its latest innovation of providing attested government documents at home will be a torch-bearer for future governments.
We have only one regret — that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been snatched from us by the central government. If the ACB had been with us, then like in the 49 days’ tenure, Delhi would by now have been corruption-free. But then, one has to pay the price for defeating BJP and Modi in its pocket borough of Delhi.
Kejriwal wasted his first year because he took the Modi comparisons too seriously
Associate Editor, ThePrint
It was unprecedented in Indian politics when the Aam Aadmi Party won 67 seats out of 70 in 2015. Halting the BJP’s victory march with such a margin was seen as a game-changer, and Arvind Kejriwal began being touted as someone who could take on Narendra Modi in 2019.
Kejriwal took this comparison seriously and started spending time away from Delhi in election-bound states in order to fulfil his national ambition. But, as a consequence, governance in Delhi started suffering; people started questioning the implementation of the tall promises made by the party.
In three years, AAP hasn’t drawn a blank. In fact, some of its initiatives in health and education are remarkable. It had promised to build new schools, but land availability was a problem. However, it added 8,000 new rooms in existing schools to make the facilities better. Similarly, mohalla clinics were an attempt to take healthcare down to the local level, and reduce the load on hospitals.
Inconsistency in delivery is a major problem for AAP. Three years in governance can be divided into three phases of AAP. In the first phase, the focus was on advertising the schemes and trying to blame the opposition for all the wrongs happening in Delhi. ‘Wo pareshaan karte rahe, hum kaam karte rahe’ was the theme.
The second phase was all about infighting within the party, with some senior leader or the other getting sidelined. In the third phase, however, the leaders of the party have given some rest to their vocal chords and opted for strategic silence, especially after the defeat in Punjab.
The focus has now shifted once again to delivery, but they have lot of catching up to do. Promises like deploying guards in buses for women security and free Wi-Fi still remain on paper. Some work has been done on electricity and water, but Delhi’s roads are in bad shape.
In addition, the government has revealed no plan to curb pollution in the city except its odd-even formula.
The AAP government is all about confrontation, not results
Former president, Delhi BJP
This government is a complete failure. It has not done anything it promised in the last three years. None of the issues it raised before coming to power have been addressed.
There has been no governance in Delhi. The government constantly blames the Centre, the Prime Minister, the Lieutenant Governor and the Delhi Police for not being able to govern. Using the victim card is all it seems to be adept at.
AAP came to power by rallying the rage that accompanied the horrific Nirbhaya incident. It promised safety for women. But has it installed the CCTV cameras that it said it would? Doesn’t seem like it.
Moreover, this government has MLAs who are accused of rape and cheating, aside from the cases of corruption against 32 MLAs. What does that say about a government that has used women’s safety as a primary rallying point?
Contractual employees were promised permanent appointments. Yet again, nothing has been done in that regard. The government hasn’t managed to generate any jobs in the capital.
The educational reforms it uses as a success story are superficial. They only exist in advertisements.
This government is all about confrontation, not results.
The inner circle of top leaders has been provided benefits and salaries in lakhs, even as MLAs are disqualified for holding office of profit. This government has participated in corruption instead of addressing it.
It marketed its success in Delhi and expanded into Goa and Punjab. But because it has failed to deliver in Delhi, it has flopped in those states too.
Even its internal party unity is in shambles. Some of those who founded this party have been excluded from the party because of Kejriwal’s dictatorial attitude.
As for being a government that said it will constantly communicate with its constituents, there is no mechanism to ensure a dialogue between the government and the citizens.
This government has taken Delhi back by 15 years. It has failed on all fronts — in governance, in keeping its promises, on the moral front, commitment and constitutionality.
What the AAP government is best at is advertising
Former chief minister, Delhi
In which sector has this government managed to succeed? What it is best at is advertising. That’s all this government is, an advertising government. No changes have been made at the ground level.
It says it has raised the health budget by 12 per cent. Where is the proof? Government hospitals are in a dismal state. Where are these much spoken about ‘mohalla clinics’? Are they even functional? Not a single claim is sustainable when it comes to health.
This government has only succeeded in displaying its own corruption. It had three Rajya Sabha seats to fill. Instead of allocating them to party members, AAP allocated them to outsiders. What does that indicate?
As far as education is concerned, instead of building more schools, it has increased the number of students going to private schools. The education standards of government schools are so low that people have to bend over backwards to send their kids to private schools.
It has been three years now, we should have seen some development. Even Delhi roads have been ignored. It promised to install CCTVs cameras in Delhi to ensure the safety of women. I’m a woman living in Delhi who is amazed and outraged at the kind of bizarre crimes that still happen in this city. They have failed women as well.
The Centre being involved in Delhi governance is not new. We, as a government, functioned in tandem with the Centre. What is needed is a friendly and cooperative attitude. You can’t be truculent, uncooperative and stubborn. Delhi is, after all, the capital of this country; everyone has an interest in maintaining it well. You have to listen to all stakeholders.
This government can’t pass the buck, Arvind Kejriwal was chosen to be the chief minister, and he needs to act accordingly.
Compiled by Deeksha Bhardwaj.