Sidharth Mishra 2

Given changed scenario, Kejriwal smokes peace pipe for now

Last fortnight at a function organized by the Delhi Jal Board to lay foundation stone of nation’s biggest sewage treatment plant, changing political environment of the city became so visible.  Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat shared dais with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, where the latter took everybody by surprise by profusely thanking the Centre for the support.

It did not stop there. When Shekhawat pointed out that all hoardings on way to the venue gave credit only to the Delhi Government whereas the project was being funded by the Centre, Kejriwal accepted the error and said credit should be given wherever it was due.

Let’s do a quick flashback. The onset of winters last year had witnessed an unusual freeze in the relationship between the BJP leaders (including Central Ministers) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi Government. On November 4 last year, the much-delayed Signature Bridge was finally inaugurated. The inaugural ceremony saw a terrible fracas between the Chief Minister and the local MP and state BJP president Manoj Tiwari, who was not invited for the function.

Sidharth Mishra

Apex Court Last Hope To Save Delhi’s Public Transport System

The day Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority -- sought apex court’s intervention to save the national Capital from choking, city’s transport minister Kailash Gehlot said that the cabinet note for the free bus ride for women would be ready soon.

The aforementioned fact clearly indicates that the transport policy of Delhi Government was not directed towards strengthening the existing system but instead draining it for electoral gains. The EPCA in its report to the apex court mentioned that “The Delhi government has not added new buses into its fleet for the past four years. Delhi has 17 buses per lakh people compared to 107 buses per lakh people in Beijing. But what is also alarming is that these buses are ageing — all of DTC’s current 3,600 on-road buses are over eight years-old and it will be necessary to phase them out in the next few years.”

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal despite having failed to add even a single bus to city’s dilapidated fleet, has gone on to announce that the free rides would not be limited for women but would be extended to the senior citizens and students too. The question is that for a free ride there also has to be a bus but given the state of affairs, the public transport system in the national Capital for now was moving towards a collapse.

Sidharth Mishra 2

Exuding Confidence On Economy’s Forward March

The first Economic Survey brought out by Narendra Modi 2.0 government laid down the current dispensation's ambitious target to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25. The Budget, which followed the survey, elaborates on the roadmap, allaying the rising curiosity in the Indian psyche over the government's reasonableness. Budget 2019 puts India on the developmental course to achieve target of a $3 trillion economy in the current year itself. In the past five years, the Indian economy has jumped from $1.87 trillion back in 2014 to $2.7 trillion in 2019.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her maiden budget speech with a grand Indian vision laden with developmental aspirations and an investment-driven economy. The confidence for such a vision comes from the fact that its people have made it possible to add $1 trillion to the economy between 2014-2019 though it took 55 years for the Indian economy to reach $1 trillion.

Mega programmes and services which were initiated and delivered during those 5 years will now be further accelerated. The minister said the government would simplify procedures, incentivize performance, reduce red-tape and make the best use of technology just as it did earlier. She quoted Chankaya Niti Sutra saying: “Karya purusha karena lakshyam sampadyate.” Meaning “with determined human efforts, the task will surely be completed.”

Sidharth Mishra12

Vote Politics: Delhi Metro in for rough ride

Recently there was an incident where the Delhi Metro operations had to be halted on the Magenta Line because of the fire in the slums below the metro lines. Services between Jasola Vihar and Kalindi Kunj stations had to be paused due to the smoke caused by the fire. This incident has a great symbolic value. As slums and gutters continue be integral part of the national Capital, Delhi Metro rises above all running a world class operation.

This has been possible because, when it was planned, the main stake holders, the Centre and the Delhi Government rose above petty political considerations to give the city and the country a world class transport system. A group of ministers in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, which was headed by Lal Krishna Advani, worked in close cooperation with the then Congress government in Delhi led by Sheila Dikshit to usher in the service.   

However, in the past five years, the continues friction between the Centre and the Delhi Government has delayed the expansion of the Delhi 

Metro network putting much strain on the existing lines. The latest chafing relates to starting work on the three corridors of phase IV, on which an embargo has been put by the Delhi Government. 

Sidharth Mishra 2

Opposition Should Allow Parliament To Function, Engage Govt On Floor

In the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha, the unprecedented happened. The Opposition managed to stall even debate of the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address. The Opposition all through the past five years ensured ‘dysfunctional’ parliament, courtesy their majority in Rajya Sabha.

The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha begins this week. The start would be marked by the customary oath taking followed by the election of the Speaker. The actual business would only begin after the President addresses joint session of both the Houses.

Though the treasury benches have returned even more stronger in the Lok Sabha, a somewhat of a status quo remains in Rajya Sabha with the ruling benches no expected to get numbers larger than the Opposition till the second half of 2020. The question is, would the Opposition continue to play the politics of spoil sport or engage in sporty debates to put the government on the mat.

The problem with the Indian Parliament especially in the past decade has been that the parliamentarians have taken to the television cameras rather the floor of the House to express their viewpoint. The lure of the camera has not just infected the junior members but also party’s leadership.