Najeeb Jung outlines Kejriwal government’s agenda during his address in the Delhi Assembly

Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung in his address to the newly-constituted Delhi Assembly on Monday said the government was willing to consider cancellation of licences to private power distribution companies if they do not cooperate with the Comptroller and Auditor General.

In a speech that lasted less than 15 minutes and was along the same lines as the 17-point agenda put forth by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal last week, Mr. Jung said a “CAG audit of electricity companies from the time of privatisation shall be carried out” and the government “cannot and shall not be a silent bystander. It shall be ensured that the companies have not and do not indulge in flagrant violations of financial norms.”

While power distribution was privatised in 2002, the Delhi Government last week ordered a CAG audit of the finances of the three power companies, BSES Yamuna Power Limited, BSES Rajdhani Power Limited and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited. However, all three have strongly refused scrutiny of their finances by the CAG.

Responding to the L-G’s address, Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Harsh Vardhan told reporters that the “hopes and expectations of the people of Delhi from the Aam Aadmi Party have been shattered.” He said: “The L-G has neither fixed a time-frame for the eradication of corruption and day-to-day corrupt activities in the government nor said what steps the government is going to take for prevention of day-to-day corruption in the government machinery?”

In his address, Mr. Jung had reiterated the government’s commitment to take steps to end corruption in government departments. “Passing the version of the Lokpal Bill that led Anna Hazareji to undertake a fast will be a priority for government,” he said.

Further, he said an “action plan” for regularising the unauthorised colonies within a year is being drawn up. “This would benefit 30 per cent of Delhi’s population that lives in such colonies. The plan will be implemented rigorously and in a time-bound manner,” he said. “My government will also execute projects for providing clean and pucca (built up) houses to those presently condemned to live in the degraded environment of slums,” he added.

Mr. Jung said the government will put an end to all symbols of privilege and power that distance the citizen from the government. “No minister or MLA will use a red beacon on their cars. Special security will be avoided,” he said.

He said the Delhi Government is committed to providing all-round improvements in health and education sectors. More than 500 government schools will be set up, the system of donations in private schools will be done away with and new hospitals will be set up, he added.

Mr. Jung said VAT rates will also be reviewed and simplified. He also said that the government was committed to providing regular jobs to those working on contracts.

The L-G said the security environment for women and girls is a “matter of deep concern”. “That 50 per cent of the population should be intimidated enough to avoid public spaces is a shame. Special security cells shall be set up to ensure that women and girls are not harassed,” he said.

The government has also decided to set up new courts and appoint new judges so as to ensure that all cases involving harassment of women or girls are disposed of in three months. “Similarly such number of courts shall be set up and judges appointed so that all other cases are disposed of in six months,” he said.

The L-G said the people “have reposed faith in not only a new approach to governance but also to a new political culture that stresses on the need to place the citizen at the centre of thoughts, actions and policies.”

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