AAP government’s move will be counter-productive

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitely on Wednesday criticised the Delhi Government’s decision to offer a subsidy to consumers for their water consumption. Even as the AAP-led Delhi Government is riding high on the decision to offer free water — 20 kilolitres per month to those with a metered connection- the BJP leader said subsidy is "short term gains."

"…It [subsidy] leaves a debt for tomorrow. A subsidy may prove counter productive for the more vulnerable sections,” Mr. Jaitely said in a statement issued here.

Explaining why subsidy is a bad idea and a populist measure, Mr. Jaitely said: “Subsidies are an unquantified amount given to unidentifiable section of people. Through subsidies a government does not cut down the rates or the cost. It maintains the existing rates and tariffs. It only uses the tax payers money to subsidise a section. The more you subsidise the more you will have to eventually raise the taxes.”

Subsidy, the BJP leader said leaves a debt for tomorrow and may even prove counter productive for the more vulnerable sections. “Take the illustration of the scheme to subsidise water for those consuming less than 20 kilo litre of water through a metered system. Subsidies make the health of the supply organisations vulnerable. The real challenge is that those outside the water supply system must be connected to it. Laying down pipelines in every locality, installation of taps in every house can only be provided by a healthy board and not a financially vulnerable DJB (Delhi Jal Board).”

The subsidy rolled out by the Delhi Government has “ignored” the weakest section of Delhi, Mr. Jaitely alleged.

“The poorest of the Delhi have been kept out of the water subsidy scheme. Localities without a pipeline, households without a tap, households without a meter, households with defective meters are not entitled to any subsidy. Households in the NDMC area, particularly of those lesser paid employees, households in Delhi Cantonment area have all been kept out of the water subsidy. This subsidy ignores the weakest and includes a small layer of people with metered consumption.”

Citing an example he said, the residents in JJ clusters have been left out of the free water scheme as they have no meters. “A very large number of unauthorised colonies have no pipelines and are yet to be covered by laying of water pipelines. There are no individual house connections and hence they are outside the purview of the free water scheme.”

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