The Second Delhi Legislative Assembly

(Budget Session)

17th MARCH, 2003

            Respected Speaker and Hon’ble Members,

  I extend a warm welcome to all of you to the Budget Session of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi for the year 2003 when the Government runs its fifth year in office.
  At the outset, I may inform the House that the Council of Ministers has initiated a proposal for grant of statehood to Delhi in keeping with the Resolution passed by this Assembly last September. This proposal has been sent for the consideration of the Central Government in which, as a precursor to the grant of statehood, devolution of specific powers and authority to the Government has been sought by way of appropriate amendment in the Act of 1993 in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution. A draft Bill from the Centre is now awaited.
  During the last one year, the maximum attention of my Government has been directed towards the augmentation of power, water supply, transport and the construction of roads and flyovers which critically affect all sections of the economy and the lives of citizens. This is in consonance with the commitment of providing social security cover for the marginalized sections of society. Attempt has been made to ensure that the Government works for the people and through ‘Bhagidari’ by the people.
  On July 1, 2002, the Delhi Vidyut Board(DVB) was unbundled into six companies namely, one Holding, one Generation, one Transmission and three Distribution companies. The management of the three Distribution companies has been handed over to private management, while stipulating targets for reduction in aggregate technical and commercial losses, against opening losses determined by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission. This long overdue reform measure has evoked tremendous interest, not only nationally, but worldwide also and recognition has come through an Award for Excellence conferred on the Department of Power by the India-Tech Foundation. In his recent Address to both Houses of Parliament, Rashtrapatiji alluded to the privatization of power distribution in Delhi and stated that it has already led to improved supply.
  As promised last year, all three units of the Pragati Power Project have been commissioned and are generating 300 MW power. This is a net addition to generation of electricity in the city and constitutes a major step forward in adding capacity after a gap of 14 years.
  The transformation capacity at 400 and 220 KV levels is being augmented by a huge addition of 900 MVA before the peak summer sets in. The transmission capacity is expected to gain reliability after the completion of the Bawana-Bamnoli-Ballabhgarh 400 KV Double Circuit Ring Main Transmission Line, capable of carrying approximately 4000 MW of power. The final section of this transmission line is expected to be completed by the end of April,2003. Side by side, arrangements have been tied up with Himachal Pradesh and Uttranchal to further augment power supply, which has faced an unprecedented upsurge in demand in 2002-2003.
  The water treatment capacity of Delhi Jal Board has been augmented from 580 MGD to 650 MGD per day. The 140 MGD Water Treatment Plant at Sonia Vihar is likely to be completed by December,2003. Sewerage treatment capacity has increased from 284 MGD to 512.4 MGD by constructing new treatment plants.
  Over the last 3 years, 700 kms. of new water lines have been laid and 1000 kms of corroded water pipelines replaced with substantial additions carried out during the year.
  My Government has persuaded the Central Government to include the cleaning of the Yamuna under Phase-II of the JBIC funded Yamuna Action Plan. An encouraging development has been that Rs.379 crores have been assigned for the construction of two STPs at Keshopur and Okhla, rehabilitation of two Trunk Sewers at Ring Road and Bela Road and construction of the Wazirabad Trunk Sewer. The fund in the form of grant will flow in the current financial year (2003-2004).
  A scheme for the sale of potable water in 20 litre containers begun in South and South-West Delhi has become popular. A new programme to encourage rainwater harvesting has been started under which Resident Welfare Associations/Group Housing Societies adopting water-harvesting measures, are provided 50% of the total cost of the project, subject to a maximum of Rs.50,000/-. Apart from 163 installations of DJB where Rain Water Harvesting structures have already been set up. A dedicated Cell Disseminates information to schools, resident welfare associations and cooperative group housing societies.
  A detailed action plan with single line responsibility for supervision and implementation has been put in place by the Delhi Jal Board drawing extensively upon experience gained last year in supplying water to colonies which faced shortages. In the coming summer, DJB will provide a single window for the redressal of complaints relating to water, sewerage and billing at one place.
Out of 44 resettlement colonies, a sewerage system is now in place in 42 colonies. Out of 135 urban villages, sewerage has been provided in 93 villages. The treated effluent of about 100 MGD is presently being used for irrigating and horticulture purposes.
The year 2003 has been declared by my Government as the ‘Year of Conservation’ of our most precious resources i.e. Water and Power.
One of the landmark achievements of the year was the inauguration of the Metro project and the operationalisation of the Shahdara-Tis Hazari corridor, inaugurated by the Prime Minister on December 24, 2002 on schedule. We now look forward to the next milestone, which is the Tis Hazari-Tri Nagar corridor, which is expected to be commissioned by the end of September, this year. My Government has already invested Rs.1101 crores in this shining endeavor and has brought back on track the proposal to lay the third line of the system from Barakhamba Road to Dwarka as a replacement alternative as the ridership is expected to be high in this corridor.
A visionary transport policy has been announced by my Government in October,2002 after consultation with all stakeholders. This is the first time that such an initiative has been taken in any metropolis and the objective is to achieve a balanced mix of multi-modal transport. A range of measures are envisaged which include induction of high capacity and electric trolley buses on a location specific basis, to augment DTC services and further wean people away from personalized transport. Bicycles and rickshaws are also to be accommodated by encouraging the use of identified cycle tracks currently being surveyed by an expert group from IIT Delhi.
Delhi transport has completely switched to the CNG mode. DTC now owns more than 2500 CNG buses making it the largest eco-friendly fleet in the world. A pilot project for automatic tracking of buses has been introduced which will improve bus availability through better scheduling.
The construction of new inter-state bus terminals is on the anvil and expressions of interest have been invited for construction on BOT basis at Dwarka and Narela. The Sarai Kale Khan ISBT is also at an advanced stage of planning.
Nearly 100 Road Safety Clubs have been established in schools and a scheme for involving NGOs in road safety has been launched.
Commuter grievances have been taken note of and it is now mandatory for auto rickshaws to use electronic meters. A range of enforcement measures has been put in place to help the commuter and promptly respond to complaints received at the Helpline.
The issue of driving licenses in each zonal office have been computerized. Euro-II norms have been made applicable to both public and private vehicles and non-complying vehicles are not granted registration in the city.
The NCR Regional Plan 2021 and Master Plan Delhi 2021, it is hoped, will address the problems of the ever increasing population pressure on Delhi. Delhi has increasingly attracted an extraordinary number of migrants, making it extremely difficult to sustain the provision of amenities and services. The present trend indicates that if no remedial measures are taken, the population of the National Capital Territory is likely to go beyond 22.42 million by the year 2021, which would cause tremendous strain on an already over stretched infrastructure. Delhi has taken the lead in pursuing the Regional Rail Network Project, which will provide inter-changes for the Metro for commuters coming from Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Sahibabad, which would serve to decongest Delhi. The revised MoU is to be signed between the Central Government, the Governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi and the entire DPR was prepared and funded at the initiative of my Government.
During the last 4 years, 14 flyovers have been completed and the important ones at Safdarjung, Maya Puri, Andrews Ganj and Dhaula Kuan are nearing completion. 11 more flyovers are under construction which taken together will greatly ease the traffic congestion.
In order to facilitate extension of remand of prisoners without having to physically transport them to various courts, my Government has approved the introduction of video linkage between the jails and the court complex.
Initiatives begun in 2001-2002 to give a modern shape to three Disaster Management Control Centres at Lakshmi Nagar, Rohini and Nehru Place bore fruit, with the acquisition of 3 state-of-art Hazmat Vans which have since become operational. Meanwhile the security of the Delhi Secretariat was entrusted to the Delhi Police.
The Fire Department has plans to set up 22 new fire stations, which are expected to be ready by 2005. This will give much better coverage to the areas on the periphery of the city.
The largest jail in the country at Tihar is to expand its capacity and a new district jail at Rohini is nearing completion.
New industrial areas are being developed to relocate industries operating in residential/non-conforming areas of Delhi. Sixteen thousand three hundred ninety four(16,394) plots/flats have already been allotted to the applicants at Bawana and other industrial areas. Bawana’s housing for labour called ‘Rajiv Gandhi Awas Yojna’ is the first ever housing project for labour in an industrial area. Delhi Development Authority has been requested to provide 2,700 acres more to accommodate the remaining industries. Acquisition proceedings in respect of 437.50 acres of land have already been initiated.
With a view to containing water pollution in the industrial estates, 15 Common Effluent Treatment Plants(CETPs) are being established. Ten out of these have since been completed. Four more are likely to be completed by the end of December,2003.
As a result of efforts made by the Environment & Forest Department in raising forestry plantations, the forest cover in Delhi according to the latest report of the Forest Survey of India, has increased from 26 sq kms to 88 sq kms, an increase of more than 300%.
Extensive monitoring of the removal of garbage, malba and stray animals by the local bodies has brought about substantial improvement in general cleanliness in many parts of the city. Deficiencies still remain which are being addressed by stationing mobile magistrates to fine for littering. The segregation of garbage from household to landfill sites is being taken up on a mission mode. For the first time modern clean toilets have been constructed all over Delhi.
The Slum & JJ Department of MCD have been provided substantial outlay to execute schemes for environmental improvement of urban slums, rehabilitation of katra dwellers, construction of Jan Suvidha Complexes, Community Halls and Shishu Vatikas. 27 Community Centres have been completed up to January this year and in addition the repair and renovation of 60 Chaupals in urban villages is under way.
The role played by the children of Delhi in the past four years in various environment-related activities has been really praise-worthy. Involvement of school children not only leads to public awareness about environmental issues but also enhances the movement for recycling waste. The children from the eco-club schools have enthusiastically adopted the ‘Anti-crackers’, ‘Khelo Holi Naturally’ the ‘Clean Yamuna’ and ‘Seat-Belts’ campaigns, which signify a movement away from noise, water, air, chemical pollution while positively promoting road safety. Eco-clubs have been established in 1161 schools and 67 colleges of Delhi.
The implementation of the ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ (Education For All Project) has commenced with an effort to bring children in the age groups of 6-14 who have not been attending schools, into the fold of the educational system. Under Bhagidari ‘Vidyalaya Kalyan Samities’ have been constituted in 636 Government schools and the results have been excellent. Financial and administrative authority has been delegated to the Samities, which can now attend to urgent needs including petty repairs in school buildings. The Principals have been given direct charge for cash grants for supply of uniforms, stipends and scholarships to the children. Free text books and uniform subsidy are being supplied to all students of primary classes irrespective of the parents’ income.
There has been a marked improvement in the results of the Government schools which saw 83.59% success rate last year at the Senior Secondary Examination.
This year there has been a quantum jump in the acquisition of plots for schools. 47 plots have been acquired from DDA and another 5 plots of Gaon Sabha land have been allotted for new school buildings. This was done after a detailed exercise on the requirement for new schools was undertaken on a district-wise basis. 1200 SPS class rooms have also been constructed.
An integrated Polytechnic-cum-ITI is to be started for the disabled at Dwarka. A new Engineering College is also planned to be set up at Geeta Colony for which the planning phase is over.
Delhi’s rich cultural and educational heritage is closely intertwined with the Delhi University and its various constituent colleges. Mindful of the condition of some old colleges/Delhi university buildings, which have deteriorated over the years and recognizing their contribution to the cause of higher education, my Government has decided to extend a one time grant-in-aid assistance for the preservation of selected buildings in Delhi University.
The emphasis of the Government has been on strengthening primary healthcare while at the same time providing secondary healthcare facilities close to the people by removing geographical imbalances.
The Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital, Rohini has started functioning and would be further expanded to a 300 bed capacity by the month end. The construction of a Dental College building at MAMC Campus has been completed. A two hundred bedded Satyavadi Harish Chander Hospital at Narela is to be commissioned shortly. The 200 bedded Dr. Hedgewar Arogya Sansthan at Karkardooma will shortly start patient care services. Five Health Care Centres for Primary care have already been opened and another seven would be opened before the end of the current financial year. Delhi has become the first city in the country to introduce MMR and Hepatitis-B vaccine in routine immunization programme.
It has been decided to set-up an Institute of Live & Biliary Sciences at Vasant Kunj, the first of its kind in Asia. Construction of a 200-bedded Pediatiric Super-Specialty hospital at Geeta Colony and a 650-bedded Rajiv Gandhi Super-Speciality hospital at Tahirpur has also started.
To cater to the expanding population of the Trans Yamuna area, a State of the Art Multi Slice Spiral CT Scan has been installed at GTB Hospital and in addition a Thalassemia Care Centre, Eye Bank, Neurosurgery operation theatre, a Cancer OPD and private rooms services have been opened in the GTB Hospital which will reduce the inconvenience faced by residents, earlier.
Nearly 1000 poor and needy patients suffering from life threatening diseases have been assisted under the Aarogya Nidhi Programme.
Under the Japanese Debt Relations Grant Assistance, autoclaves and shredders have been provided in the Government hospitals and the excess capacity has been offered to nearly 1500 other players to promote safe disposal of medical waste. The Centre for Occupational & Environmental Health has trained nearly 4000 workers in implementing the provisions of Bio-Waste Management and handling rules which has greatly improved safety standards in hospitals.
With a view to helping the beneficiaries of Old Age Pension, the Electronic Clearance System of RBI has been adopted. The working women hostel building at Vishwas Nagar has been completed and its management has been handed over to a voluntary organization. ‘Stree Kosh’ (Gender Resource Centres) have been set up at Shahbad Daulatpur and Kalyanpuri where women from the weaker sections are being provided a package of services including skill upgradation. Their success will lead to many more such centres being set up all over Delhi.
A special thrust is being given to the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act and to make the adoption of its provisions a way of life. A Disabilities Commissioner has already been appointed for co-ordinating all such efforts. A school building for the hearing impaired has been completed at Mayur Vihar.
A decision has been taken to set-up a Commission for Safai Karamcharis. This Commission will provide a much-needed forum to the safai karamcharis to seek redressal of their grievances.
Financial assistance is being extended for the Scheduled Castes population to enable them to become self-employed. Through various training programmes and loans for operating commercial vehicles and run small businesses, more than 11,000 beneficiaries have received support to enable them to stand on their own.
The empowerment of women, especially those from the economically weaker sections of the society has a special place among the priorities of my Government. ‘Stree Shakti’, an integrated project for women’s empowerment concentrates on three areas of intervention: health, literacy and income generation. Seventy nine Stree Shakti camps were held at various parts of Delhi in the last one year which provided medical check-ups and undertook registration for educational and vocational training to over 65,000 women.
The Delhi Commission for Women have set up Mahila Panchayats/legal awareness groups, family counseling units and a helpline which receives around 50 calls a day from women in distress who are given guidance and advise on how to tackle their predicament.
Within this year, my Government would bring forward a policy for senior citizens so that they can avail of basic facilities on the strength of identification and preference in the provision of services. A proposal to create a ‘Senior Citizen Council’ is underway.
Another major priority for my Government is to start a Scheme for Housing for the working class and the lower middle class who today live in rented accommodation with all its attendant problems. The Government will initiate a scheme for the provision of low cost housing for people who can buy such units to reduce dependency upon rented housing. In the absence of land not being with the elected Government, quick implementation of this scheme gets hampered.
My Government has constituted a Delhi Rural Development Board under the Chairmanship of Minister of Development to study the drawbacks in the existing infrastructure and formulate an overall plan for speedy implementation of projects and schemes in rural areas.
Floriculture and Vegetable cultivation are being given an impetus and programmes for training in-soil productivity and seed certification are being organized to encourage a movement away from traditional farming to adopt more remunerative alternatives.
The renovation and construction of new Chaupals in rural areas has been taken up in the meantime.
Measures to clean up village ponds have been continuing and by now 65 water bodies have received attention.
The Department of Art & Culture has undertaken major initiatives by organizing festivals for effective cultural co-operation and mutual understanding with major cities of the world. The ‘Asian Performing Arts Festival in Delhi & Tokyo’ and ‘The Days of St. Petersburg in Delhi’, besides several other cultural and social events have been successfully organized.
A new public library is shortly to be set up in “Mahal of Qudusia Begum”.
Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation has opened a unique project, the Garden of Five Senses at Said-ul-Ajaib which has been a major attraction.
My Government has striven to provide good governance through Bhagidari, the Right to Information Act and the use of Information Technology to make the process of governance citizen-centric, responsive and transparent.
‘Bhagidari’ the Citizen-Government partnership stems from our conviction that an effective Government needs the active participation of its citizens. A modest beginning made with 20 Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWAs) in the year 2000 has now spread to more than 1200 citizen groups of RWAs, Market and Traders Associations, Industrial Associations and Women’s Groups who have been participating wholeheartedly in addressing issues which affect their daily lives. The Bhagidari scheme has received international recognition and appreciation. It was chosen as one of the semi-finalists amongst 150 international entries for the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management(CAPAM) International Innovations Award,2002.
A model Delhi Cooperative Societies Bill devolving greater autonomy on cooperative institutions while ensuring accountability in implementing the provisions of the statute is being brought forward shortly. A dynamic website has also been launched which provides details of all Housing Cooperative Societies, their membership and includes dates when the audit, elections are due which will demystify the status of every society.
The Right to Information Act has brought about an openness and transparency in governance. It enables the people to seek information from a department through statutory means. The Public Grievances Commission further gives the right to the citizen to ask questions and seek satisfactory answers.
A major milestone was crossed with the introduction of Electronic Governance in MCD through a project providing civic services on an interactive web site started last month. This innovative project provides air conditioned Citizens Services Bureaus which extend on-line services for booking of parks and community centres, issue birth & death certificates, factory, trade and health licences and collection of various dues, from the citizens. The entire construction work to be undertaken by the MCD is also now available on the internet linked to the Delhi Planning Department’s website. This will enable citizens to know what is planned for specific areas and to keep track of completion dates.
The MCD introduced a major reform process during the year. The Expert Committee on property tax submitted a report on the Unit Area Method of property taxation recommending to my Government a switch over from the current system based on rateable values. This path-breaking reform will bring in a rationalized system of taxation enabling self-assessment by citizens and put an end to the ‘Inspector Raj’. The Cabinet has accepted the concept and the Municipal Corporation is making preparations to introduce the new system as soon as the legislation is approved.
A project for computerization of registration of properties in Delhi based on the Hong-Kong model has been undertaken and the offices of the Sub-Registrar (South-West) and Sub-Registrar (South) have been computerized.
The web based “Tender Information System” has been developed in house, and p;ut in use from February1, 2003. More than 270 tender issuing authorities have been provided a user ID and password and more than 600 suppliers have registered online so far. This should make the process of procurement open and transparent and encourage more players to participate.
In an articulation of a reform agenda last year, I had spoken about competition, transparency and innovativeness. In pursuance of that, my Government has declared a policy on outsourcing capital works through project management contractors and third party quality certification. The projects being outsourced within the year include construction of a new bridge at Wazirabad, a 500 bedded hospital at Dwarka, the campuses of the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University at Dwarka and Suraj Mal Vihar and two new ISBTs. The Delhi Jal Board has also appointed a third party inspection system to oversee the quality of construction.
In keeping with our aim of adopting the newest technology, a Road Surfacing Policy was brought forward whereby it has been decided to use cement concrete on new roads exposed to heavy traffic concentration. Newer technologies like micro surfacing, the use of white topping fibre reinforced surfacing and polymer/rubber modified bitumen have also been approved, to be introduced in a phased manner, to increase durability and riding quality of Delhi roads.
As the Government enters the end of this tenure it can look back with satisfaction upon the work that has been done these past four years. The edifice rests upon three pillars citizen/Government partnership, an agenda for reform and reliance on appropriate technology. In its fifth year, the Government has to strive to consolidate achievements and reaffirm its resolve to provide good governance through careful planning and implementation of programmes. It has to tighten the delivery of public service so that they reach the poorest sections of society while at the same time ensure the quality of such services. The social security cover has to be widened to include those among the poor and weaker sections who have remained marginalized despite efforts. It is for this purpose that the Government is in the process of finalizing a Human Development Report for Delhi, which would articulate concerns and priorities for human development and address issues of freedom and equity. It would also enable initiation of affirmative action to mainstream such disadvantaged groups at the earliest.
I have broadly outlined the important policies and programmes as well as the thrust areas identified by my Government for implementation. The Finance Minister will spell out the details in his Budget speech. I am sure that with the help and co-operation of the members of this august House, supported by the hard work of the Officers and staff and the Bhagidari with our citizen groups, the programmes of the Government will see expeditious fruition.
I wish you all success in your deliberations and hope that they will be productive.