The First Delhi Legislative Assembly

(Budget Session)

20th DECEMBER, 1993

           Mr. Speaker, Sir and Hon’ble Members,

1. Today is an important day in the political and constitutional history of Delhi. Delhi has its own Legislative Assembly after a gap of around four decades and this is the first session of the newly elected Legislative Assembly. I welcome you all to your new duties and responsibilities as elected representatives of the people and wish and pray that your deliberations are purposeful and strengthen the institutions of representative democracy in the National Capital.
2. I would also like to take this opportunity of complimenting the people of Delhi, the voters, the leaders and workers of political parties, and the administration at all levels for having conducted a General Election which has been widely acknowledged as peaceful and fair.
3. The constitutional arrangement under which this Legislative Assembly has been formed is very delicate and finely balanced. It will need goodwill and vision on the part of all concerned to work this arrangement successfully on the ground. While Delhi does not have full Statehood and the Government of the National Capital Territory does not enjoy the same powers and jurisdiction as the State Government in the country, it needs to be stated that in the area of responsibility entrusted to this Government sufficient legislative and executive powers are available to enable it to work for the betterment of the life of the people of this City. For all practical purposes, Government of NCT of Delhi will be expected to function like a State Government in respect of the functions assigned to it.
4. Although my Government will continue to strive for full Statehood for Delhi, it intends to make full use of the present arrangement to work for a better Delhi and to redeem the many pledges made to the people in the recent General Elections.
5. The subjects of Public Order, Police, and Land have been excluded from the authority of this Government. However, considering the constant and wide interface between the Police and Land on the one hand and the other functions of a State Government on the other, it will become necessary that the Legislative Assembly and the Council of Ministers are involved in the administration of these subjects by the Central Government. I am confident that conventions and methods will be evolved to ensure necessary consultation with the elected representatives of the people in matters relating to public order and all the various aspects of management of land.
6. I am in a position to state that the new Government has been personally assured by the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of India that their Government would extend the fullest support to the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi in the discharge of its functions. All State Governments need the assistance, help and support of the Union Government. Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi enjoys a special relationship with the Union Government. It will be the constant endeavour of my Government to seek the support of the Government of India in the service of the people of the City.
7. Fears have been expressed in certain circles about the role of the Lt. Governor in the new set up. The position of the Lt. Governor has acquired to an extent new dimensions. Besides being the nominee of the President for exercise of various executive and statutory powers, he will now be expected to work as a Constitutional Head of State acting mostly on the advice of the Council of Ministers. He is also a crucial bridge between the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Central Government. I wish to assure all the members of this august House and the members of the Council of Ministers that I will be keen to discharge my new responsibility with a sincerity of purpose and with the interests of the people in my heart, and with full respect for the right of the elected representatives of the people to determine the direction of the local administration.
8. A number of promises were made to the people of Delhi at the time of the General Elections. I wish to state that the Government will be taking all possible action to fulfill the promises made. The most important and basic promise is that we shall all work for a better Delhi, a beautiful Delhi, a greener and a cleaner Delhi. A City which is not starved of drinking water; a City which does not have to suffer the torture of frequent interruption in power supply; a City where safe and adequate transport is available to all citizens; a City where people do not have to defecate in the open; a City where children do not have to study under tents; a City where the common man can live and work in safety and dignity; a City its citizens and the country can be proud of.
9. My Government is committed to providing a clean, efficient, corruption-free, responsive and responsible Government to the people of Delhi. As a part of this commitment, a Directorate of Public Grievances was set up, as soon as the Government took office, for dealing with complaints of individual citizens. Very soon action will be taken to set up a Lok Ayukt who will have the authority to look into complaints even against the Ministers. The Government hopes that Government of India will agree to set up a suitable machinery for redressal of public complaints against the police personnel. The Government have already announced its decision to divide Delhi into nine Districts with a view to taking the administration close to the people and ensuring speedier attention to the peoples’ problems. It is proposed to hold elections for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in the first week of February. A proposal has been submitted to the Government of India for providing for elections to New Delhi Municipal Committee. As recommended by Balakrishnan Committee on Reorganisation of Delhi Set up, it has been proposed that half the members of the New Delhi Municipal Committee should be elected and the other half nominated b y the Government. Pending the new legislation on the subject, our Government will explore with the Government of India the possibility of nominating as an interim measure all the members of the NDMC with a view to ensuring that the affairs of the civic body are managed by eminent citizens themselves. It will, thus, be noted that the Government has already taken a few steps to fulfill its promise of providing a responsive and responsible Government.
10. The Capital’s major problem and worry is the rate at which its population is growing. We add about four hundred thousand people to the City every year which really means that a major city is being added to the metropolis every year. Half of the increase in population is occasioned by immigration of people from outside consisting mostly of unskilled and semi-skilled workers. Such a huge immigration places a heavy strain on all the civic services; drinking water, electricity, roads, transport, sanitation with the obvious but unfortunate result that all the civic services seem to be bursting at their seams. The results are there for every one to see. We have hundreds of Jhuggi Jhopri Clusters. We have a large population of people living on the streets; unauthorized colonies; pollution of an order which places Delhi amongst one of the most polluted cities of the world. The City has become too crowded and too congested. While every effort will be made to increase water supply, generate and supply more power, build more roads and improve the existing ones, increase the level of public transport, and build more houses, disperse wholesale markets etc. the ultimate answer to the problem lies in following the concept and philosophy of the National Capital Region which aims at ensuring a balanced development of the whole region, dispersing trade and commerce and industry over a bigger area and even dispersing Central Government offices in the satellite towns around Delhi. While the Government will certainly like to provide a favorable climate for industry, trade and commerce to flourish, it would like to do so without jeopardizing the very future of this City as a livable place. Therefore, the Government would like to encourage trade and industry to progressively think in terms of spreading themselves out to various places in the National Capital Region.
11. The problem of the urban poor in the National Capital has acquired huge proportions. More than half of its population lives in sub-standard areas. Almost three to four million people living in sub-human conditions in J.J. Clusters, do not have access even to the most basic services like toilets, garbage disposal, drinking water or electricity. It will be a major priority of the new Government to address itself to this problem of the poor and the disadvantaged. All out efforts will be made for improving the living conditions in the Jhuggi Jhopri Clusters and the resettlement colonies. Massive efforts will be made for the provision of community toilets and garbage disposal in these areas. A scheme is also being drawn up for the provision of individual electric connection to each jhuggi in J.J. Clusters. All the basic urban services will continue to be provided to every J.J. Cluster till it is relocated.
12. Civic services in the trans-Yamuna area are particularly deficient. It is proposed to set up a Development Authority for this area.
13. Special efforts will also be made to clean the Yamuna River and restore its original sanctity.
14. Local generation of power accounts for about one-third of our total requirement. We will like to increase local generation in a big way with a view to progressively reducing dependence on the Northern Grid. Private sector participation in generation of power will be encouraged. A State Electricity Board will be set up for ensuring better management of the power sector.
15. The Capital faces shortage of drinking water from time to time, particularly in summer months. Government will seek a more equitable distribution of Yamuna waters. Some of the shortages arise due to deficiencies in the distribution network. The distribution system will be rationalized and strengthened. A Water & Sewage Disposal Board is proposed to be set up for improving the state of services in this sector.
16. A large number of citizens face hardship and harassment in obtaining sanctions for building plans, completion certificates, water and electric connections etc. A special drive is proposed to be launched to streamline the relevant procedures and to simplify them.
17. The City suffers from a severe shortage of housing stock. Against an estimated requirement of around one lac houses per year, the annual addition to the housing stock averages around eight to ten thousand. This deficiency is basically responsible for the growth of unauthorized colonies. While it is proposed to make a recommendation to the Government of India for regularization of unauthorized colonies which have come up before 31st March,1993, it is proposed to take measures for the construction of one lac dwelling units per year. Such a massive effort will be possible only if owners of land, the private builders, cooperative housing societies, public as well as private employers are encouraged to participate in the housing sector in a big way. The Government also proposes to set up a Slum Board which will be responsible for relocating the people living in Jhuggi Jhonpri Clusters for which purpose it will be constructing Janta Flats.
18. According to the National Housing Policy, the State should promote housing through provision of “Sites and services” and not by actual construction of houses. It is proposed to follow this approach so that public agencies concentrate their energy and resources on the development of land and provision of services leaving private individuals, private builders, cooperative group housing societies and the employers to build houses. The only major exception could be the proposed Slum Board which will be expected to construct Janta Flats as a part of their relocation programme.
19. Housing shortage is also proposed to be met by exploring the possibility of allowing an additional floor to each house or granting additional F.A.R. of 25 per cent to existing dwelling units. Such an approach has major implications in relation to urban planning and provision of services. It will be examined in depth and suitable proposals made to the Government of India very soon.
20. Unauthorised constructions and encroachment on public land have scarred the face of this beautiful city. The Government is determined to deal effectively with this problem which has assumed alarming proportions. Strict and immediate action will b e taken against any unauthorized construction or grabbing of public land. Not only will the unauthorized construction be demolished and unauthorized occupation of public land be vacated, but criminal action will be taken against the guilty persons. Particular focus would be on those who grab public land for commercial purposes. Penal action will be taken against land grabbers and unauthorized colonizers; disciplinary as well as penal action will be taken against public servants conniving at their illegal activities. While all unauthorized colonies which have come up before 31st March,1993, are proposed to be regularized, no unauthorized construction will be allowed after 1.4.1993. For ensuring a clean and livable City, it is necessary that it grows in a planned manner and the buildings are constructed according to the prescribed bye-laws. Hence, the Government’s determination to launch a drive against unauthorized constructions and land grabbing.
21. Scheduled Castes constitute almost one-fifth of the population of the City. Their welfare will be a continuing concern for the Government.
22. My Government is committed to help the senior citizens beyond the age of 65 by way of grant of old age pension. A beginning will be made in the coming year for those living in rural areas and J.J. Clusters.
23. In the absence of a rail-based transportation system, the City’s roads are heavily congested. Delhi has more than two million motor vehicles which is more than the combined population of motor vehicles of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras Put together. The Mass Rapid Transit System, popularly known as ‘the Metro’, has therefore, become a matter of great urgency for the City. It is ironic that while MRTS is one of the biggest needs of the City, we do not have the money for it. The Government will be looking to the Government of India for full financial support for this project with a view to establishing at least its major corridors before the end of the century. Steps will be taken to progressively provide an efficient and affordable public transport with a view to discouraging the use of personal transport and as one of the solutions to traffic jams.
24. Welfare of Government employees is very dear to the Government of N.C.T. While it will continue to plead with the Government of India about matters relating to their pay and allowances and other terms and conditions of service, it would like to increase availability of staff housing and office accommodation. A Staff Welfare Housing Society has been recently established with the purpose of promotion of private housing accommodation for the Government employees.
25. With a view to improving the performance of hospital services, it is proposed to set up a local advisory committee for each Government hospital and a Central Coordination Committee for providing guidance in respect of all programmes of medical and health care and family welfare.
26. Delhi has the pride of being a Metropolitan City with people drawn from all parts of the country and abroad. It is also a major centre for higher education and learning. This character of the City will be maintained and strengthened.
27. Programmes of promotion of various languages particularly, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Sanskrit will continue to be pursued with vigour. It is proposed to give the same facilities to Punjabi, which are available to Urdu in Delhi. An Academy for the promotion of Sindhi will be formed soon.
28. Government is determined to achieve 100% literacy. A comprehensive programme will be drawn up and its first phase implemented immediately.
29. My Government will be assigning special priority to Sports, Art and Culture. We will plan sports clubs in all the 70 Assembly Constituencies and one Sports Centre and Cultural Centre in each District. A Sports Council has been set up recently for promotion of sports.
30. Despite a very fast rate of urbanization, around two-third of Delhi still consists of rural areas which account for about 10% of its total population. While my Government is keen to contain the march of urbanization within manageable limits, programmes of rural development will be expanded and all efforts will be made to provide as far as possible, civic services in rural areas at par with those in the urban areas.
31. Since the Government has been in office only for a few days, details of Legislative Business for this Session are yet to be fully drawn. However, it can be said at this stage that besides, of course, presenting the Budget, the Government would like to introduce Bills on rationalization of property tax, and establishment of a Slum Board.
32. May I conclude by reminding you once again about the historic character of the present Session of the Legislative Assembly and the expections that ordinary citizens have of their elected representatives.