English version of Speech by Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, in Delhi Assembly on 4 April 2018
Watch the full speech here:
Honourable Speaker, it is a shame for all of Delhi, the entire society and for all parties that five of our Sanitation Worker brothers are on an indefinite hunger strike and today is the 16th day. The day before yesterday, they had come to meet me. Their demands are very basic, to make them permanent in their jobs. Many such workers are working for twenty years or more in MCD, but are still on contract today and work on a minimum wage. Now their children have grown up, they worry how to get them married, how to make both ends meet. A contract worker can be dismissed any day. Their demands are legitimate. There are two issues here. Firstly, all of us know that BJP runs the MCD. Today, if Aam Aadmi Party had been running the MCD, I believe all the workers would have been made permanent by now. One issue is, what is BJP’s stance regarding Dalits and Sanitation Workers, and secondly, today when garbage is strewn all over Delhi, what does the BJP thinks its responsibility towards Delhi is. In the last few years, we have seen that whilst BJP rules in the centre, and in many states too, the atrocities against Dalits has increased. BJP’s character is such, the character of people associated with BJP is such, that they are anti-Dalits, they consider Dalits as untouchables.
(When the Opposition bench started protesting)
Honourable Speaker, Truth is always bitter. I can understand the anger erupting in the Leader of Opposition when he hears the truth. In the last 3-4 years, Dalits have been murdered. It cannot be a coincidence that day before yesterday, when there were protests by Dalits across the country, all the deaths that occurred, were in BJP ruled states. This is not a mere coincidence. I was appreciating the foresight of Babasaheb Ambedkar. He wrote it in the Constitution itself that all are equal. He wrote it in the Constitution that each will have a vote. Honourable Speaker, if the Dalits did not have a vote today, how they would have been harassed by the BJP, just thinking about it gives me goosebumps. This is the way the BJP thinks. Sirsaji’s earlier statement exposes his thinking, it did not come out accidentally, this kind of a feeling resides inside him.
Now, let’s come to the condition they ( the BJP ) have left Delhi in. Swachh Bharat has just become an event management, wherein a few guys brandish a broom. Under Swachh Bharat, there isn’t a single narrow road that has been cleaned, show me if there is one. Thousands of crores have been wasted by them in the name of Swachh Bharat, but not a single road has been cleaned in the entire country. Why? Who will do it? Not the ones posing for a photo-opportunity, it has to be done by the Sanitation workers, isn’t it? If you are unfair to them, if you don’t give them their rights, if you don’t show them due respect, Swachh Bharat can never be successful.
Today, it is a matter of great shame that five of our brothers are on an indefinite hunger strike. Firstly, the Urban Development minister is here, I instruct him in the floor of the House to immediately direct the Director, Local Bodies, to issue notifications to all the three MCD’s that all the Sanitation Workers on contract basis should be made permanent.
(standing ovation and thumping of the desks in the Assembly).
Secondly, we can only issue instructions to make them permanent, but (addressing the Opposition benches) you have to make them permanent. Am sad that…we had wanted to make the Guest Teachers permanent too. But “Services” are not with us. We passed a Cabinet resolution that we shall make the Guest Teachers permanent. They said, no, no, you don’t have the powers to do it. Ok, if we don’t have the powers, you have the powers. Please do it. Either you do it, or let us do it. Please implement any one of the options. When we ask you to do it, you retort back saying, no, you do it. We have not seen such doublespeak anywhere else.
Well, we have to understand the core value of the BJP is that they do not want to make Sanitation workers permanent. You can see Gujarat, all are on contracts. I had been to Haryana recently, there too all are being kept on contracts. In Delhi, if “Services” come under us, we will show the way how such workers can be made permanent.
During the 49-day stint of our Government, we had set up a committee to decide on the permanency of Sanitation workers, and as soon as our Government was formed again, the Cabinet had moved a resolution, principles were laid down, preparations were being done in each department, but by then a “wrong” High Court order arrived, depriving us of “Services”. So, firstly, they should be made permanent immediately. We shall issue necessary instructions, (addressing the Opposition benches), but will you do it?
(Vijendra Gupta squirms uncomfortably in his seat). Will you do it? Yes or No? What was the problem in making Guest Teachers permanent? I sincerely hope all the Sanitation Workers are following the proceedings of this Assembly, and can separate the wheat from the chaff. I asked them face to face, in front of everybody, I had similarly asked them in front of all Guest Teachers, do you want to make them permanent, or not? They remained silent. Today too we are asking, we are giving directions to our minister, will you implement it? The reply is “You implement yours first”. (Laughing) We’ll take care of ours, you implement yours.
The next issue is about arrears. I say, make them permanent first, and for arrears, I am presenting proper solutions here. Firstly, the Delhi Government does not have unlimited funds. It is fortunate that in Delhi we have an honest Government, we utilise the available funds responsibly. (Addressing the Opposition benches) Learn from us, how one can run the Government finances responsibly. The people of Delhi give Rs. 1.5 Lakh Crores by way of Income Tax. The Central Government has recently set up a Central Finance Commission, to decide how to apportion the share of each State from all the Income Tax collections throughout the country. For your information, although the Central Government collects all the Income Tax, it is not allowed to spend it. All of it is to be distributed amongst the various states. Delhi provides for the maximum amount of Income Tax collections amongst all the cities and states in the country. The Total Income Tax collection throughout the country is Rs. 9 Lakh Crores, out of which Delhi contributes Rs. 1.5 Lakh Crores. The Central Government has given a list of States to the Central Finance Commission, amongst which the Income Tax collections have to be apportioned. Delhi does not even get a mention in this list. After contributing such a huge amount in Income Tax, don’t we have the right to lead a life in clean surroundings and environment? Don’t the people of Delhi have the right of at least Rs. 2000 Crores to be returned to them, out of their contribution of Rs. 1.5 Lakh Crores? At least add Delhi to the list of States. It’s as if Delhi does not exist. They say Delhi is a Union Territory. For Union Territories, the Central Government gives a 100% of the budget. In that case, give us all the money, all of Rs. 52,000 Crores that is Delhi’s budget. Either we are a Union Territory, or we are a State. When it comes to allocating funds to us, they consider us as neither a Union Territory, nor a State. If Delhi is a Union Territory, give us Rs. 52,000 Crores, or it is a State, including in the list how much of the Rs. 1.5 Lakh Crores is Delhi’s rightful share. They don’t give us a single paisa, our name itself is missing from the list. I checked it now in the website. The Delhi Government shall approach the Supreme Court for this, and shall demand its right. A wrong and unfair deal has been meted out to us, to the people of Delhi.
(Addressing the Opposition benches) You keep demanding funds from us as per the Finance Commission report. You go and tell the Central Government, to allocate funds to us from the Central Finance Commission, and whatever funds arrive, 50% of it will be yours, for the MCDs. 50% for the Delhi Government, and 50% for the MCDs. Whatever you can bring in, 50% is yours.
Well this is all wishful thinking, neither are you going to do anything, nor is anything going to happen. But we shall approach the Courts. Coming to what is possible,
In 2013-14, under Congress rule, NDMC was given Rs. 900 Crores.
In 2014-15, under BJP control during President’s Rule, NDMC was given Rs. 545 Crores only
We in Aam Aadmi Party did not do politics, we believed NDMC is ours.
In 2016-17, under Aam Aadmi Party, NDMC was given Rs. 1318 Crores, nearly three times what the BJP managed.
In 2017-18, under Aam Aadmi Party, NDMC has been given Rs. 1175 Crores till Jan, and more till March.
Irrespective of whatever formula was used, Aam Aadmi Party has given three times the funds the BJP gave to NDMC. When we asked them on what did you spend the money, they refuse to give any accounts.
Similarly, to East MCD, In 2013-14, under Congress, Rs. 287 Crores was given. In 2014-15, under BJP, Rs. 396 Crores was given. Last year, under Aam Aadmi Party, R. 948 Crores, was given, nearly three times again. They swallowed the funds, all of it!
In spite of this, whenever a conversation starts, all that they demand is more money. You will one day drown in all this money. All the money has been swindled. Now, I want to propose some solutions. DDA belongs to the people of Delhi, not to anyone’s father. A suitable law is passed, and all of Delhi’s land becomes DDA’s, for free. By selling off pieces of land on a regular basis, DDA has accumulated an Urban Development Fund, which is Rs. 21,000 Crores. This has been deposited in a Fixed Deposit, with interest accruing. If this interest for one year is handed over to the MCDs, all its arrears can be wiped out. And this can be done, provided the LG, Chairman of DDA, agrees to it and calls a Board meeting. This is one way of solving the problem of arrears, as the money belongs to the people of Delhi, and having clean surroundings is the topmost prority for Delhiites.
The Central Government grants funds to each Municipality of each State at the rate of Rs. 488 per person, throughout the country. Not a single paisa is granted to Delhi. As per 2011 census, Delhi has a population of 1.6 Crores. We said, at the rate of Rs. 488 per person, in 5 years, this amounts to Rs. 4087 Crores.
(Addressing the Opposition benches) You arrange to deliver this amount to us in the morning, we shall hand over the entire amount to MCD by the evening, we won’t retain anything with ourselves. So friends, possible solutions do exist. I would like to state in the floor of this House that if they make all the Sanitation Workers permament, let them draw funds from the Urban Development fund and the other fund and clear the Workers’ arrears. On the other hand, if they only make the Workers permanent, and do not pay their arrears, I shall ensure that the next grant that comes will be entirely for clearing the arrears.
(Addressing the Opposition benches) At least make the Sanitation Workers permanent, we shall then find funds from somewhere for clearing the arrears. Honourable Speaker, this is an urgent matter. Therefore, I demand that all the Sanitation Workers on contract be made permanent. The five of our brothers who are at the moment sitting on an indefinite hunger strike, we are very concerned about their health. I request them with folded hands to break their fast, your lives are precious to all of us, please break your fasts. The entire House, Delhi’s Chief Minister, the Delhi Government is with you, in your struggle, till our last breath.