Bittersweet 2012 for city govt

Regularisation of unauthorised colonies to crime against women

Regularisation of unauthorised colonies, inauguration of the first Aadhar-based cash transfer food security scheme Dilli Annashree Yojana, and launch of Kerosene-Free Dilli scheme to provide gas connection to the poor mark the biggest achievements of the Sheila Dikshit-led government in the fourteenth year of her rule.

The city also saw the first municipal elections after the trifurcation of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Dikshit came under fire for bad law and order situation.

In September, the city government managed to fulfill a long-awaited promise it made years ago. With regularisation of 895 unauthorised colonies, the Congress government managed to give relief to some 35 lakh people living in these colonies.

Buoyed by the celebrations in these colonies, Dikshit went on to declare that she will not allow a single house to be demolished — regularised or unregularised. This seemed to have blown the wind out of the opposition BJP’s sails, which always used to question the government’s intention to regularise the colonies.

The year also saw inauguration of two ambitious schemes. The launch of Kerosene-Free Dilli scheme, which aims to provide gas connection to the poor, and food security programme Dilli Annashree Yojana, which will empower women by giving them Rs 600 direct cash transfer to buy food.

Under the Kerosene-Free Dilli scheme, all Below Poverty Line families in the city and holding Antyodaya Anna Yojna cards will be given gas cylinders, regulators, two-burner stoves and rubber tubes.

The aim is to gradually make the city kerosene-free. Delhi is trying to be the first city in the country to achieve this distinction. Towards this goal, it plans to provide gas cylinders to 3,56,395 families, which are now using kerosene.

Under Dilli Annshree Yojna, a helping hand is being extended to people not covered by BPL and Antodaya Anna Yojna with monthly cash subsidy of Rs 600. It will be transferred directly to the bank account of the senior-most female member of the beneficiary family.  

It is the country’s first Aadhar-based cash transfer scheme, planned to be extended to two lakh people initially.

Besides declaring the sparrow as the state bird to protect the endangered species, banning plastic bags and gutkha products, the city government also managed to get the union government’s approval for ‘islanding’ facility to insulate Delhi from power disruption, such as the grid failure in July.

Seasonal protest

But the seasonal protest over water and power shortage was seen as usual.
While the city government was engaged in debate over introduction of foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail with Dikshit declaring that Delhi will be the first state in the country to implement it, the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old girl on December 16 put Dikshit on the back foot.

Suddenly, the government was on the defensive with news of the gang rape hitting the national conscience and the public demanding Dikshit’s resignation.

Having overused the excuse for years that she has no control over Delhi Police, Dikshit found a way out by making the police commissioner a sacrificial lamb, and demanded his resignation.

Last heard, the union home ministry is not even considering her demand.

As the year draws to a close, protest and debate over the security of women in city rages on.

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