Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Ahead of Delhi polls, AAP government and BJP-run MCD provide contrasting case studies in governance

The MCD has not only ruined the National Capital, by turning it into a garbage city, but has also put the health and lives of people of Delhi at risk by poor implementation of schemes. The MCD has also shown utter disregard for children — the future of the country — through its criminal apathy towards primary education.




Delhi has two models of governance: One espoused by the Aam Aadmi Party and the other by the Bharatiya Janata Party. AAP was elected to the Delhi government based on its promises to work on education, healthcare, water, power etc and the BJP has been tasked by the people of Delhi to run the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi Police and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).


Given the transformation of schools, hospitals, power and water supply on the one hand and the collapse of Delhi's law and order, sanitation and urban planning on the other hand, the people of Delhi have experienced the stark difference between the two models.

From a significant betrayal of the trust reposed in them by people of Delhi to gross misutilisation of funds, the MCD is an institution that showcases the misgovernance model of the BJP. 

The MCD has not only ruined the National Capital, by turning it into a garbage city, but has also put the health and lives of people of Delhi at risk by poor implementation of schemes. The MCD has also shown utter disregard for children — the future of the country — through its criminal apathy towards primary education.

Last Thursday, the AAP launched a report card of the MCD, analysing the work done in the past 12 years. The report card is a documentation of the MCD's deplorable governance, high-level corruption, disregard for fundamental rights, failure to provide a green and clean city and putting an eclipse on Delhi's future. The MCD's misrule and corruption is a cause of daily struggle for ordinary people. Delhi's streets are dirty, the three landfills are a disgrace to the city, the MCD's schools and hospitals are in total disrepair and so on.

According to the budget documents of the MCDs, the number of MCD schools in Delhi has dipped over the past decade: More than 90 schools have been closed by the MCD, while no new school has been built. (ref: MCD budget booklets)

North MCD had 765 schools in 2012-13 which reduced to 700 in 2019-20.
Number of South MCD schools fell from 587 (2014-15) to 580 (2016-17)
Number of East MCD schools fell from 387 (2014-15) to 368 (2017-18)

Significantly, 109 schools have been shut down by the MCD in the past nine years — from 1,764 in 2011-12 to 1,655 in 2019-20 and enrolment in MCD schools has declined by 2.5 lakh in the past nine years and 1.3 lakh in the past five years. That is, from 9.85 lakh in 2011-12 to 7.32 lakh in 2018-19.

The infrastructure of MCD-run schools, which are all primary schools, is very poor. Children sit on the floor in 100 North MCD schools and recently, the plaster of a school ceiling in East MCD fell injuring several children. An assessment of learning outcomes of MCD schools has revealed that the quality of education provided to children is extremely poor. As per the baseline assessment  conducted by the Department of Education in July 2016, nearly 74 percent of the students of Class 6 could not read their Hindi textbook, 67 percent of children could not do simple three-digits by one-digit division and in English, 75 percent of children could not read a Class 2-level story.

Ahead of Delhi polls, AAP government and BJP-run MCD provide contrasting case studies in governance
Representational image. IBN live


Many of the MCD schools have no security guards, and the majority have just one guard during the night only. In the absence of guards on a shift-basis, it leaves children at risk of kidnapping and other crimes. In February 2019, 10-year-old girl  was allegedly raped by a sweeper inside an MCD-run school in Shahdara district of Delhi.

A majority of MCD-run schools lack CCTV surveillance facilities, which makes children feel unsafe. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation, which runs 700 schools at 560 sites, has so far managed to instal CCTV cameras at 130 sites only, which is just about 18 percent coverage. The East MCD, meanwhile, has only managed four percent CCTV  coverage with cameras installed at just 15 schools out of a total of 351 schools.

The MCD has also miserably failed in terms of waste management, with open dhalaos in nearly every corner of the city. As a result, the city was in the bottom 10 of the 49 largest cities rated for cleanliness by the Government of India in December 2019. The MCD only has a 40 percent capacity for waste-processing (6,000 TPD as against 14,000 TPD of waste that is generated). The rest is thrown into landfills. The Ghazipur landfill site is being described as India's Mount Everest of trash by international media and is estimated to be taller than the Taj Mahal in 2020 at its present rate of growth.

The MCD has also completely failed to implement the Delhi Solid Waste Management Rules of 2016 as no segregation of wet and dry waste is in place despite the appointment of the concessionaire to do so. This leads to all the waste reaching landfill sites — even waste that is unsuitable for waste-to-energy processing, leading to wasteful infrastructure and mountains of garbage.

Then, there is the matter of corruption. Only 17 of the 230 engineers in North MCD do not have charges against them. The MCD has a total of Rs 1,177 crore worth of outstanding arrears in terms of property tax, but no collections have been taking place

Many projects were highlighted with cost and time overruns due to the delay in completion. For example, the construction of the 100-bed Purnima Sethi Multispecialty Hospital at Kalkaji for a cost Rs 32.08 crore has been delayed by more than 10 years, depriving people of healthcare services.

In terms of healthcare, the MCD's total number of dispensaries in 2013-14 was 85 — a figure that has remained stagnant, whereas the Delhi government's primary healthcare facilities rose from 269 to 684 (258 dispensaries, 400 mohalla clinics and 26 polyclinics) during the same period. The MCD has added just one hospital between 2013-14 and 2018-19, whereas the AAP government's work has resulted in three modern hospitals nearing completion in the city in the same period.

With the election in Delhi just around the corner, its residents have two distinct models of governance in front of them and it is up to them to choose.

The author is a Delhi-based policy research fellow and a freelance journalist, who writes on the issues of governance and politics. -FP

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