Arvind Kejriwal’s Masterplan


Less than two weeks into office, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government slashed power charges by half and waived water tariffs beginning March 1 for a majority of consumers.

Following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia told reporters that beginning next month, every household with a metered connection consuming 400 units of power will be charged half the existing tariff, and water consumption up to 20,000 litres will be free.

This fulfils a key poll pledge of the Aam Aadmi Party, which won the recent Delhi assembly elections with an overwhelming margin.

An important day for Delhi’s aam aadmi, because every aam aadmi of Delhi is sad bout increased power and water bills. It is also my appeal to Delhi residents to consume power moderately so that you get a bill for less than 400 units and you have to pay only half the tariff.

We have checked all facts, this decision will help 90% of domestic consumers and 36,06,428 families,” said Sisodia. The subsidies will cost a about `1,700 crore in FY16, as per the figures provided by the Delhi government. The deputy chief minister said those consuming water above the subsidy threshold will be obliged to pay the entire billed amount. “We are also concerned about saving water, after all,” he told ET. “This is consistent with our promises.”

Similar measures had been put in place during the first stint of the AAP in government more than a year ago and withdrawn after Kejriwal’s resignation.

But unlike the last time, when only about 13 lakh families could benefit from the subsidy thanks to limited coverage of water meters, this time the number will be 18 lakh.

Water as a citizen’s right and inexpensive power thanks to a transparent and fair tariff mechanism have been AAP’s most heavily promoted policy priorities.

It will also need to take into account the likely findings of the audit of the distribution companies by the CAG that’s still underway besides the need to balance its own books.

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