BJP takes on Arvind Kejriwal, says AAP eyeing short term gains by giving water subsidy

Arun Jaitley took on Arvind Kejriwal and said that by providing water subsidy in Delhi, the AAP government was looking at short term gains.

Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh

New Delhi: Senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, took on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday and said that by providing water subsidy in Delhi, the AAP government was looking at short term gains. He also said that the move would create debts for tomorrow while ignoring the weakest sections.

Jaitley worte in an article - “Through subsidies a government does not cut down the rates or the cost. It maintains the existing rates and tariffs. It only uses the tax payers money to subsidize a section. The more you subsidize the more you will have to eventually raise the taxes.”

He added, “Through subsidization a government thinks of the short term gains. It leaves a debt for tomorrow. A subsidy may prove counter productive for the more vulnerable sections.”
Further criticising the move by the Kejriwal government to provide twenty kilolitre of water to those having tap connections, the BJP leader said, “Take the illustration of the scheme to subsidize water for those consuming less than 20 kilo litre of water through a metered system. Subsidies make the health of the supply organizations vulnerable,” adding, “The real challenge is that those outside the water supply system must be connected to it. Laying down pipelines in every locality, installation of taps in every house can only be provided by a healthy board and not a financially vulnerable DJB. The water subsidy has completely ignored the weakest section of Delhi.”

Jaitley is of the view that AAP`s move had divided Delhi into four categories. “The first is those who have no taps or pipeline connections. They are outside the scheme. Those with defective or no meters would also be outside the scheme and paying for water. It is only those with functional meters and consuming below 20 kilo litres per month who get the benefit. The others with functional meters who consume above 20 kilo litres would pay 10% extra. The scope of the benefit has narrowed down to just some of the households falling in one of the above four categories. And this category is not the most vulnerable section.”
The Aam Aadmi Party government had announced yesterday a 50 percent subsidy on power consumption of upto 400 units. A day before it had implemented its poll promise of free water supply of 20 kilolitres a day.

However, it tempered it with a 10 percent across-the-board hike in tariff. Delhi Jal Board CEO Vijay Kumar also said that consumption beyond 20 kilolitre a month would attract tariff for the whole usage. Officials said the increase is for various customers including the household connections, industrial and bulk consumers.

The scheme came into effect from today and will immediately benefit around nine lakh households in the city. It covers those with metered connections.

People living in areas under New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Cantonment Board will not be included under the scheme. Officials said a decision on extending the benefit to residents of group housing societies will be taken later.

Currently, DJB has around 18 lakh domestic consumers out of which nine lakh have metered connection. The water agency has decided to launch an awareness drive to encourage remaining nine lakh consumers to install water metres and bring "accountability into the system"

With PTI inputs