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A crack team of experts behind AAP’s bag of promises for city

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 28, 2013
First Published: 00:47 IST(28/12/2013) | Last Updated: 00:50 IST(28/12/2013)

In the days of ever increasing prices, is it possible that power tariff will be reduced by 50%? Is it possible that each Delhiite with a water connection will get 700 litres of water free?

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If you think the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is “promising moon” with such announcements, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party claims these are a result of a combination of research and experts’ inputs.

It was in January 2013 that the AAP set in motion the exercise of policy making, to put in place a perspective papers. The party formed multiple expert committees to “help create policies for the benefit of people.”

These committees comprised of academics, activists and experts and not all are party members. “This group was entrusted with evolving an alternative governance structure for the country that will give greater decision making power,” said a party leader.

Activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, academic Atishi Marlena and AAP leader Yogendra Yadav, Somnath Bharti and Col Devender Sehrawat are few of the experts. The others include former naval chief Admiral Ramdass, lawyer-activist Ashok Agrawal of NGO Social Jurist, Binayak Sen, public health activist associated with PUCL, Tripta Wahi, activist and DU teacher.

The ‘Manifesto Committee’ headed by Yadav drew up the Delhi manifesto with the help of these experts, inputs by party volunteers and feedback from people and research by volunteer research team.

The input also came from scores of related documents available, from courts, from government data etc. “For instance, in case of power tariff, we have a copy of the draft order of the former DERC chief Brajendra Singh, which clearly shows what is possible in case of power tariff,” Marlena told HT.

In case of water and sanitation, Centre for Science and Environment’s two-volume report on Delhi’s sanitation and sewage scenario came in handy. “There were also certain political decisions such as opposition to FDI in retail. Our study estimated that the number of people likely to lose livelihood is far more compared with the accounted benefits,” she said.

The party will evaluate the final policy document internally before putting it up for the people.

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