Delhi Assembly Election 2020: Free dental care, 24x7 shops and malls likely in AAP’s manifesto
According to senior leaders associated with the process, the AAP manifesto, to be released post January 26, will have “actionable points” for different fields.Updated: Jan 24, 2020 18:48 IST
From introducing free dental and mental healthcare at 75 polyclinics in Delhi to allowing malls, shops and multiplexes to remain open 24x7, the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) manifesto for the February 8 assembly elections is likely to have something for every section of society.
According to senior leaders associated with the process, the AAP manifesto, to be released post January 26, will have “actionable points” for different fields. In the health sector, the party, for the next five years, aims to move beyond mohalla clinics and focus on expanding the scope of polyclinics to include obstetrics, gynaecology and orthopedics apart from dental and mental health care, the leaders said.
“The Delhi government hospitals are overcrowded. So, we are moving towards layering our healthcare system. For basic tests and illnesses (cold and cough, etc) we have mohalla clinics, more of which will be opened in the coming years. Next, our polyclinics will be substantially augmented with more facilities and treatment specialities. The aim is to reach a stage where only those in need of surgeries go to government hospitals,” said a senior AAP member, on condition of anonymity.
In line with the Mumbai 24 hours policy, the party is likely to propose allowing shopping and recreational arcades to remain open overnight. The Maharashtra cabinet has approved policy, which will allow malls, multiplexes and shops to remain open round-the-clock in Mumbai from January 27.
“The AAP, if voted to power, will launch a similar policy. It will first be initiated on a pilot basis either in a few malls or in a commercial hub like Connaught Place. This will boost the revenue of traders and also allow people to enjoy Delhi’s nightlife. The policy will be framed keeping in mind public safety, especially of women and children,” another AAP member said.
To woo traders and businessmen, the party is also exploring ways to reduce electricity bills in certain categories of commercial connections. It could also be in some form of subsidy, the party leader added.
For the economically weaker sections, AAP national convener and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has already promised in-situ rehabilitation of slums. But, the party plans to go a step ahead to promise daal, oil and sugar to all ration card holders. The homeless may be promised a five times increase in shelters from 20,000 to one lakh.
The ‘aam aadmi canteens’, which the AAP government had launched in 2015 to provide healthy, hygienic and wholesome meals at subsidised rates but failed to take off, is likely to make a comeback in the party manifesto.
Making Delhi the ‘culture Capital of India’ by creating theatre, literature, art, music and dance hubs in different zones of the city is another promise that may find place in the AAP’s manifesto. Further, for the children and youth, the manifesto may propose creating ‘mini sports complexes’ across Delhi and also opening schools after classes for the locals.
To curb road dust, paving of all roads will be done apart from redesigning them, Kejriwal had said previously. The AAP’s poll document is further likely to include the incumbent government’s premium bus scheme, other than taking the fleet size of its state-run buses to 11,000. It will also talk about rejuvenating around 200 lakes all over the city, an AAP member working on the manifesto said.
Unlike the AAP’s 70-point manifesto for the 2015 elections, this is going to be smaller document. During the last assembly polls, the party’s key promises included slashing electricity bills by 50%, offering free water and wi-fi and opening mohalla clinics. It also promised full statehood, which Kejriwal recently confirmed will be included in the AAP’s upcoming manifesto as well, and implementing the Jan Lokpal Bill which are yet to be fulfilled.
“These promises, including decentralising governance through mohalla sabhas, remained unfulfilled because they needed the approval of the Centre. Our manifesto for the 2020 elections will have takeaways for everyone – from the poor to the rich. It will focus on inclusive development,” said Sanjay Singh, senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP.
On Sunday, Kejriwal, while promising that its ongoing flagship schemes of free water, electricity and bus rides will continue if the AAP is re-elected, released a ‘guarantee card’ in which he also made at least eight new commitments which included deploying ‘mohalla marshals’ in residential areas, reducing pollution by three times, and making buses free for students.
Other promises which Kejriwal has already made in his 10-point guarantee card include providing drinking water and power supply 24x7.
Over the past two weeks, the three-member manifesto committee of AAP has been holding meetings with several resident welfare and market associations, experts, NGO, doctors, lawyers and other professionals. The committee is headed by Atishi, who is the party’s candidate from Kalkaji and who had also worked with deputy CM Manish Sisodia in the education sector.