Exactly 2 years ago, AAP, led by its national convenor Arvind Kejriwal, roared back to power with a massive people’s mandate, winning 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi. In these 2 years, Delhi Government has faced many ups and downs – ups being receiving laurels on the ambitious accessible and affordable Health care scheme and improving Public Education while downs being finding themselves in loggerheads with LG and fighting a hostile central Government almost all the time.
Investing in making the Healthcare more accessible and improving Government schools by strengthening Education sector are two of the key manifesto promises of AAP and once taken as initial focus by Delhi Government. Health minister Satyendar Jain revamped the idea of public health care in India. Government hospitals and dispensaries were seen, not long ago, as the last and least favorite option for big chunk of people. First thing that would come to most minds is unhygienic, overcrowded and overworked doctors and workers dispense low quality healthcare but all that changed with introduction of Mohalla Clinics.
Mohalla Clinic is a highly decentralized, low cost primary healthcare clinic with focus on high-quality deliverables and that covers most of basic needs: health screening, preventive care and treatments.
Only complex issues are referred to big hospital and thus reducing the stress on these establishments. From leading international newspapers like Washington Post to several national and local news media and scholars like Kofi Annan to advocates of universal healthcare have praised the achievements of Mohalla Clinics.
Currently, 100 clinics are fully functional and 300 new clinics were approved by new LG, after a long delay, and 600 more planned within this year.
Once all of these clinics are active, Delhi citizens will find healthcare easily accessible and affordable.
Similarly, special focus on education, led by Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, has vastly improved the standards of government schools while at same time checking the rampant money-making by private schools has eased lives of many families in the capital.
Several new government schools were built with high quality classroom and sports facilities, which could give any private schools run for the money while simultaneously investing on the teachers by sending them to good training, including one where government school Principals were sent to Leadership Training at Cambridge University.
Atishi Marlena, Advisor to Deputy CM and education minister called it “true investment in our future”! Cherry on top is making private schools which had charged exorbitant fees to return some or most of that fees back to parents, which earned goodwill of several low income families.
Government schemes and policies impact almost every citizen but it disproportionately affects the poor and lower-middle class people. Better the policies, happier they are and worse it is, worse off they are! So, it is no surprise that AAP government is more popular among poor, socially and economically backward communities and lower-middle class, whose life has been positively impacted by the public welfare schemes than upper-middle and rich class. Definition of ‘development’ is quite different for the latter section than the former.
For the latter, it may be the tech-savvy, high claims such as “Digital India” and “Cashless Payments” might sound more appealing though it would not impact their lives in any particular way while they are oblivious to situation of primary health care and government schools as they would never access these facilities and any improvement or changes to it will go unnoticed for them.
To sum up, role of any Government is to help those who need it is most and ensure safety and security of the most vulnerable section of the society. In this regard, AAP has certainly scored a very high mark and deserves lots of credit! Delhi government has lot more upside to prove itself in next three years and set a very high standards for rest of the nation and let’s hope it does.