From a Common Man to Another : Critical Issues Before the Aam Admi Party (AAP)
Prashant Negi is Assistant Professor, Dr. K. R. Narayanan Centre for Dalit and Minorities Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and Managing Trustee, Centre for Development Studies, Shimla. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AAP, borne out of a rather popular anti-‐corruption movement and mobilization for the Jan Lokpal Bill, made history of sorts by routing the mainstream political parties of India in the Delhi Assembly elections of 2015. The final results, 67 to the AAP and 03 to the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), were startling.
The politics of the AAP has been hailed by political commentators as alternative and refreshing to the existing paradigm in India. The aspirational aspects of political connect of the party puts it in the center stage and have simultaneously, implications on the manner in which politics is/will be defined and articulated in the coming days.
For the AAP to establish itself as a major political force, it needs to continually redefine its strategies and also articulate them for absorption in popular culture. Though, the AAPs broad ideological orientation is apparent, it is the manner in which its ideological concerns on social policies will be manifested, which needs clarity. It is in this context that the author addresses the following ten issues.
I. Differential Access to Civic Amenities
Three corporations govern municipal operations in the state of Delhi: the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), and the Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB). Of the three, only 2.9 per cent of the total area or 43.7 square kilometers comes under the administrative jurisdiction of the NDMC. The areas under the NDMC are popularly known as ‘Lutyen’s Delhi’. It is also an area with the least population density and maximum access to civic amenities to the extent that it is exclusively serviced in terms of electricity and water provision by the NDMC. Exclusivity per se in terms of the supplier is not the issue – quality, accommodation of costs and delivery of services are.
The AAP has had a distinctive and a particularly vocal stand on the Very Important Person (VIP) culture, with its selected/elected candidates signing affidavits to indicate that they will not partake in what are termed as symbols of the VIP culture. Such dispensation, to some extent, weaves an ideological connect with the wider population, which associates VIP culture as the exclusive domain of a powerful few. Power, it is believed, plays an integral part in how this culture manifests itself.
Since the state of Delhi differentially supplies basic amenities like electricity and water to various areas under its administrative control; it creates a social milieu, which exists on different ends of the continuum. On one hand are areas, which are exclusive and on the other, are those, which are for the general. It is akin creating disparate access and territorial ‘othering’.
It is also a truism that AAP has not been responsible for such a demarcation (of Delhi into the NDMC, MCD and the DCB). However, given its moral stand on the VIP culture and on the fact that its politics is non-‐exclusive, it is important that it takes and informed stand particularly on this and other such associated issues of differential access.
In that context:
1st Question Before the AAP
Could the state of Delhi have a uniform electricity and water supplier for the NDMC and Non-‐NDMC demarcated areas? And if not, why?
Contextualizing with the above, what is the stand of the AAP on the VIP culture emanating from such differential access?
II. Democratic Decentralism or the Lack of it
Founded on high principles of accountability, transparency, inner party democracy and swaraj; the AAP was touted as an alternative to mainstream politics in India. However, after the very public unfolding of events in the party, which led to the marginalization of some senior National Executive Committee (NAC) members, many (both within the party and outside it) questioned the very principles on which it was established. Besides, of course, indicating an intense power struggle, these trends are also representative of the party internalizing the politics of empowerment. With the controversy, which the AAP could have done away with, refusing to die down, the limelight has incorrectly shifted from the idea of reform to democracy or the lack of it within the party.
The fact that power was being centralized was further evident when (on March 22, 2015) the administrators of the Facebook public page of the party were reduced to 4 from an about a dozen earlier.
These events are demonstrative of the fact that even alternatives homogenize and support personality cults.
In that context:
2nd Question Before the AAP
Can the AAP still claim democratic decentralism in it’s functioning? Will the recent events stimulate the party to rethink or will decision making within the party continue to be dominated by an exclusive few?
How will issues of dissonance between discussion and action be addressed?
III. Anti-‐Corruption Campaign and the Jan Lokpal
The genesis of AAP was in the resounding support to the Anti-‐Corruption
Campaign and the popular demand for promulgation of the Jan Lokpal. The Jan Lokpal, also referred to as the Citizens Ombudsman Bill, is an anti-‐corruption bill drafted by Santosh Hegde, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal. The bill seeks the appointment of an independent Jan Lokpal, whose office would investigate cases of corruption in a within a given time frame. The bill seeks suo moto powers to prosecute politicians and bureaucrats and envisages confiscation of ill-‐gotten wealth.
The salient features of the Jan Lokpal bill as drafted by the India Against Corruption (IAC) composite and later adopted by the AAP were: firstly, institution of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at state levels; secondly, institutions of the Lokpal and the Lokayukta will be independent and totally free from any government control; thirdly, cases taken up would be fast tracked with trial periods of under one year and prosecution within two years; four, losses accrued towards the government would be realized from the convicted individual; five, the bill seeks to empower a citizen to seek redressal for non-‐ delivery of services and prescribes a time frame for the same with financial penalties; six, the appointment of Lokpals would be a transparent and participatory process; seven, even institution of the Lokpal would be accountable and in circumstances of complaints, any officer of the Lokpal would be investigated and if found guilty, dismissed within 2 months; seven, in order to check multiplicity of statutory authorities, existing anti-‐corruption bodies of the government would be merged with the institution of the Lokpal; and finally, the Lokpal would protection to whistle blowers.
In that context:
3rd Question Before the AAP
When corruption is almost ubiquitous, pervasive and institutionalized, how does the AAP intend to address it? Will it continue to speak about it in rhetorical terms or does it intend to operationalize its responses? And if so, what will the responses be?
Will the anti-‐corruption helpline be initiated yet again despite its dismal performance earlier?
Is the AAP thinking of legislating on the Jan Lokpal? In case of the Jan Lokpal bill not being promulgated as a law, how does the AAP intend to address issues of corruption?
IV. Accommodation of Representational Needs
The AAP as a new political formation arose to provide a fillip to representational needs of Delhi. Delhi is culturally and socially diverse with highly sectionalized, heterogeneous and plural populations.
Cultural diversity, economic inequalities and materialism versus non-‐ materialism in Delhi continuously create and redefine needs.
When majorities of people see in a new political formation a viable alternative, they are equally disillusioned if their aspirations are not addressed, particularly, in a milieu in which the political formation itself opens up to increasing accountability and transparency (“mai aapse poochta hun”, “aap hi bataiye”).
In that context:
4th Question Before the AAP
Does the AAP realize the moral and ethical dimensions of the burden it carries; forget the political consequences in case it does not live up to its commitments?
Can a political formation, without any organizational strength have an expansionist agenda based on individual ambitions?
Addendum: Those being touted as volunteers represent, in fact, a critical mass.
V. Gender, Liberal Values and the AAP
Sociologists consider societies to be in a constant state of fluidity. Social change however is rather slow as it manifests itself in the resultant residue of the tumultuous relationship between traditions and modernity. Located within the societies themselves and deriving ideology and membership from them, political formations too reflect societal attitudes.
Normatively, ideological orientations and praxis of political formations are delineated as being ‘progressive’ and on the extreme end as ‘regressive’.
Driven by newer forms of technology, social networking and awareness, there has been an unprecedented increase in mobilization for change.
The AAP inherited political power in an environment resplendent with demand for change. In fact, a primary reason for its ascendance is attributed to recognizing that there was growing mandate for change and building the same into its political strategy.
As traditions wrestle with modernity, several definitive institutions and relationships in our society are undergoing profound and fundamental change. And appropriately so.
As liberal values percolate and question rudimentary and deeply rooted patriarchal biases and discriminatory attitudes towards women, we are witnessing an exponential increase in gendering of relationships between men and women. The situation has reached an alarming level, in which the state and its institutions have failed to maintain social order.
Though, the AAPs National Lokpal has provided equal representation to women (of the maximum 3 members, it presently has 2) and is credited as instituting an internal committee on sexual harassment as per the Vishaka guidelines, its
National Executive lists only 2 among a total of 22 members as women (http://www.aamaadmiparty.org/national-‐executive).
The party’s ideology on realizing gender equality also needs to be outlined as two of its former members (Madhu Bhandari and Shazia Ilmi) have alleged it of being “patronizing” and having an attitude of “benevolent patriarchy” towards emerging women leaders. Issues of gender sensitivity have also been raised by Admiral Ramdas, member of the National Lokpal of the AAP, who has questioned the lack of representation to women in the top positions of the Delhi government (of a total of 7 Cabinet ministers, none is a woman) and in the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the AAP (of a total of 7 members, none is a woman).
The incidents of crime against women have seen an incremental increase over the years with the ‘Nirbhaya’ and ‘Uber’ episodes stimulating serious concerns and popular mobilization. Also, given the fact that Delhi has gained the dubious distinction of being termed as the ‘rape capital’ of India; the thinking of the AAP and the measures that it intends to initiate on women safety should be immediately enforced and widely disseminated.
The party besides ensuring more representational space to women in its apex decision-‐making bodies along with other hitherto marginalized sections and minorities should also make its stand clear on issues of the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders (LGBT).
In that context:
5th Question Before the AAP
What is the ideology of the AAP on women empowerment and particularly, on women safety?
Does the party aim to provide more representational space to women and other marginalized sections and minorities in its apex decision-‐making bodies?
How does the AAP intend to tackle issues of violence against women and those of unequal access to educational, social and economic opportunities?
Is the party sympathetic to the issues of the LGBT? If so, how?
VI. Populism and the AAP
Populism has been a hallmark of Indian politics. From Independence to the present day, various political parties have used populism in varying degrees and have subsequently justified their governance models on that basis. Most have even prodded the electorate to reelect them for articulating and implementing populist agendas.
Populism, in theoretical terms, represents a charismatic mode of linkage between the politicians and voters and a democratic discourse that relies on the
idea of popular will and the struggle between the ‘people’ and the ‘elite’.
In its manifesto, during pre-‐poll election rallies and on various other occasions, the AAP relied on establishing a direct linkage between itself and the electorate by building a political platform based on the usage of overly expansive macroeconomic policy and redistribution. Among others, variables such as electricity, water and regularization of illegal colonies were used aggressively to indicate disparity and defend the interests of the poor.
Given the nature of disparity in India, the explanation for which transcends economic analysis; it is only imperative that such imbalances be corrected through macro level interventionist policies. Such measures however need to be carefully thought of [the quashing of the inclusion of the Jat community in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) list by the Supreme Court of India is an instance].
Theoretical literature indicates that social policies, which rely on deficit financing, generalized control and disregard for basic economic equilibria, have almost unavoidably resulted in exacerbating economic crisis and have resulted in hurting the interests of the segments that they intended to address in the first place. Though, such literature is empirical and based on objective analysis; social policies cannot always be framed and implemented keeping in mind theoretical concerns. Theoretical criticality is important but perhaps what is more important is the proportionality to which it is matched with social action.
Recently, the AAP fulfilled its electoral promise of providing free water to the tune of 20,000 liters per household with a functional water meter (according to AAP sources it will benefit 18 lakh families). This move, the AAP feels, should not be viewed from the perspective of mass subsidy but as a targeted subsidy based on consumption. After all, households, which exceed the 20,000 liter stipulation will be charged for every liter of water they consume. Terming it as based on ‘graded’ and ‘telescopic’ pricing; the AAP intends to utilize the policy to subsidize those whose consumption levels are based on income. This to some extent represents cross subsidization, whereby subsidy is directly proportional to consumption.
There are certain realities however, which need to be kept in mind. First, Delhi is almost entirely dependent on neighboring states for its water supply to the extent that such dependence creates a total mismatch between demand and supply (Haryana Chief Minister, Khattar recently stated that issues pertaining to water sharing between Delhi and Haryana are complex and require sustained negotiations). Second, with an absolute total population of 1,67,53,235 (excluding transient population) and a population density of 11,297 (2011 Census), the demand for water in Delhi particularly high. Third, there are huge transmission losses due to climatic reasons and localized mismanagement affecting transportation capacity and delivery of water in Delhi. Four, not all of Delhi is serviced by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and therefore, many households will not be under the purview of the existing AAP policy. Five, Delhi also has to contend with problems pertaining to unregulated and illegal connections. Six, Delhi has over the years seen serious depletion of ground water resources
(which is abstracted to augment supplies of surface water from the Yamuna, Bhakra and Ganga Rivers) due to bore wells and excessive construction in the National Capital Territory (NCR) region.
Interestingly, the United Nations Water Task Force does not take into account income as an indicator to understand the water sector. According to its conceptualization, ‘context’, ‘functioning’ and ‘governance’ indicators classify the water sector. Cumulatively considered, all these indicators allow for the ‘performance’ of the water to be assessed. Other studies propose a framework of ‘coverage’, ‘continuity’, ‘quantity’, ‘sanitary risk’ and ‘cost’. Though, it can be argued that the issue here is of delivery and not assessment, but the fact that delivery is based on assessment cannot be negated.
Other populist measures that have wide ramifications (in terms of the proportion of population that they will affect/benefit and their implementation) are those related to electricity and regularization of unauthorized colonies (Delhi has around 1,600) and slum clusters. Power tariffs for households consuming an average of 400 units per month were also reduced by 50 per cent by the AAP government (according to AAP sources it will benefit 36 lakh consumers and will cost the exchequer 1,670 crores annually). Again, subsidization and rationalization of electricity tariffs must be based on a critical understanding of the relationship between transmission (power sector is characterized by transmission losses of about 28 per cent), supply and consumption of electricity. Also, issues pertaining to the audit of discoms supplying electricity to non-‐NDMC areas and those of meter testing are yet to be resolved.
In that context:
6th Question Before the AAP
Can the scale of acceptability in delivery of public services be based on the binary of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’? Is consumption a valid indicator for ascertaining affluence?
Can cross subsidization of electricity be sustained given the fact that extraneous factors control its supply? Will the audit into the functioning of the private discoms be ordered?
How will the policy regarding regularization of unauthorized colonies and slum clusters be implemented? Will such colonies and clusters be provisionally regularized or marked as eligible for regularization? Will it not incentivize encroachment on public or uncared for private land? Even if such an executive order were to be promulgated by the AAP given its absolute majority in the Assembly, would be possible to execute it given its implications across the country? Would the higher judiciary allow the order to be executed?
VII. Reservations, Social Justice and the AAP
After the promulgation of the NEP in 1991, there has been a marked decline in
employment opportunities for the marginalized in the public sector. The situation is far worse for the unorganized sector, which is unregulated and wherein a majority of workers from the marginalized social groups work without any safeguards. Theories on social inclusion emphasize on increasing access to income earning assets and building the capacities and capabilities of the marginalized. Participation too is a critical indicator. When access is denied on structural and identity based factors, social mobility is affected.
The AAP has committees on reservations, empowerment of the marginalized and even on social justice. However, some of it’s key members have mobilized against reservations in the past and have taken documented stands against the constitutionally mandated caste-‐based affirmative action.
In that context:
7th Question Before the AAP
What is the AAPs stand on affirmative action? Does it have a generalized stand or would it possible for it to delineate it specific to all the social groups that have been mandated for positive discrimination?
Would it be accommodative to the demands of new groups such as women, caste groups within other religions, and transgenders etc.?
Can quota based reservations be extended for government contracts?
What is the AAP’s stand on extending reservations to the private and the unorganized sector?
Is the AAP thinking of redefining affirmative action on the basis of ‘Diversity Index’ and the establishment of an ‘Equal Opportunity Commission’?
VIII. Development, Urbanization and Migration
After Independence, India was confronted with the question so as to demarcate its path to development. Two dominant paradigms that emerged were those aligning with Nehruvian and Gandhian schools of thought. The former advocated centralized development with an emphasis on big projects to usher India into the path of industrialization and economic prosperity. The latter accentuated decentralization and asked for powers to be devolved for local self-‐rule. Given the nature of the Indian society, widespread social, economic, political and cultural disparity, policy planners lay prominence to development for self-‐ reliance and creation of employment.
Analysis of development patterns over the years have been in terms of the top-‐ bottom approach; development administration; bottom-‐up approach; ecological and environmental development concomitant with social and economic development and in terms of dependency creating external aid.
With a country as diverse as India and due to economic constraints, it was indeed difficult to implement social policies and assess them equitably. As a result much of the development happened in what are termed as urban centers or core areas.
Roads, educational and healthcare institutions, percolation of communication tools, civic amenities and public infrastructure, industries etc. all developed around urban centers. This development conceptualized within the ‘core-‐ periphery’ paradigm and urbanization created differential access and as a result accentuated migration.
Delhi is not just the political capital of India. Its significance extends for many reasons – being a cultural melting pot it belongs to everyone and simultaneously, to none.
However, patterns of urbanization in Delhi put tremendous pressure on it, whether in terms of delivery of services and provision of civic amenities or with regards to maintenance of fragile social order. If one takes a macro view of Delhi, it presents itself as a macrocosm of the Indian society and its structural problems. Almost all its localities are based on regional, religion or caste identities. Over the years, due to processes of deliberate polarization, people have more or less been ghettoized and depending on the ability of various social groups to appropriate policy surplus, various areas have developed differentially in Delhi.
Unable to check urbanization, Delhi has over the years extended as the NCR encompassing within it the peripheral areas of Gurgaon, Noida, and Faridabad etc. Development paradigms elsewhere in the world (especially in the Scandinavian countries) are now witnessing hitherto unknown definitions of development. They are now claiming that the citizens can reclaim physical territories that are vested with them as per law.
A large proportion of Delhi, in terms of ownership of physical territory, is under the administrative control of either the government of India or the government of Delhi. While Delhi continues to grow horizontally, its citizens are confronted with numerous problems, all of which can be termed under differential access to civic and basic amenities. While the executive, legislature and judiciary continue to occupy vast tracts of land in terms of offices and residences; the citizens are forced to habit in peri-‐urban areas within the metropolitan territories. Perhaps, Delhi is the only state in India, wherein citizens are forced to spend a sizable amount of their time in public and private transportation systems just to arrive at work.
Another unique consequence of urban planning in Delhi is that of gated communities. Almost all public and private infrastructures in the city are gated. While concerns of security are genuine, such communities unfavourably exclude those who do not have membership or access to such amenities. Added to such planning is discriminatory access to basic amenities. For instance, a large number of areas in Delhi do not have access to Mother Dairies and Safal outlets,
which provide subsidized vegetables and milk. Some years ago, most of unregularized colonies and slum clusters in Delhi did not have access to paved roads, electricity connections and potable water. It was only after the intervention of the Supreme Court that such facilities were extended to such colonies as right to life. Obviously, such access creates hierarchical division within the society, with some citizens enjoying better delivery of services while relegating the others as second class.
Such discriminatory access in Delhi is not just in terms of basic civic amenities, but also in terms of institutions for education and healthcare. While publically owned lands are allocated to corporates and individuals to augment and support social needs with an mandatory requirement to accommodate the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS); various studies have shown that it is usually not the case.
In that context:
8th Question Before the AAP
Has the AAP developed a strategy for ensuring equitable access to civic amenities for the citizens of Delhi?
A unique conceptualization of the AAP has been the creation of ‘Mohalla Sabhas’ and devolving administrative and financial powers to them, is there a time frame to implement this unique concept?
Will it be possible for the government to demarcate publically owned infrastructure to public use for better access?
Can the housing market in Delhi be regulated to an extent that it accommodates genuine needs to people to shelter rather than expanding for appropriation of surplus needs of individuals with greater economic worth?
Will policy level changes be assessed and initiated at the earliest to accommodate access to basic civic amenities such as vegetables and milk and also to better healthcare and education?
Is there a timeline for the establishment of incubation center’s and 20 new colleges in Delhi?
IX. Environment, Green Thinking and the AAP
Delhi has over the years incorporated green thinking in its governance and has achieved numerous gains. These improvements have possibly been achieved by an integration of strategies, policy measures and active judicial intervention.
In 1991, India published its first exhaust emission standards, though none existed for fuel quality. In 1993, given the deteriorating ambient air quality standards (in terms of Suspended Particulate Matter, Sulphur Dioxide, Oxides of
Nitrogen and Lead), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) was introduced for the first time in Delhi (which at that time was available only in 3 filling stations). In 1995, the Supreme Court directed the government to ensure that all vehicles manufactured thereupon would be run only on unleaded fuel. By 1998, Delhi was using 100 per cent unleaded fuel. In 1998, a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found that vehicular pollution was one of the major constituents of pollution in Delhi (with emissions as high as 64 per cent). Usage of cleaner fuels and rapid introduction of emission standards was therefore the need of the hour. Pertinently, a deadline of April 2001 was setup by the Supreme Court to ensure that all pubic transport (buses, taxis and three-‐wheelers) would be converted to CNG.
In August 2008, the Delhi High Court passed a judgment banning the usage of plastic carrying bags and a order notifying a blanket ban on the usage of plastic bags was issued by the Delhi government in 2012. Burning of leaves too was subsequently banned.
Other policy initiatives over the years include mandatory rainwater harvesting structures (for plots measuring 100 square meters and above); mandatory use of solar water heating systems (in buildings having an area of 500 square meter and above); and setting up of a waste paper recycling machine in the Delhi Secretariat.
Further, the Action Plan for Implementing the Climate Change Agenda (2009-‐12) identifies the following as thrust area: firstly, adopting Green Buildings Standards to reduce energy consumption by 30-‐40 per cent; making at least 250 new green buildings; retrofitting 50 per cent of existing buildings; increased usage of Light Emitting Diodes (LED) lights (even the traffic lights in Delhi were replaced from conventional lights to LEDs in a phased manner); installation of self-‐reliant energy productions; and replacement of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in refrigeration.
In 2007, the Energy Conservation Building Code was launched and was made compulsory in government buildings. To adopt a baseline for construction of green buildings, the Delhi government even adopted the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (IHA) developed by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI).
Under the Bhagidari scheme, launched under the leadership of the former Congress (I) CM, Sheila Dixit, Delhi attained unprecedented success in decentralizing its efforts to maximize green cover by involving the Resident Welfare Committees (RWAs) as community organizations and other civil society organizations. The green cover in Delhi has increased by a phenomenal 270.20 square kilometers (from a mere 26 square kilometers in 1997 to 296.20 square kilometers in 2011). The green cover was further augmented by the ‘City Plants a Million Tree Campaign’ (2011), wherein 14.5 lakh saplings were planted in Delhi. Delhi is perhaps the only city in India, which has 2,000 parks of various dimensions, 40 city forests, 5 ridge areas, 2 bio-‐diversity parks and some green belts.
Other issues of environmental concern in Delhi are water and noise pollution, waste management and climate change. The major sources of water pollution are domestic sewage and industrial effluent, which cause problems such as lesser dissolved oxygen, higher bio-‐chemical oxygen demand, fecal coliform and toxic chemicals and heavy metals. The Delhi government has over the years established 13 Common Affluent treatment Plants (CETPs), 23 Sewage Treatment Plants of 512 MGD capacity and also introduced Interceptor Sewage Concept. The sources of noise pollution, on the other hand, are industries, aircrafts, vehicles and diesel generator sets.
Delhi generates about 8,500 metric tones of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) daily. These statistics do not include bio-‐medical, electrical and plastic waste. Presently, Waste to Energy plants at Okhla, Ghazipur and Narela utilize 1,950, 1,300 and 1,200 tons of MSW per day and the Compost plants at Bhalaswa and Okhla utilize 500 and 200 tons of MSW per day. Some other Compost plants are now being upgraded. This implies that waste management in Delhi continues to be one of the foremost problems for policy planning as far as environment is concerned.
Despite the above policy interventions the state of environment in Delhi continues to be extremely worrisome and is regarded among the worst globally. Average Total Suspended Particulate (TSP) levels in Delhi are many times higher than World Health Organizations (WHOs) annual average standards. It is estimated that about 3,000 metric tons of air pollutants are emitted every day in Delhi with 67 per cent from vehicular pollution, followed by 12 per cent from coal based thermal plants. And the trend has only been found to be increasing. Perhaps, the fact that Delhi adds more than 1,000 vehicles on its roads each day could explain such an exponential trend.
In that context:
9th Question Before the AAP
Does the AAP have an integrated strategy for the state of environment in Delhi? If
so would it be possible for it to delineate its strategy sector wise?
Given its populist appeal, will it be able to implement mandatory rainwater harvesting, parking and waste management?
Is there any thinking on segregation of waste at source etc.?
There have been some references lately whereby the AAP has been compared to the Green Party of Germany, and also in the context of possible expansion plans of the AAP, it would be interesting to understand the parties green thinking and its stand on nuclear issues as well as on climate change?
X. Institutions, Good Governance and Growth
Governance is broadly defined as traditions and institutions that determine how authority is exercised. Qualitative aspects of institutions and structures of governance, studies argue, have a direct impact on growth. It is not surprising therefore that governance-‐matters approach has emphasized on ‘good governance’ as a prerequisite for building the capacities and capabilities of people.
Various political formations have for long combined their politics within the broader ambit of delivering good governance. However, good governance as a key determinant of how social policies are translated into action is not devoid of problems pertaining from causality of analysis, measurement errors, missing variable considerations and conceptual vagueness. Since the delivery of social policies is basically effectuated through institutions, it is imperative to understand how politics impacts governance and development outcomes. It is important therefore to underscore the significance of institutions and invest in governance enforcing reforms. Analytically, one could begin with assessing the political sources of governance and the endogenous nature of institutions.
Since the APP intends to accumulate, innovate and accommodate change; it is important that their approach internalizes that politics and institutions are key. While it is possible that their bottom-‐up approach to governance might create consumption pressures, distributional conflicts and inhibit capital accumulation. It is equally true that their politics can exacerbate growth by extending civil and political liberties.
Besides of course contending with the issue of growth, the AAPs politics is intrinsically conjoined with the aspirations of the people that support its political model. The quality of institutions in terms of bureaucratic efficiency, absence of corruption, protection of rights and rule of law are important for the APP to implement its agenda and also grow as a political force. The AAP at a broader level, seems to be keen to deliver good governance as it has already focused on institutionalizing Lokpal, adopted zero tolerance towards corruption and very recently spoken about the introduction of e-‐ration cards.
Another possible way of strengthening and assessing existing government institutions is to make extensive use of e-‐governance. Such an approach would not only ensure reduced government expenditure but also simultaneously increase efficiency and enable better assessment.
In that context:
10th Question Before the AAP
Will the AAP promote a systematic approach to measure institutions? Will it, in that regard, develop an aggregate set of indicators of governance? Can it audit its own self by producing perhaps what could be termed as a Political Development Report or Political Justice Report?
Does the AAP have a strategy for implementing e-‐governance in Delhi?