What is wrong? What should be done?

Let’s talk about Arvind Kejriwal’s principle?

With respect to the free water issue, I read that Arvind Kejriwal tweeted something to the effect, “One can dispute the amount of water but not the principle behind it as water is the lifeline of people.” Let me dispute the principle behind it.

There are many things which are basic for a person to survive. Roti, Kapada aur Makan is something we have all heard about. You can include electricity and healthcare into it. Now what all is Arvind Kejriwal going to dole out as free and who is going to pay for it.

Arvind Kejriwal should know that the system of the government providing everything for its people has been tried and tested before. If he wants he can borrow the system from China and Russia who have abandoned the system long time back and will be happy to give it to him. However, even these systems made people work. I don’t think people received things free.

Now I agree that the government has a responsibility towards the weaker section of the society. Taking the example of drinking water, the government has the following responsibility:

(a) To run the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) in an efficient and cost effective manner (no water wastage and no corruption) to supply safe drinking water to all the people of the state. If DJB is run properly, the cost of supplying water will come down and a larger percentage of people can afford it.
(b) To make sure that water is available through PIPES and no tankers. It is the weaker section of the society which spends a lot of time to get water which they can utilise productively to improve their standard of living.
(c) To make sure that the water is supplied 24 hours. If this is not possible, supply water at fixed times. I think somebody in AAP should find out what problems this would solve for the weaker section and even the not-so-weaker section of the society.
(d) AAP should also ask itself, how many people in the weaker section of the society can buy and maintain water pumps and water purifying systems. The government needs to first work on these.

First, the responsibility of any political party in control of the government is to carry out the above actions and if after that some people without access to water or cannot afford water, I am all for giving free water to them. So the principle of giving free water as a first step is a little difficult to understand. However, even this has to be done in a targeted manner so that nobody can take advantage of the system.

Let me also address the issue where AAP has claimed that this step of giving free water will also save water. I would like to hear the logic behind this claim by AAP. Just because water is free, people will use it less.

Avinash Narula

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