Of the 32 policy proposals that the Delhi government sent to the Lieutenant Governor for approval since it took charge in February 2015, only 15 or just under half of the schemes were approved — with an average delay of 157 days or roughly five months.
This assessment, The Indian Express has learnt, is part of the white paper on the “outcomes” of the L-G’s performance which is likely to be tabled on Wednesday in the Delhi Assembly. Delays range from a maximum of 402 days for the higher education loan guarantee scheme and a minimum of 21 days for the approval of the doorstep delivery of services, which saw a flurry of letters between Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and the L-G.
The white paper alleges that the L-G, while perusing files, doesn’t specify differences of opinion but raises objections, asks for clarifications, or refers the matter to the Centre.
Consider some key schemes said to be flagged in the white paper:
* Higher education scheme, 402 days delay: A loan guarantee scheme of up to Rs 10 lakh each for students graduating from school from poorer families who can’t afford fees for higher education, where the government will act as guarantor for the loan. File was sent to L-G for approval on August 30, 2016 and L-G approved it on October 4, 2017 after a delay of 402 days.
* Minimum wage, 192 days delay: The government identified that minimum wages in the capital weren’t enough for a family to keep up with rising prices and required living standards. On August 22, 2016, the government sent a proposal to increase minimum wage. This was sent back, citing “serious legal infirmities”. New wages were approved on March 2, 2017 with a delay of 192 days.
* Mohalla clinics in schools, 146 days delay: In 2016-17, 44% of children from Class 1 to 8 were found to be underweight while many others were found to be victims of substance abuse. To ramp up healthcare facilities, the government proposed that 500 mohalla clinics be constructed in schools. File was sent to L-G on August 17, 2016. It was approved on January 9, 2017 with no value addition made to the proposal.
* Health insurance: The Delhi cabinet approved a universal health insurance scheme that it said would give citizens a reliable option to meet hospitalization expenses while it strengthened the public healthcare system. The file was sent for approval on June 6, 2016. It is learnt that the L-G returned the proposal for discussion with departments of the Union Government.
* Investigation of corruption in LNJP and GTB hospitals: The proposal to engage a private company for housekeeping in these hospitals was approved by the L-G on June 26, 2014 for two years at a total cost of Rs 11.61 crore. With allegations of collusion between officials and the service provider, the health minister recommended a CBI investigation and sent the file to the L-G’s office on September 11, 2017 – for which no response has yet been received by the government.
* Delhi Healthcare Corporation Ltd: The Health Department proposed to establish the Delhi Healthcare Corporation Ltd. (DHCL) as a public limited company to provide clinical, non-clinical, administrative and support services including centralised procurement of drugs and equipment, setting up and running of laboratory services, etc. This was sent for approval on August 17, 2016. No approval has been received yet.