“Hello, my name is Vikram,” chief minister Arvind Kejriwal told the woman answering the inaugural call made to 1031, the anti-corruption helpline relaunched in Delhi on Sunday.
Kejriwal, who made a corruption complaint against a food-inspector in Timarpur over the speaker phone, also demonstrated to the crowd at the Talkatora indoor stadium that the helpline was not only active but it also maintained confidentiality of the caller.
The AAP-led government that had first launched the helpline during its 49-day stint in 2013-14, relaunched its pet project with a stronger back-end support and a call centre set up in the Delhi secretariat.
“In the 49 days of our government, corruption was brought down by at least 70 per cent. Other parties could not do it in 65 years. Today, we are confident that India can be corruption-free and Delhi will take the lead,” said Kejriwal.
Explaining the delay in the relaunch of the helpline, Kejriwal said, “This time the helpline took one and a half month to be launched. When BJP government came to the Centre, they passed an order curtailing the powers of the Delhi ACB.
Because when we came to power for 49 days in Delhi, we lodged an FIR against Mukesh Ambani. Why did the BJP government take this decision? Only for the benefit of Mukesh Ambani. He moved court to get it quashed but the High Court refuse to quash it. This means we are right.The NDA issued this notification to weaken the ACB but the Delhi Legislative Assembly has ordered the Delhi government not to abide by this notification.
“We must have the courage to take action against our own. Only then will corruption stop. If Manish Sisodia commits a theft, he will go to jail. If our ministers, our MLAs commit theft, they will go to jail and if I commit theft, I too will go to jail,” Kejriwal said.
He also told senior officials present at the programme that the government will send all departments a format for boards to be displayed in all departments about recording officials asking for bribes.
“During our 49-day government, I was told that many officials disallowed carrying mobile phones in their cabins. This board will have to be displayed and mobile phones will have to be allowed. I too let people in my office with mobiles. They do a lot of stings. Let them do it. Why be afraid when you have done no wrong?”
Some laws are being simplified and technology will be used widely to crack down on corruption, the chief minister said.
In five years, Delhi will be in the top five corruption-free cities in the world, he claimed. Chief secretary K K Sharma said, “Our government is committed to providing facilities through e-governance.
We are about to start an e-office project to make the government more transparent and to curb corruption. Some officials misuse discretionary powers. The powers need to be reviewed and there is a need to do away with them.”
With the anti-corruption helpline, Kejriwal said his government had fulfilled its third major promise. “I want to appeal to the people of the country. If power bills can be halved in Delhi, they can be halved in the rest of the country too. People in other states should ask their government’s and chief ministers that if the AAP government can do it, why can’t they?”
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said that April 5 had assumed great significance as it was on April 5, 2011 that Anna Hazare started his movement against corruption at Jantar Mantar. “We wanted to host this programme on April 4 as it was a Saturday. But the Talkatora stadium was not available on April 4. It was destiny.”