Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri took a swipe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, alleging that no proposal had been prepared before the announcement regarding free travel for women in public transport was made.
In his first comments on the proposal, the Housing and Urban Affairs Minister termed the Delhi government “disruptionist”. He, however, did not comment on the merits of the proposal, saying it wasn’t “even ready”.
“There are two types of syndrome — broken window economics and its other variant is broken window fraud. Firstly, one needs to have buses to provide facility of free travel to anyone. One should ask them (Delhi government) why they don’t have 11,000 buses as mandated? Secondly, I had said in Parliament I want to give facilities to senior citizens and students and had directed DMRC to come up with relevant technology and the DMRC is working on that,” Puri said.
The broken window fallacy was a concept first spoken about by economist Frédéric Bastiat. It speaks about the idea that money that is spent to recover from the destruction of something is not of net benefit to society.
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, responding to Puri, said they only needed his blessings. “We just want him to keep smiling and extend his blessings to us. There is a concrete plan and no lack of funds for the proposal to allow free travel to women in buses and Metro,” Sisodia said.
Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has been duly informed about the proposal, over which the two sides have already had a few meetings.
Puri said the BJP was “all for women”, but schemes are not prepared by making announcements first. Responding to a question on “lack of progress” in construction of toilets in Delhi, Puri said Delhi is a “sui genris case”.
Explained | Free rides, fare perspective
“I am quite happy if girls and ladies are in need of that. Perhaps Kejriwal has a budget of Rs 50,000 crore, which is not being used on swachhata, Ayushman Bharat and many other things, but he wants to provide subsidy of Rs 500 crore, Rs 2,000-2,500 crore. There has to be a discussion on this,” Puri said. “These (AAP) people are disruptionists, they finished third in the (Lok Sabha) polls,” he added.