DAYS AFTER Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung formed a committee to examine 400 files submitted by the Delhi government for “irregularities”, he partially accepted the government’s decision to hike minimum wages by 50 per cent. This, however, comes with a rider.
According to officials, Jung has objected to the constitution of the 13-member committee to fix wages and for not seeking his approval before announcing the decision.
After meeting Jung at Raj Niwas, Labour Minister Gopal Rai said he called a meeting of top officials to work on the objections and sent the file on the formation of the new committee to the LG for his approval.
However, the LG’s “approval” did not stop Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from hitting out at him. “On a day when 18 cr workers are on strike, Modi’s LG returns file on minimum wages… Modi ji you keep modelling in advertisement of Reliance , Labour will teach you a lesson in 2019”, said Kejriwal in a series of tweets.
Sharing a tweet by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on labour rights, the CM added, “I agree sir. Pl ask ur LG to clear minimum wage file pending wid him for many days.”
AAP ministers also said that since the HC order ruled that the LG was the administrative head of the capital, it is he who should be accountable for problems in the city. “Now that every file is being called for scrutiny, we want the court to summon the Lt Governor for shortcomings in the system,” said a minister.
Also hitting out at the LG over the waterlogging situation in the capital, Kejriwal said, “When HC has said that LG is govt, then HC shud summon LG for waterlogging… How can High Court not be concerned who is govt? HC says LG is govt and then asks CM to do the job?”
Meanwhile, sources in the government said every cabinet decision that has not been sent to Jung for approval is being sent now to complete “due process”.
Rai said, “We got call from the LG’s office. We had a long discussion with him. He has agreed to our decision but objected to the constitution of the committee. We will respond to his query and resend the file. After the HC ruling, we need to send it all files to the Lt Governor.”
According to government sources, the exercise of sending files for the LG’s approval could have been avoided had the government not gone overboard with its decision to not send files that come under his jurisdiction as well. Sources said the files and cabinet decision submitted include matters such as “subsidy, water bill waiver scheme, service matters, promotion, restructuring of PWD, allotment of space for party offices, recruitment of contractual staff, dry days notification, appointment and procedure followed in recruiting personal staff by ministers and perks granted to them”.
A senior government official said, “The files are being checked for any financial, criminal or legal implications and to see if rules have been violated.”