The AAP government will make an announcement about a ‘hefty revision’ in minimum wages next week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Saturday.
“Those living in JJ clusters are considered illegal occupants. The land does not belong to them. Lekin agar ek din yeh JJ clusterwale, homeless-wale kaam na karein toh hum sab ko hamari naani yaad aa jayegi (If the slumdwellers and the homeless don’t work for a day, we will all learn our lesson),” said Kejriwal. He made the comments during the release of Citymakers: Tribulations and Triumphs – A saga of heroic struggle of the homeless residents of India, a book by activist Indu Prakash Singh.
Kejriwal said the AAP government was working towards bridging the economic gap between the rich and the poor. “… We are thinking of revising minimum wages and we are planning a hefty revision. Development is lopsided. The fruits of development are not percolating to the bottom…,” he said.
Kejriwal added, “Jab hum apne naukaron ko itna denge hi nahi, toh who kahan rahenge (If we don’t pay our domestic help enough, where will they live?) This means they are subsidising our lives. If you pay a person Rs 5,000-6,000 when you should be paying Rs 15,000-20,000, it means they are subsidising your life but they are helpless. Then they go put up a shanty somewhere near your home. Then you say you don’t want the jhuggi. So, we want our maids and milkman to come everyday, but then they should disappear into thin air.”
The Chief Minister also spoke about the AAP government’s efforts to prevent slum demolitions.
“… If we hear about any demolition drive, I harass them with phone calls and tell them not to carry it out… we have told the DDA that if you demolish slums, we will slap a case of dacoity against you,” said Kejriwal.
Citing the case of Shakur Basti, where the railways undertook a demolition drive in December 2015, he said, “After I reached the spot at 1 am, the revenue secretary, director of DUSIB, all the district magistrates… they went there. They saw that the CM had come out of his quilt in the winter, and they got the message that this government will work for the poor.”
He added, “Bureaucracy works according to political will. Even today, the bureaucracy is the same but the people guiding and directing it have changed. The same bureaucrats who may have refused to work earlier are working today. For them it’s a job. If the (political) leader says it has to be done, he will do it, otherwise he won’t.”