The Swaraj Bill is unlikely to be tabled in the Assembly session beginning this Thursday with the AAP government deferring approval to the Bill in its Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. The Bill, which intends to decentralise power in the capital with the formation of mohalla sabhas, has been facing a lot of opposition from both the Congress and the BJP. Sources said this could be one of the reasons for the AAP softening its stand on the Bill.
“We need to deliberate on the Bill further and we might call a Cabinet meeting on Thursday again,’’ PWD and Education Minister Manish Sisodia said.
He said if the Bill was approved in Thursday’s meeting, it would be tabled in the Assembly the next day.
The AAP’s draft of the Swaraj Bill gives mohalla sabhas wide-ranging powers, including the ability “to make their own rules for proper functioning”. According to the draft, not only can mohalla sabhas “make their own rules, but officials of the mohalla sabhas will also have legal protection”.
The Swaraj Bill intends to decentralise power by segregating the city into 2,720 mohalla sabhas, which will have functions ranging from the cleaning of roads to public vaccination and inoculation, issuing of solvency certificates, preserving heritage and even promotion of compassion toward animals. The Bill also intends to do away with MLA development funds.
According to sources, one of the reasons why Swaraj Bill has not been cleared despite the Cabinet’s power to overrule suggestions and objections made by head of departments is that it requires extensive amendments in various Acts.
“The Swaraj Bill was unnecessary as the existing bhagidari scheme intends to achieve the same. We already have a municipal corporation for such work,’’ a source said.