Governance · Public Policy

Let there be Light

The Aam Admi Party (AAP) has been stirring up a storm in the Delhi legislative assembly elections. From the election campaigns to the formation of a government, the AAP has managed to gather unanticipated success. With the chief minister travelling in public transport and the claims of undoing VIP benefits, the AAP has created a government which the common man can connect with. It has painted the picture of a government which promises to listen to the people and to deliver up to their expectations. The hope which people have vested with the party seems to be on check which new policies and decisions coming up.

The viability and the effectiveness of the AAP led government shall be seen in days to come however, its success in increasing political consciousness in the city is a reality that cannot be denied. Highly attractive pre-poll promises to the electorate have been keeping the government in motion. Reduction of power tariffs and free water availability coupled up with anticipations of increased accountability and transparency in governance has provided the ideal combination which Delhi demanded.

In an attempt to realize its goals, the government led by Arvind Kejriwal announced that the Comptroller and Auditor General would audit the accounts of the power distribution companies (discoms) in Delhi. This follows the pre- poll promise of a 50% reduction in power tariffs. These companies have been purchasing power in the free market at different prices depending upon circumstantial conditions. Therefore, the audit by the chief auditor shall assess the financial records of the companies and check for their correctness. This step was met with resistance by the companies who dragged the government to the High Court. Was this a resistance of not being willing to be woken up from deep slumber or an attempt to conceal figures against public interest is a question that shall be answered in due course. So, how does this audit benefit the government and in turn the common man?

It’s simple if the audit shows an under reporting of finances by the companies, the companies pay more to the government and this would result in rate cuts for the common man. Not something that the companies would like to do. Hence, the discoms have taken their uneasiness to the High Court. The discoms have argued in their presentation that the CAG audits only government-owned organizations and the discoms are joint ventures, with day-to-day management with the private entity and, hence, out of CAG’s ambit. The issue is up for hearing before the High Court on the 22nd of January though the recent order of the High Court in reference to telecom companies might strengthen the cause of the AAP regarding discoms. Till the quest for power is resolved let’s hope for the stereotypical expectation of good governance.

About the Author

387143_10151039257962194_448483858_nShivani Misra is pursuing law from IP University, Delhi. She is deeply interested in human rights and education for children. This drove her to volunteer for Make a Difference, an NGO which works with under privileged children. She believes that a sensitized youth can eradicate any problem that the society faces. She is currently working as the Research Associate with Alexis Centre for Public Policy and International Relations.

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