Delhi State seems to succumb in a big way to every crisis. Be it the two Covid-19 waves, or life coming to a standstill after a couple of days’ rainfall. The institutional unpreparedness can be attributed directly to the kind of governance being provided by the Aam Aadmi Party. Its populist approach, focused purely on buying votes through giveaways fine-tuned to meeting sectional interests, entirely lacks economic and developmental vision. As compared to the Sheila Dixit years during which infrastructure received a huge boost, long term planning is entirely lacking. So, for a little bit of cheap this and a free that, Delhiites’ quality of life is taking a continuous dip.
This is particularly so as, economically, Delhi has been unable to anticipate and cope with fundamental changes. Already, certain classes of business activity have shifted to the neighbouring cities of Gurugram and Noida. So have many of the moneyed residents to less congested environs in the outskirts of the NCR. In many ways, Delhi has been reduced to a city of commuters, many coming to work daily from as far away as Meerut and even Agra. The number of those who should have a stake in a collective future has reduced, making it possible for the divide and rule policy to succeed.
It is imperative that a long term policy be formulated and implemented beyond partisan considerations. Surely the city state still contains persons of intellectual ability who could create an innovative environment for 21st Century development. The tendency to politicise everything because it is the nation’s capital should give way to its long entrepreneurial tradition from which many of India’s iconic organisations have emerged. Otherwise, very soon, questions may begin to arise whether it deserves even to be a state. Perhaps, to become a more functional entity, the NCR concept needs to be taken forward rather than the divided Lutyens’ one. In the present situation, a better situation can only result from the political choice of having a similar ideological dispensation across the board, instead of the endless politicking that obstructs progress on a daily basis. Otherwise, it may just be too late and much of Delhi could end up like an extended ghetto.