The so-called ‘Outcome Report’ on LG Office being circulated in the media is misleading.
Thursday, April 5, 2018
The so-called ‘Outcome Report’ on LG Office being circulated in the media is misleading.
97% files approved as received in the LG Office
The few files returned to seek clarification were those which were incomplete or in contravention of rules.
Delays at the level of the elected government being wrongly attributed to the LG Office
Decision making would be much faster if the elected government followed rules and did due diligence
o It has been widely reported in the electronic, print and social media that the elected government has presented a so called outcome report of Hon’ble Lt. Governor’s office. Whatever has been reported in the media contains incorrect and misleading information. Files or proposals which are pending with the elected government for a long time have been shown to be pending with the office of the Lt. Governor which is incorrect. On the other hand, there are cases which are not included (for example, DSEAB, Annexure B), where the file remained pending with the Minister for more than two years (768 days) without any reason !
o This office has not received a copy of the so-called Outcome Report and has also not been consulted while making the report. This office does not want to comment on the Report laid by Hon’ble Dy.C.M. before the House as the proceedings have to be controlled by Hon’ble Speaker in accordance with the Assembly Rules. However, whatever is being reported in the media in parallel is incorrect.
o The Lt. Governor’s office has always believed in transparency, objectivity and rule of law and is willing to present a factual status of various issues raised so that the public is not misled.
o As per the Scheme of Governance of NCT of Delhi, the NCT of Delhi has a Special Status and is a Union Territory. The specific roles of Central Government, Lt. Governor and GNCTD have been clearly defined. The administration of NCT of Delhi is regulated by the rules and procedures made by the President of India under the Government of NCT of Delhi Act, 1991 enacted by the Parliament under Article 239AA of the Constitution of India. Certain functions including those which are not within the Legislative competence of Legislative Assembly of Delhi are discharged by the Lt. Governor in his discretion. It may be noted that this scheme of constitutional governance has been in existence in Delhi since 1993 and past governments have shared a harmonious relationship with the office of the Lt. Governor. However, the present elected Government has deliberately and persistently chosen to act in contravention of scheme of governance of NCT of Delhi.
o The view of the elected government that the office of the Lt. Governor is not supposed to carry out any due diligence on matters referred to LG is not correct. As per oath of Office, the office of the Lt. Governor is to uphold and protect the Constitution of India and rule of law in public interest and on no occasion, this office has deviated from the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Only those proposals which have been submitted by the elected government in violation of the laid down procedure/laws or with incomplete details are referred back for clarification or filling in the gaps, before these proposals can be considered. This is important as a large number of decisions of the elected government have been declared null and void by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi for violation of scheme of governance eg. Notifications for constituting commission of inquiry, appointment of nominee directors of DISCOMS, minimum circle rates, etc.
Following is the factual position in terms of files received and disposed in the office of the Lt. Governor.
o During the tenure of the present elected government, this office has received approximately 10000files/proposals seeking the approval of the Lt. Governor, including those on reserved subjects.
o Out of these, 97% of the proposals were concurred to without any change. Only two proposals were sent to the Hon’ble President as difference of opinion under the relevant transaction of business rules, while only a few (less than 3% of the total received) were returned to the elected government for seeking clarifications/incorporating suggestions as the proposals suffered from various shortcomings/infirmities.
o The details of these two cases, referred for decision of the Hon’ble President of India are at Annexure A. One of these cases (Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission) has been conveniently omitted in the so called Outcome Report , as it represents a continued constitutional violation on the part of the elected government on an important issue of public interest.
o The list of some of the proposals which were either returned to the elected government to seek clarifications or to incorporate suggestions are given at Annexure-B. The facts will speak for themselves. Most of the time taken is at the level of elected government and many of the files are still pending with them. The decisions could have been taken much faster had the elected government done due diligence and followed rules/procedures.
o Even though only 3% of the proposals received were returned to seek clarifications, and many of them were subsequently concurred, the reasons for seeking clarifications in general are the following:
o Scarce resources of the government must be utilized for the benefit of the poor and the needy . Therefore, in case of proposals which involved expenditure of public money earned through the hard work of tax payers, suggestions were given to make the schemes focused on the real poor and needy rather than providing subsidy to all without any income limit. Ultimately, public money belongs to the tax payers and needs to be spent judiciously. (For example, proposal relating to Mukhya Mantri Tirath Yatra)
o Prevention of corruption through systemic reforms including minimizing human interface and use of technology: The best way to reduce corruption and discretion is to minimize the human interface. Therefore, proposals which onlyreplaced one set of human interface with another, were returned with an advice to minimize such human interface and leverage latest technologies, including digital delivery to remove corruption and increase transparency and efficiency. (e.g. Doorstep Delivery of Services and Home Delivery of Ration)
o Upholding the Constitution and Rule of Law: Proposals which were processed or submitted in violation of extant laws/rules were returned with a request to take corrective action. Following of laws/rules is not a matter of choice, but an obligation. For eg: Enhancement of Minimum Wages, Reconstitution of various Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (06 proposals), Wetlands Regulatory Authority etc.
o Right to equality of opportunity, fair play and healthy competition . Proposals which promoted nepotism / favouritism were returned with an advice to have fair play and competition. For eg: Mid Day Meal through Akshay Patra Foundation, etc.
( Details of the two proposals that were referred to the Hon’ble President)
o The case of grant of ex-gratia of Rs.1 Crore to Late Shri Ram Kishan Grewal, was referred to the Hon’ble President as the core issue involved is that whether taxpayer money can be given as compensation in cases of alleged suicide outside the course of duty.
o The case of Appointment of Chairperson, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, DERC, was referred to the Hon’ble President as the appointment made was not in accordance with the Electricity Act, 2003 and without the approval of the competent authority. Further, it is a matter of regret that the directions dated 23.08.2017 issued by the Hon’ble Lt. Governor to initiate the process of appointment of regular Chairperson and Member in DERC, have not been followed by the elected Government in contravention of Rules of Transaction of Business. This has led to an unfortunate state that such an important commission that performs vital functions in the interest of people of Delhi in power sector, continues to function without a full time chair person.
Reconstitution of Delhi Wakf Board –
· On 19.12.2017 the file was submitted with proposal to constitute DWB by excluding one Muslim member nominated under section 14 (1) (e) in addition to keeping a vacancy of Muslim member under section 14 (1) (b) (iii).
· The proposal was returned back to the Hon’ble Chief Minister on 29.12.2017 with the advice that it may not be appropriate to constitute the Board with the vacancies at the stage of constitution itself and also to await the outcome of the petition pending before the Hon’ble High Court. The said file is yet to be resubmitted by the elected government despite a lapse of more than three months.
Mid Day Meal through Akshay Patra Foundation –
· A communication of Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister was received on 18.09.2017 for in-principle approval for issuance of license to use and allotment of 4 acres of premium government land to Akshay Patra Foundation, (a private NGO) on nomination basis i.e. without any tender or opportunity to other such NGOs.
· On 20.10.2017, the Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister was advised to submit the proposal after due examination with reference to relevant rules / guidelines in consultation with departments concerned. The basic issue is that government land or work cannot be allotted without following a process of tender in a transparent manner. The government cannot be seen to be favouring one particular institution over others.
The proposal has not been received back yet from the Hon’ble Dy.C.M.
· There is a statutory provision under section 22 of Delhi School Education Act, 1973 to constitute Delhi School Education Advisory Board (DSEAB) to advice the Administrator on matters of policy relating to education in Delhi.
· The term of said Board expired on 02.12.2015. The Department on 10.12.2015 had proposed to the Hon’ble Dy. C.M. for re-constitution of aforesaid Board.
· However, the Hon’ble Dy. Chief Minister forwarded the file to this Secretariat on 18.01.2018 after a gap of 768 days (more than 2 years) without assigning any reasons. The Hon’ble Lt. Governor approved the proposal on 05.02.2018.
Enhancement of Minimum Wages
· The initial proposal for enhancement of Minimum Wages suffered from serious legal infirmity as the Tripartite committee, whose recommendation formed the basis of the proposal was not constituted with approval of competent authority as mandated under Minimum Wages Act, 1948. As such, the entire proposal was vulnerable to future litigation and delays.
· Matter was discussed with Hon’ble Minister on 02.09.2016 and it was agreed that the proposal for constitution of a legally valid committee would be put up on 02.09.2016 itself. The proposal was received and approved by the Hon’ble Lt. Governor on 02.09.2016 i.e. on the same day.
Subsequently, after a lapse of 5 months, the proposal relating to enhancement of Minimum Wages, after following the due process of law, was received by office of the Hon’ble Lt. Governor on 01.03.2017 and was concurred by Hon’ble Lt. Governor on 02.03.2017 (within one day).
Thus, it is grossly incorrect to say that there was any delay on the part of this office.
Doorstep delivery of Ration
The proposal was received on 14.03.2018.
· The PDS scheme is a national scheme of Central Government under the National Food Security Act, 2013, and as the proposal had potential implementation and operational risks flagged by the department itself, the file was returned on 20.03.2018 to consult the Central Government, as recommended by the Law Department, on the proposal before taking a decision with the following observations:
o The Finance Department had observed that the proposed system of home delivery of ration will only replace one set of human intervention with the other i.e. service providers and their agents. Diversion of ration materials and corruption may not be eliminated under the proposed scheme.
o An expenditure of about Rs.250 Crores per annum is likely to be incurred on the home delivery scheme, and if DBT is adopted, the beneficiaries can procure an additional 5 Kg of Atta per family per month with the money so saved.
o The cabinet note itself brought out several potential threats and weaknesses, and the department noted that the introduction of scheme has potential operational and implementation risks.
o Government of India provides for ‘Home Delivery’ as one of the two options, only as a special dispensation for a category of beneficiaries who are above 65 years of age or are differently- abled etc.
o Targeted Public Distribution System is implemented under the National Food Security Act, 2013, and as pointed by Law Department introduction of the Scheme would require prior approval of Central Government.
So far, the proposal has not been received back in the Hon’ble Lt. Governor Office and is pending with the elected Government.
It may also be noted that the recent CAG report has pointed out several issues with the identification of beneficiaries under the Act and the proposed scheme of the elected government did not touch upon this issue at all.
Wetland Regulatory Authority
· File was received for Hon’ble LG’s approval on 21.07.2017 and returned to Hon’ble Chief Minister on 28.07.2017 (within a week) as the proposal for constitution of Wetland Regulatory Authority was incomplete as it was submitted on the basis of draft rules and not final rules.
· It is surprising that the proposal was initiated based on the draft rules which were lying in the public domain for inviting objections and suggestions.
Despite a lapse of 8 months, the files are yet to be submitted by the elected government to the LG office.
Health Insurance Scheme
· The proposal was received on 30.08.2016 after the judgment of Hon’ble High Court of Delhi on 04.08.2016 which had declared the decisions of the elected government null and void for want of concurrence of Hon’ble Lt. Governor.
· The file was returned on 28.10.2016 with the observation that the proposal in that form led to violations of GFR, empowered grantee institution to create posts without following due procedure, lack of deliberations on setting up of autonomous society, etc.
· The file was resubmitted on 20.02.2017 after a lapse offour months, without addressing the issues raised.
· On 29.03.2017, the Hon’ble Lt. Governor agreed in-principle to the proposal in public interest and advised to consult other States / UTs implementing similar insurance scheme to find out the mechanism adopted for implementation.
· Though the elected government has claimed that it is an important policy for the public, the file has not been resubmitted till date by the elected government even after lapse of more than one year.
Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinic
· It is noteworthy that in the pilot project of Mohalla Clinics, a number of serious complaints related to favouritism to Aam Aadmi Party Volunteers in selection of sites of clinics, lack of transparency in selection and deployment of doctors, data rigging for inflating the payment to the doctors & staff, exorbitant rents for the rented sites, etc had been received. The Vigilance department, GNCTD had found prima-facie substance in these complaints.
· In view of these complaints, some files received for ex-post facto approval of Mohalla Clinics were returned on 05.07.2017 with advice to Hon’ble Chief Minister to look into the complaints and address the issues raised in the complaints so that these clinics function in an optimal and transparent manner as per rules.
· The files were resubmitted on 31.08.2017 along with the SOP / handbook of organization and methods of Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics and the proposal was concurred by the Hon’ble Lt. Governor without delay on 04.09.2017 (within 2 working days) subject to safeguards such as having a transparent and objective mechanism of selection of sites, engagement of doctors/staff, following of codal formalities while incurring expenditure, etc.
· Initially, the proposal to set up Mohalla Clinics in the land appurtenant to schools was received on 18.08.2016 for ex-post facto approval after the judgment of Hon’ble High Court of Delhi on 04.08.2016.
· Since the proposal involved land use in terms of conditions of land allotment to schools, the file was returned on 01.11.2016 for detailed examination. The basic issue was the concern about the safety and security of school students and whether school land can be used for the purpose in terms of Delhi School Education Act and Rules.
· The file was resubmitted on 25.11.2016 without earlier Cabinet decisions in this regard, and was returned on 06.12.2016 to have transparency in selection of doctors, sites and other staffs and to fix accountability mechanism and quality check and address concerns relating to potential risks to the students studying in such schools.
The file was received back on 04.01.2017 which was concurred by Hon’ble Lt. Governor on 09.01.2017 subject to certain conditions to ensure safety and security of students, separate entries and exit for clinics, compliance with Delhi School Education Act and Rules and obtaining all statutory permissions / NOCs from the concerned local bodies, appointment of doctors / staff in transparent and objective manner and following of GFR / CVC instructions and other codal formalities while incurring expenditure.
Mukhya Mantri Tirath Yatra Yojna –
· The proposal was received on 15.02.2018 which was returned on 08.03.2018 advising the Minister concerned to discuss on the following issues for taking a considered decision in the matter :
o The department itself had placed on record similar schemes of States of Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where the income tax payers have been excluded from the scheme in addition to other eligibility criteria, but the elected government proposed not to have any income limit in the proposal. Having an income limit ensures that scarce government funds are used for the benefit of needy persons.
o Why is a certificate from the area MLA needed to avail the scheme particularly when election identity card is already a mandatory condition. This may lead to allegations of favouritism.
o In case of large number of applications, a transparent and fair system to select beneficiaries based on defined criteria, is needed, which was not detailed in the proposal.
o Despite the claim of the elected government that this is an important proposal, no response has been received from the Minister till date. The file is still pending with the elected government.
o The Hon’ble Minister has chosen to tweet about the matter but there is still no word as to when can this proposal be discussed in a constructive manner. Thus it appears that there is more focus on rhetoric and public posturing, rather than on resolving issues.
Door Step delivery of Public Services
· The proposal was received on 18.12.2017 and was returned on 26.12.2017 to the Hon’ble Chief Minister with the following observations:
(i) Digital Delivery of services is the most effective tool for removal of corruption as it eliminates human interface, delays and discretion.
(ii) 35 out of 40 services included in the proposal are already being offered ‘on line’.
(iii) Gaps in Digital delivery of services from the ‘application’ to the ‘delivery’ stage need to be plugged.
(iv) A suitable financial model be worked out to provide soft loan, if needed, to the educated unemployed to set up these ‘kiosks’ as service delivery centers.
(v) Introduction of a human delivery system in place of a digital delivery would only introduce an additional layer with attendant complications regarding concerns about safety and security of senior citizens/women, possibility of corruption, delays, bad behaviour, breach of privacy, loss of documents, etc.
(vi) Much of this expenditure and burden on the citizens can be minimized by switching over to digital delivery which would be much more transparent, efficient, environment friendly & would reduce corruption without incurring unnecessary expenditure.
It is incorrect as claimed in the media that the initial proposal was approved as it is, whereas the matter of fact is that the Hon’ble CM assured Hon’ble LG that the government will simultaneously plug the gaps in the digital delivery of services from the ‘application’ to the ‘delivery’ stage in the present system of providing services ‘on-line’ by enabling young entrepreneurs to come up with ‘internet-kiosks’ with adequate safeguards, from where the services can be accessed. A suitable financial model will also be worked out to provide soft loan, if needed, to the educated unemployed to set up these kiosks.
In view of the assurance given by the Hon’ble CM, the Hon’ble LG concurred to the proposal.
The file was resubmitted on 11.01.2018 and Hon’ble Lt. Governor approved the proposal on 15.01.2018 (within two working days).As such, there is no question of any delay.
Higher Education Loan Guarantee Scheme–
· The proposal for this scheme was initially approved and implemented by the elected government without the concurrence of the Hon’ble Lt. Governor. The file was submitted on 29.08.2016 to Hon’ble Lt. Governor for ex-post facto approval after the judgment of Hon’ble High Court of Delhi dated 04.08.2016.
· The matter was examined by the Three Member Committee in detail and certain legal issues were raised. While Hon’ble Lt. Governor agreed with the scheme in-principle, the file was returned on 13.02.2017 to address the legal issues raised.
· Though it is claimed that the elected government was serious about this scheme, the file was re-submitted to this office on 06.09.2017 after a period of more than 08 months without addressing the legal and financial issues raised by Law department and the file was returned again on 18.09.2017 advising Hon’ble Dy.C.M. to consult the relevant Ministry in GoI through MHA, GoI to ensure the soundness of the proposed scheme / mechanism.
· Subsequently since the issue was misrepresented in the media, the Hon’ble Lt. Governor wrote a D.O. letter dated 27.09.2017 to the Hon’ble Dy.C.M. pointing requesting to incorporate the safeguards in the scheme for ensuring responsibilities of the lending institutions, inspections, linkage of loan with Aadhaar number to ensure transparency, etc.
· The file was re-submitted to this office on 29.09.2017 by the Hon’ble Dy.C.M. wherein he mentioned that Hon’ble LG has given an excellent suggestion that the education loan should be linked with the National Academic Depository (NAD). Since, he also assured to gradually incorporate the safeguards suggested by Hon’ble Lt. Governor, the proposal was approved by the Hon’ble Lt. Governor on 04.10.2017. (within 3 working days).
· Further, the scheme has been continuously operational since the day of its launch in September, 2015.
Request for change of Director, DIP
The request of Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister to change Shri Jaidev Sarangi, Director, DIP has to be seen in the context of performance of duties strictly as per law by Shri Sarangi. The department under him pointed out the continuing violations of Hon’ble Supreme Court guidelines on government advertising by the elected government.
In fact, the elected government tried to intimidate the officer by issuing various threats. This office is in receipt of complaints from Shri Sarangi in which he pointed out, that on a number of occasions, he was subjected to harassment and was abused by the Hon’ble Dy. CM, so much so that on 28.11.2017, in the presence of the Chief Secretary, the Hon’ble Dy. C.M. threatened him “SARANGI, TERA JEENA HARAAM KAR DUNGA”. The officer filed a written complaint and is apprehensive of threat to his life. He stated that “… for the first time in life, he has got a threat from a person in very high position of authority…”.
· The Hon’ble Dy. CM has placed on record that the related file was sent to Hon’ble Lt. Governor for his approval on 30.08.2016 and Hon’ble Lt. Governor has returned the file on 14.03.2018.
Facts of the case are as follows:
· File was received in Lt. Governor’s Secretariat on 01.09.2016 and this file was considered by the three-member Committee and was returned to Chief Secretary with the advice that matter be examined as per rules and guidelines and resubmitted.
· Subsequently, the elected government took a Cabinet Decision No. 2553 dated 20.02.2018 dated in the matter to cancel the process taken to implement the Cabinet Decision No. 2319 dated 22.03.2016 and also to cancel the Cabinet Decision No. 2400 dated 17.08.2016. The revised proposal was again submitted for consideration of Hon’ble Lt. Governor on 07.03.2018.
· Hon’ble Lt. Governor approved the proposal on 14.03.2018, subject to the condition that the selection should be done by way of written examination as applicants would be from different universities having different courses and that the weightage to interview be reduced in the interest of transparency and objectivity.
· Having a written test is important to ensure objectivity and fairness in the selection process.