NEW DELHI: The British High Commissioner to India called upon Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at Delhi Secretariat today. He vouched for the possibility of collaboration in roadworks, education & healthcare with Delhi during the meeting. At the same time, British High Commissioner HE Alex Ellis praised the Kejriwal Government’s world-renowned work in education, healthcare & governance reforms.
Kejriwal said, “Delhi Government has identified education, healthcare, water supply & roadworks as its core priorities. Our government is spending 25% of its annual budget on education; we have spent Rs 85,000 Crores on education in the last seven years. We were able to allocate funds because of our commitment to honesty; this helped accelerate Delhi’s progress even better.”
British High Commissioner to India HE Alex Ellis called upon Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the Delhi Secretariat today. He arrived to meet the Chief Minister in company of Ms Barbara Wickham, Director, British Council India.
The CM and the High Commissioner held an extensive discussion on the issues of road beautification, and prioritisation of health & education by the Delhi Government. The High Commissioner wholeheartedly appreciated the Kejriwal Government’s excellent works all over the National Capital. The leaders also expressed their desire to work together by sharing knowledge in the areas of road infrastructure, education, healthcare and sustainability.
Both of them discussed the possibility of signing a knowledge sharing agreement between the Delhi Government and Britain to work together on these areas. Deputy CM Shri Manish Sisodia and DDC Vice Chairperson Jasmine Shah were also present during the meeting.
Kejriwal discussed the government’s core priorities and governance models. He said, “The Delhi Government has identified a few of its core priorities for the coming times. We are radically working upon enhancing Delhi’s water supply mechanism, reducing air pollution, and making transport more accessible and sustainable. Quality administration starts from the top.”
“We have given a clear message that we are here to serve the people and slowly and gradually, we are gaining the trust and confidence of the people. We’ve done a fantastic job in education and health care, and it’s being talked about across the country and worldwide,” he added.
He further discussed the reforms made in education in Delhi and added, “When we took over the government, the government schools were in a very bad shape. The infrastructure was dilapidated, there were no desks, no toilets, no drinking water, no security and therefore, there was no environment for teaching. There was no accountability, the teachers would come and go back within a few hours without taking classes.”
“At that point it was extremely important to bring everything back on track in the mainstream. We allocated 25% of the state budget for education. We provided a cohesive environment for education not just through infrastructure but through new curriculums too,” he said.
“In the last 7 years, we have spent almost Rs 85,000 crore on education reforms. Now we have state-of-the-art buildings with top-notch swimming pools and facilities at par with private schools. We sent our teachers for training abroad as well as made them attend courses at IIMs. The teachers now impart the quality of education in their capacity. We’ve brought the standard of education to a world-class level but we now aim to raise the bar even higher,” he said.
He went ahead to explain the healthcare system of Delhi through Mohalla Clinics and HIMS. He also drew parallels between Delhi and London’s healthcare models during the discussion. “Mohalla Clinics have been set up in every locality where anybody can walk in at any point of the day.
This is similar to the universal healthcare system in the UK where primary healthcare centres are in the vicinity of every residential area. Those clinics cater to a very small population while Mohalla Clinics see a huge footfall. And despite having such a large population, the State Government has been successful in providing quality healthcare to every individual. We are currently working to connect all of the Delhi government’s hospitals through the Health Information Management System.
The citizens of Delhi will be given e-health cards. There will be detailed information about a patient’s health in this card. The doctor will have access to his complete medical history using the card. People will also no longer have to wait in line to see a doctor and will be able to schedule appointments online,” he said.
Speaking about the cleaning of Yamuna and betterment of Delhi’s roads, Kejriwal said, “We are committed to providing clean water from tap to the people of Delhi 24×7 and are working fast on it. We are working on several initiatives to increase the availability of water in Delhi. Cleaning Yamuna is our priority. We are seriously working on this. The sewer water from Delhi flows into the Yamuna. As a result, the Yamuna River becomes contaminated.”
“Our goal is to treat sewage water and discharge it into the Yamuna so the water doesn’t get contaminated. We are doing this at many places, and the results are encouraging. Similarly, we are working to make Delhi’s roads beautiful and smooth, similar to those in European countries. Some roads are being redesigned and built to international standards as part of the pilot project. These roads will also have cycle lanes for clean mobility,” he said.
The CM talked about governance reforms in the state while explaining doorstep delivery of services offered by the government and said, “We started doorstep delivery of services in Delhi. Anyone can dial the number 1076 and they can get services like ration cards, caste certificates, electricity and water connection done at their doorstep.”
“There are more than 300 services under the ambit of the facility. The citizens can get an appointment by giving a time slot to the executive on the phone as to when they will be available and a government representative visits their home to complete the procedure and collect the required documents,” he added.
“The same is delivered to the relevant government department via post. All the facilities are available at home and the citizens are not required to visit the offices. This has removed any scope of a middleman getting involved and reduced corruption significantly,” he said.
Kejriwal said, “We can collaborate on green building, solar policy, waste management, road designing, and electric buses.” Delhi Government’s goal, according to the Chief Minister, is to get higher levels of power supply from solar energy by 2030.
“This is something we’re already working on. Electric vehicles are also being promoted rapidly in Delhi. We are working to reduce air pollution too,” he said.
“We are improving public transportation to reduce pollution. While promoting electric vehicles, we are also improving supporting infrastructure. We ask for votes on the basis of governance in Delhi. This is the first time in the country that people are soliciting votes from the public based on our work. The Delhi Model is being discussed all over the country, and our party won the Punjab Assembly elections based on the work done in Delhi,” he added.
The CM Office tweeted, “British High Commissioner to India H.E. Shri Alex Ellis called upon Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal at the Delhi Secretariat today. Both Delhi & Britain will work together in the fields of education, health & infrastructure for the betterment of their citizens.”
At the same time, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia stated, “The Delhi and Punjab governments had signed a knowledge-sharing agreement. This is the first time in the country that such a knowledge sharing agreement has been signed. We are now progressing by learning from one another. We are promoting tourism in Delhi. For this, we are working on a number of initiatives.”
“We are currently developing and redesigning Delhi’s markets. In these markets, all basic amenities such as water and toilets will be made available. The motive behind this is that whoever comes to Delhi, visits these markets at least once. We are also going to organise food festivals. Delhi and London can work together on these food festivals,” he said.