After having received a setback in the Lok Sabha 2019 elections, Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government, which lost all 7 Lok Sabha seats to BJP in Delhi, is on a spree of announcing freebies to woo Delhi residents. Following the declaration of free Metro and bus rides for women, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal today announced that electricity in the national capital from today onwards will be free for consumption up to 200 units.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal: Those in Delhi, who consume up to 200 units of electricity, need not pay their electricity bills; they will get a zero electricity bill. Consumers of 201-400 units of electricity will receive approximately 50% subsidy. pic.twitter.com/j7cdmwH3Qz
— ANI (@ANI) August 1, 2019
Kejriwal stated that the incentive of getting free electricity will encourage the people living in Delhi to conserve electricity and make prudent use of it. In addition to this, those consuming 201-400 units will have to pay half the price as the Delhi government will give approximately 50% subsidy. CM Kejriwal proudly claimed that Delhi provides the cheapest electricity in the country.
Reacting to the move, BJP leader Harish Khurana questioned the Aam Aadmi Party supremo over the subsidies paid by the Delhi government to the electricity companies. Khurana has shared an RTI response which included details of subsidies given to electricity companies in the last five years. The figures suggest that the subsidies given to the electricity companies have risen exponentially with the only exception of the year 2014-2015.
आप दम तो भर रहे हो की पाँच साल में आपने बिजली के दाम नहीं बढ़ने दिए तो यह भी बता दो यह जो सब्सिडी हर साल बढ़ा कर बिजली कम्पनी को दे रहे हो वो किसका पैसा है?
तुम्हारा या @msisodia का?
— Harish Khurana (@HarishKhuranna) August 1, 2019
In the second image shared by BJP leader Harish Khurana, one can see how the electricity companies have been steadily increasing the fixed charges in almost all of the categories. It also shows how the Delhi government’s share of subsidies is increasing on a Year-on-Year basis. Khurana further asked the pertinent question of Kejriwal as to who is paying these subsidies if not the Delhi government. Khurana implied that Kejriwal’s claim that Delhi people have to pay less for the electricity is misleading as the Delhi government is paying the subsidies from its treasury, which is essentially public exchequer.
It is not sure why Kejriwal thinks that people will make more prudent use of electricity if they get it for free. People tend to use less when something is expensive, not when it free or cheap.
The Delhi CM has been a big crusader against utility bills. He had won a historic victory in assembly elections in 2015 on the promises of reduced power tariff and free water. After coming to power, he had slashed power by fifty per cent up to 400 units, and announced 20,000 litres free water per household. Before becoming chief minister, he had illegally personally restored electricity connections to several households in Delhi which were disconnected by power companies for non-payment of bills.
Prior to this, Kejriwal had burdened the public exchequer by announcing free travel in Delhi Metro for women. He had then stated that free travel for women in Delhi Metro will encourage more women to use Metro and subsequently enhance their safety. However, Kejriwal couldn’t convincingly explain how travelling free is connected with one’s safety. Even Metro Man E Sreedharan had slammed Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia for destroying Delhi Metro for electoral gains.