Polity and Governance

Delhi Full Statehood

Delhi Full Statehood
The Union Territories were created to provide a flexible but transitional status to several areas that had joined India under different circumstances. Goa, Manipur, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh had been granted full statehood. Delhi houses the national government and all its units. The city has been kept as a Union Territory with extraordinary powers to a subordinate State government. Except for law and order and land (both of which due to the presence and needs of the Central government is within its purview), all other subjects are with the State government. Background The issue of Delhi’s statehood was raised for the first time by Pattabhi Sitaramayya in 1947 in the Constituent Assembly. However, B.R. Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru and others were not in favour. In 1952, Delhi became a Part-C state of the Indian union with Chaudhary Brahm Prakash as its first chief minister. Delhi again had a Chief Minister in the early ’90s with the introduction of Articles 239AA and 239BB in the Constitution and with the passage of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act of 1991. The demand for statehood has been taken up by the Aam Aadmi Party due to the AAP government constantly at loggerheads with the bureaucracy and the Lieutenant Governor over matters of governance. Why the demand for statehood? •The Delhi government has no say over the affairs of the Delhi Development Authority, which hinders the effective allocation, use of land and implementing welfare schemes. •Delhi government faces problem in proper maintenance of law and order in the state due to absence of control over the police. •The Government of Delhi has no control over the Municipal Corporation of Delhi which again proves to be a hindrance in implementing development measures. •The role and power of LG and the Delhi government have always been an area of conflict. The LG has been accused of slowing down the welfare measures and administrative schemes of the elected government. •The huge and diverse nature of Delhi’s population has also led to the demand of creation of a Delhi cadre in the UPSC. What are the problems with granting statehood to Delhi? Although the demand for a full statehood has been on for a while, there are a number of problems with granting full statehood to Delhi. •The most significant problem is having two governments in the same city. •Granting statehood might lead to various administrative problems especially in law and order which would be detrimental for the capital. •Important agencies like the Union Public Service Commission, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Central Vigilance Commission, Supreme Court, Parliament are all based in Delhi. •Foreign dignitaries and heads of State also visit Delhi and their protection is the responsibility of the Central government. •There have been proposals to carve out the New Delhi Municipal Council (where most of the important institutions are based) and letting it remain a Union Territory, while the rest of Delhi can be granted statehood. •However, in that case, Red Fort and Palam create issues with inclusion within the UT. Most of Delhi’s revenue comes from the Red Fort’s adjoining areas and without them, the state will be left almost totally bereft of finances. •There will be innumerable administrative problems and issues with sharing of water, power and roads. Some important court judgements: 2016: The Delhi High Court held that Lieutenant Governor had administrative powers in NCT Delhi. The Court also upheld the 2015 government notice which overruled the 1998 notification which stated that the LG of Delhi should consult the chief minister on matters of public order, police and services. The limitation imposed on the LG was that he/she had to act upon the aid and advice of the elected government. 2017: The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government had moved the Supreme Court saying that the LG of Delhi has been interfering in administrative matters which had proven to be detrimental in implementing welfare measures. The court had observed that the constitution provides more power to the LG, who act to his/her own discretion on matters stated under the law, but does not have the jurisdiction to pronounce the Delhi government’s decisions correct or not. In the situation of a disagreement, the matter can be referred to the President for decision. While the views over granting full statehood are divided, all parties agree that the government of Delhi should have more share in controlling the capital with regard to municipal affairs, police force and urban planning.
Source: https://www.britannica.com/place/New-Delhi

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