Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday claimed that a limited amount of freebies were good for the economy. “It makes more money available to the poor, hence boosts demand,” he added. “However, it should be done in such limits so that no extra taxes have to be imposed and it does not lead to budget deficits.”
The Aam Aadmi Party has been criticised by Opposition parties for announcing a number of subsidies and freebies in the run-up to the elections. In June, the Aam Aadmi Party announced its plan to make metro rides and travel on Delhi Transport Corporation buses free for women. Two months later, Kejriwal announced free electricity usage up to 200 units, and claimed Delhi had the cheapest electricity in India. The Delhi government also said it would provide 50% subsidy to those who consume between 201 units and 401 units of electricity.
Last week, Arvind Kejriwal announced a set of promises – including free electricity, 24-hour supply of drinking water and a world-class education for every child – as part of the Aam Aadmi Party’s guarantee card. Kejriwal said if his government returned to power it would reduce pollution by 300%. The Aam Aadmi Party chief also promised that two crore trees would be planted in the national capital, and the Yamuna river would be cleaned. “I will make sure each one of you can take a dip in the Yamuna,” he added.
Kejriwal guaranteed that free bus travel for students and women would continue for the next five years. He said the government would ensure last mile connectivity through buses and the metro network. The chief minister said all slum dwellers would be provided homes.
Assembly elections in Delhi are scheduled for February 8, and results will be announced on February 11.