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What to expect from the Aam Aadmi Party Govt in Delhi from a digital perspective


The Aam Aadmi Party has won a landslide victory in Delhi today. The party, led by Arvind Kejriwal, made some interesting promises regarding digitization of governance in the city in its manifesto. We’ll check back next year to track the progress:

1. Wi-Fi Delhi, imlpemented City wide: The AAP has promised Wi-Fi in public zones of Delhi, and said that Internet and telecom companies have “been approached and a high level feasibility study has been done in consultation with them.” The party believes that “It will also provide an impetus to education, entrepreneurship business employment and also tie in with women’s safety initiatives. Wi-Fi will be provided in public zones of Delhi.

Our take: We’d like to see these feasibility services made public. Free internet helps, but the devil may lie in the details: how much Internet connectivity for free? There’s free Wi-Fi at Connought Place, but try connecting to it and it doesn’t work.

2. Delhi to be a startup hub, setting up incubators:

–  “The government will encourage startups by setting up business and technology incubators in universities and colleges. As a pilot project, we will also create three million square feet of affordable business incubation space.”
–  “We will also ensure that starting a trade or business in Delhi takes a maximum time of one week. As vital stakeholders the participation of traders in the framing of trade policies will be encouraged.”
– “AAP will facilitate innovative and private startup accelerators to provide support to entrepreneurs. We will create an ecosystem that enables private industry to create more jobs.”
– Encourage technological incubators in universities and colleges
– Facilitate innovative and private startup accelerators to provide support to entrepreneurs
– Target to provide 3 million square feet of affordable incubation space to begin with and scale up if the idea takes shape
– Incentivise entrepreneurship by providing cheap capital and creating startup incubators

Our take: Monitoring of the status of incubators, and a public listing of startups at incubators would also be helpful, along with data on their performance. Delhi also needs an international sized conference and exhibition facility that can house, say, 12,000 people for a global level digital trade show. Pragati Maidan is run down, inaccessible, and managing an event there is inefficient.

3. Governance on the Mobile Phone: All government services and forms will be made available online and on the phone.

4. Data on government projects, performance and accounts online: Data on government projects, performance, accounts and personnel will be posted online. This will bring transparency and accountability in governance

5. No FDI In Retail: Our government will continue with its decision of not allowing FDI in retail in Delhi.

Our take: This is disappointing, since it would help with inflow of capital into the city and its startups.

6. CCTVs in public spaces and buses, and recording of court cases:

– With women’s security in mind, the AAP has planned to install CCTV cameras “in DTC buses, bus stands and in crowded places as a deterrent against crime. The party also has significant plans for improving public transportation and connectivity to the Delhi Metro.
– CCTVs in the FIR registration rooms to monitor whether police are registering all FIRs.
– Proceedings of all court cases will be video recorded and made available to ordinary citizens.

Our take: Putting cameras everywhere might help make people more conscious about committing crimes, but what of the cost of monitoring them and privacy? Here’s a great piece on the cost of CCTVs and the cost of monitoring them.

7. Mohalla Sabha’s to use IT for functioning: “Swaraj Bill which will give power to the Mohalla Sabhas and will involve the use of Information Technology to promote transparency and reduce corruption in government functioning.”

8. Delhi To Be Made A Solar City:
– “AAP will facilitate a phased shift to renewable and alternate sources of energy. Incentives will be given to households, housing societies, enterprise and industry to gradually switch over to renewable energy. We are committed to ensuring that 20 percent of Delhi’s energy needs are met through solar energy by 2025.”
– Subsidise home units or waiving taxes on solar devices and batteries will encourage solar power. People will have the option of selling solar power to the grid, upping their income.

9. Suraksha Button: “Our government will provide a Suraksha/SOS button on every mobile phone. We will work towards its connectivity to the police, nearest PCR van, relatives and volunteer community.”

10. VAT licenses will be online, simplified:

– “Delhi will have the lowest VAT regime in India. We will simplify VAT and other tax structures. One portion of the VAT collected from every locality and market will be used for the maintenance and upgradation of that market to foster business and trade.”
– “End of VAT Raids And Inspector Raj: We will put an end to raid culture and inspector raj. Only under exceptional circumstances will a raid be permitted with the prior approval of senior officials.”
– “Simplifying VAT Rules: AAP will simplify VAT rules, processes and forms.”
– “The 30 page long VAT form will be crunched into one page for traders.”
– “All communication with the concerned department will be online. Licenses will be applied for and received at home.”
– All VAT transactions for traders will be online. Licenses can be applied and received at home. Will reduce interface with the Delhi government and ensure that starting a trade or business takes one week.

11. Water distribution to use GPS/GPRS: “Transparent tanker water distribution by implementation of state of the art techniques and technologies, i.e. GPS/GPRS; data acquisition and flow monitoring and data base system. The schedule of tankers operating in different localities would be made available online.”

12. Education:

– Teaching and learning infrastructure including computers and high-speed Internet connectivity will be made fully functional in every school.
– Centralised online transparent system for nursery admissions. Class strength, vacancies and admissions process will be published online for every school
– Monitor private school fees by making free structure and accounts transparent and online. Will publish class strength, vacancies, admissions process online for every school.
– Consider converting report cards from numbers to qualitative data that a parent can understand.

13. Health

– Health cards issued to Delhi residents 100% computerization of all hospitals.
– Appointments at all hospitals will be made online.

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