There have been several analyses about Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its supremo Arvind Kejriwal’s return to power in Delhi. One among them doing the rounds is that the AAP government has ensured that Delhi is a revenue surplus state. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal projected it as a proof of the honesty with which his government has functioned. He used this as justification for giving some facilities for free, claiming they didn’t make a dent on the Delhi exchequer. Arvind Kejriwal himself said in the Legislative Assembly that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has certified that Delhi has remained a revenue surplus state.
However, here is the other part of story that the AAP government is hiding from the same CAG report. Though Delhi is seen as a revenue surplus state, a huge amount of loan is listed as ‘outstanding’ in the account book. When these loans are paid back from the government exchequer, the surplus numbers will disappear.
Burden of Debt
So, these figures obviously raise the question – how far can the concessions on Bus fare and electricity go? As the report quotes, only ₹351 crore was paid against the ₹26,620 crore disbursed to the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), while in the case of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) only ₹161 crore was paid against an outstanding due of ₹11,837 crore.
Losses That CM Hides
CM Kejriwal presented his narrative before the people, apparently picking up one part of the CAG report, that his government is efficiently handling the surplus amounts that rest with them. However, as this Indian Express report notes, the CAG report also notes that losses of DTC have increased from ₹2,914 crore in 2013-14 to ₹3,844 crore in 2017-18. The report published in December 3, 2019 also noted that the DTC also failed to induct a single bus in its fleet since 2010.
These facts do raise concerns over the sustainability of a freebie and concession driven model. Delhiites can’t really live in a fool’s paradise, assuming that they have revenue surplus, since someone someday has to payback what they owe.