All hospitals run by the municipal corporations would be transferred to the Delhi government if the Congress wins the upcoming civic polls, Delhi Congress Chief Ajay Maken announced on Wednesday.This would save Rs 652 crore every year for the cash-strapped municipal bodies, which would be used to boost primary healthcare facilities, Maken told reporters here while unveiling his party's road map to improve primary education and health in Delhi. "In turn, the municipal corporations would be willing to take ownership of primary healthcare centres currently being operated by the state and Central governments," he said.Municipal polls for 272 wards would be held on April 23 and the results would be declared on April 26. Maken said there were overlapping jurisdictions when it comes to providing healthcare facilities to Delhi citizens as the state, the Centre and the municipal corporations were operating primary healthcare centres as well as big hospitals."Across the world, municipal bodies are responsible for providing primary healthcare while in Delhi, North Delhi Municipal Corporation (North MCD) operates six big hospitals as well at a cost of Rs 652 crore per year," he added.
"Meanwhile, Delhi government runs primary healthcare centres which is MCD's responsibility," Maken said. Former Union Minister Salman Khurshid said the municipal corporations had failed to provide essential services to the people of Delhi."No new equipment has been purchased for dispensaries run by South MCD in last five years. The three corporations had failed to spend the allocated fund for procuring medicines and equipment," he said.Khurshid said the only solution was to differentiate responsibilities of different levels of governance and the Congress would take the first step in that direction by transferring all six big hospitals run by MCDs to the Delhi government."We have a 10-point plan to ensure that quality health facilities are available for everyone," he said.Taking on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which recently announced to abolish house tax if it wins civic polls, Maken said: "Announcing and distributing freebies is easy. But Delhi needs solutions not freebies. We are offering solutions based on thorough analysis of problems by the brightest minds.""We do not believe in politics of pointing fingers but in politics of finding solutions to the problems. Unlike the AAP and the BJP, who are finding excuses for not performing for the people of Delhi, we are placing our clear road map for Delhi in the public domain," he added.
Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor said the biggest problem for the education sector was the declining enrolment levels in MCD schools."With AAP coming to power and with MCDs not being with the Congress, there has been a serious drop in enrolment levels in schools. Where are the children going?" he asked.Tharoor said the total number of students in municipal schools had dropped from around 8.69 lakh in 2013-14 to 8.18 lakh in 2015-16."We cannot afford leaving these children out of the education system. If our country has to thrive, it has to be with educated people who take advantage of the job opportunities which are out there," he said.Tharoor added that the Congress would ensure bringing those children back into the fold and would also reduce the student-teacher ratio by filling vacancies of around 6,500 teachers that currently exist."We have also proposed an innovative plan to invest Rs 1,000 in fixed deposit for every child who enrols in municipal schools. They can get the sum with interest after they graduate from class XII," he said.