In a casual conversation with DKODING Media, Delhi State Cabinet Minister Satyendar Jain opened up on his health reforms, plans for a greener transport system and a vision for an urban Delhi.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain was an architect before joining politics. The transition wasn’t by choice but need of the hour. “Back in 2013, our movement was challenged to implement Jan Lokpal Bill ourselves. We entered the political arena as Aam Aadmi seeking change. So, we jumped in,” he reminisces at Aam Aadmi Party’s office in his constituency Shakur Basti.
It would be a hat-trick if Shakur Basti chooses him again – a feat no politico has achieved yet. “I believe I am not a politician and hope I don’t become one. I just want to work,” he tells us smilingly.
Driven by the thought of doing better for the society, Jain joined Anna Hazare’s movement, later contesting in 2013 election, re-contesting in 2015, winning both the times. He’s now preparing for a third stint.
While strategizing comes naturally as part of professional skills, Jain is also an able administrator. Arvind Kejriwal’s cabinet trusts him with multiple portfolios, seven in total, viz Health, Industries, Home, Public Work Department, Power, Urban Development, Transport.
Health for All
Along with Dy CM Sisodia-headed Education Ministry, the Health Ministry headed by Satyendar Jain has been the other jewel in AAP’s crown. Under his stewardship, AAP’s revolutionary healthcare reforms have been lauded inside the country and worldwide.
Currently, the Delhi govt., 450 primary health centers or Mohalla Clinics operate in Delhi, staffed with a doctor and 3 assistants each. The government aims to open 550 more to achieve its initial target of 1000. As per Jain, AAP’s Mohalla Clinic vision wants to bring essential health services including but not limited to free dialysis, free medication, free MRI and CT scans among other facilities within a stone’s throw distance of every resident of Delhi.
Jain explains, “The healthcare facilities are for everyone to use irrespective of whether one is rich or poor. Earlier governments used to provide facilities only for BPL category, but not us.”
Various concepts implemented by the Delhi govt. like first responder Bike Ambulance for congested areas; Farishte Dilli Ke that has saved 4000 lives so far; and the Mohalla and Polly Clinics are unprecedented concepts. At the heart of the vision is Health for All. Jain claims people from other states also come to Delhi for free of cost, quality treatment, a sign that Delhi Govt. Health Scheme is more inclusive and proficient than BJP’s Ayushman Bharat.
Jain is critical of the Ayushman Bharat. “PM’s Ayushman Scheme excludes people who own a vehicle, mobile phone, fridge or have a family income above rs 10000 among other things–excluding many people even the ones who own a card,” Jain continues, “There are people in Delhi hospitals who couldn’t be treated under the Ayushman Bharat scheme implemented in their state. We got to know of it when people from other states having Ayushman Bharat cards come to Delhi as they were denied the claim for one reason or another.”
To further the development, Mohalla Clinics are being increasingly digitized. Jain says, “Each doctor is to have a tab to keep a patients’ medical history via HIMS, an interconnected monitoring system. This enables the doctor to view a patient’s history in any Mohalla Clinic, Polly Clinic or hospital. Also, it helps us to get updates of diseases spreading in any particular area.”
The odd-even scheme and introduction of Electric Vehicle Policy in Delhi is AAP’s attempt to tackle the toxic air in the capital city. CM Arvind Kejriwal-led EV policy targets electrification of 25% of the vehicles on Delhi roads by 2024.
Delhi govt. plans to promote shared transport – electric two-wheelers, and goods carriers/freight vehicles – reducing dependency on fuel-based vehicles. “The public transport will also be made electric in the next few years that will improve transport facilities and reduce pollution. This policy is being highly appreciated by everyone in the industry and by the public,” affirms Jain.
Envisioning an Urban Delhi
According to Jain, governments’ foremost responsibility towards the corporate sector and industries is to provide them with a conducive environment. He says, “Governments have exploited businesses by levying various taxes or in form of inspector raj. Our biggest achievement has been that in the last 5 years, our government hasn’t troubled any business or industry.”
Jain believes in making things possible, “We didn’t promise free electricity, we made it possible. Delhi state is the only one in the country that isn’t giving a negative budget.”
If it indeed is a hat-trick, Satyendar Jain has already envisioned a more London-esque Delhi for its citizens, “In Delhi we can still implement cleaner roads, better footpaths and transport facilities, cleaning the Yamuna river among other things. This is something we aspire to do as a party,” he said.