Yearender: 2012 saw slew of sops in Delhi

Sheila Dikshit

Eyeing Assembly polls next year, the Delhi government went into overdrive in 2012 doling out sops and regularising unauthorised colonies but the barbaric gangrape of a young girl brought shame to the city and triggered a blame game between Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and the police.

After BJP handed a crushing defeat to Congress in the municipal polls in April, a worried Dikshit put her government into fast gear and launched several welfare scheme.

While presenting a Rs 33,436 crore annual budget in May, she announced a major food programme to provide monthly cash subsidy of Rs 600 directly into Aadhaar-linked bank account of the senior-most female member of two lakh poor families which were not covered by the public distribution system.

The Dilli Anna Shri Yojna, claimed to be first in the country, was launched in December by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi amid signals that cash transfer scheme beginning from the New Year in 51 districts across the country could be the Congress' trump card in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

In August, the government came out with another ambitious scheme to provide free LPG cylinders and gas stoves to over 3.5 lakh BPL families at a cost of Rs 100 crore in 2012-13. The primary aim of the scheme was to make Delhi the first kerosene-free city of the country.

A month later, the government regularised 895 of 1,639 unauthorised colonies which are home to nearly 50 lakh people and considered traditional vote bank of Congress. Dikshit had pushed hard the regularisation process after Congress' drubbing in municipal polls.

At the fag end of the year, Dikshit triggered a controversy by sending a letter to Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, seeking an inquiry into alleged "interference" by senior officials of Delhi Police while a Sub-Divisional magistrate was recording the statement of the gangrape victim. Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar hit back at Dikshit rejecting the allegations.

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