Open letter to Arvind Kejriwal Srivatsa Krishna My dear Arvind, At the outset, congratulations on crafting and winning "Mission Impossible" in Indian politics, that too without any CGI (computer generated images) or VFX unlike in the cinematic version. Happily, AAP has proved everyone who thought you won't win elections on a platform of introducing probity in day-to-day politics â€” me included â€” wrong. Hats off, and may the Force be with you as you replicate this across India. Inculcating probity in politics and public life is infinitely harder to do than inculcating markets into a government-managed economy. You have won the harder battle, now please don't lose the easier one. Don't resurrect the economics of Marx, Lenin and Stalin 20 years after the start of India's economic reforms. Those economic models have brought unbridled suffering, shortages and economic anarchy and have long been abandoned across the world. Instead, look at the opportunity cost of scarce resources and allow markets to function within a fair institutional design that your government can craft. Your quasi-Marxist economic agenda is regressive as it brings in more government into areas where it has no business to be in. Indian economy's fundamentals have changed dramati-cally since 1991. While the country is crying for more reforms, the last thing one wants is to undo the modest gains that markets have won, that too in the name of serving the poor. That, Arvind, will discredit not just you but AAP too. Remember 2G and Coalgate? They said selling spectrum below market prices through a first-come-first-serve mechanism, not via auctions to dis-cover prices through markets, would make mobile services cheaper for aam admi? Likewise, coal was given away not via auctions but through an opaque process almost free of cost, again pricing an asset wrongly, again in the name of providing cheap power for aam admi. What did both actually lead to? Humungous corruption and no reduction in any prices! Please learn from 2G and Coalgate sagas and do not interfere in the functioning of markets as far as possible, or else you will end up scripting another drama of enduring shortages and retail corruption (assuming there will be no wholesale corruption with you at the top). That will hurt aam admi much more than you would have ever desired. Take power. First, Delhi government has little say in tariff fixation. It is done by a regulator who is constitutionally mandated to be fair and go by the rule book. Even though sadly many are lapdogs in the hands of the political leadership, something i am sure you don't want to encourage. Second, contractually the private utilities work on a cost plus model and get a fixed 16% post-tax return on equity (and the cost of debt). They cannot take home windfall gains as easily as is being portrayed. Third, the aggregate revenue requirement is calculated as a sum of controllable (wage bill, administration costs, repair costs) and uncontrollable costs (i.e. cost of bulk power purchase from NTPC and pre-fixed through long-term power purchase agreements). In other words, the utilities in reality are just a clearing house who do little value addition, with the exception of one very important fact â€” bringing down transmission and distribution losses. They have done this rather spectacularly over the past decade (Delhi's T&D losses stand at about 16% which is one of the lowest in India). Fourth, Delhi has the lowest per capita tariff compared to other Indian metros even after the 70% tariff hikes in the past decade (energy charge of Delhi, one of the two components of the actual tariff, is Rs 2.70 for 200 units/month domestic usage vs Rs 4.30 in Mumbai and Rs 5.60 in Kolkata). Lastly, even though the uncontrollable costs have increased by 300% in the last 10 years, retail tariffs have gone up only by 70% (not by 300%), which is due to gains from efficiency and the discipline discoms have brought to bear. Don't squander all this away. A neutral audit that you propose is most welcome. But please don't play around with the underlying market econo-mics, or else Delhi will be consigned to the DESU days, which once upon a time was a four-letter word! Take water, where Delhi produces about 212 liters per capita/day. Of this about 25% is lost due to physical reasons and non-revenue water (NRW = water produced â€” water billed for) is in excess of 50%! By all means crack down on the tanker mafia, but hand-in-hand with improving flow metering and advanced leak detection of bulk water, replacement of aging infrastructure, installing smart meters at retail level for billing the unbilled and curbing large-scale theft of water (the last two together account for another 25% of NRW). Learn from the examples of Hubli-Dharwad, Rajkot and Gulbarga who were all like Delhi on most water metrics but managed to privatise water supply and brought down NRW from 50-60% to under 10% today. Free water means no water. AAP stands for greater decentralisation, more people's will and less government control. Ironically, your economic agenda suggests exactly the opposite. Please don't become the new, improved CPI or CPM. History has offered you a unique moment in time. Don't squander it. Yours truly. The writer is an IAS officer. Views are personal.