Calling it a ‘major reform in water sector,’ Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a complete waiver of late-payment charges on water bills till November end. People who have got new water connections are also eligible for waiver according to Kejriwal’s announcement.

In a series of tweets the AAP leader elaborated on his announcement where he said how his government in the past five years had “resolved the root of the compounding arrears by fixing Delhi Jal Board’s faulty billing process.” Kejriwal called it a “fresh start for honest consumers who want to pay their bills but were unable to do so because of irregular cycles and frequent incorrect arrears.

The full water bills of people in categories E, F, G and H, who number around 10.5 lakh,  have been waived till March 31 next year. For those in categories A and B, the waiver is 25%, for C category, it is 50%, and for D category it is 75%.

The 100% waiver on late-payment charges, however, is applicable across categories, Kejriwal said. The DJB is likely to get around Rs600 crore when people are encouraged to pay their water bills after the late-payment fee is waived, the Chief Minister said, adding at least 13.5 lakh people owe dues to the DJB. At least Rs. 2,500 crore is due from domestic water users, and Rs. 1,500 crore from commercial users, Mr Kejriwal said.

The announcement comes ahead of Delhi’s Assembly polls which are due early 2020. Earlier, the AAP government had announced free ridership for women in DTC buses and Delhi Metro in the coming six months.