Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Brief Note on Delhi

The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India has released the report of a nationwide survey carried out by it during July 2002-December 2002 on the condition of urban slums. For the purpose of the survey, a slum was defined as a compact settlement with a collection of poorly built tenements, mostly of temporary nature, crowded together usually with inadequate sanitary and drinking water facilities in unhygienic conditions. Such an area was considered as non-notified slum if at least 20 households lived in that area. Area notified as slums by the respective municipalities, corporations, local bodies or development authorities were treated as ‘notified slums’. In India, slum areas have been defined under Section 3 of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956, as areas which are for reasons of poor quality of housing, sanitation and absence or near-absence of other infrastructural facilities, are deemed ‘unfit for human habitation’. However, there is little consensus on the exact number of people living in slums or slum-like conditions. Depending on the criteria one uses, the estimates of slum population in Delhi can vary anywhere between 20 to 40 per cent of the city’s population. There are different categories of slums according to the opinions of government officials and experts[1]:

. Legally Notified Slum Areas: The notified areas are those which have declared/ notified as slum areas under Section-3A of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act 1956. Such slum areas are scattered all over Delhi. An estimated 20 lakh population is believed to be living in the areas which are legally notified as slums.

. Jhuggi-Jhompri Clusters (JJ Clusters): The rural migrant in Delhi who belong to lower income groups generally accept whatever accommodations are available, or can be quickly erected with waste materials or with those which can be procured on low costs on open spaces which are unusable or lying unused. According to a survey conducted in the year 1983 by the City Planning Wing, DDA (Delhi Development Authority), there were 534 JJ Clusters comprising of 1,13,386 households in the NCT (National Capital Territory) of Delhi. With the continuous flow of migrants on the one hand and lack of affordable housing particularly for the poor, the settlement in the form of JJ Clusters prior to 1970 remained within manageable limits and accordingly most of such households (43,000) were resettled. The post 1970 migration trend speeded up along with a massive increase in JJ Clusters in Delhi.

. Unauthorised Colonies and Harijan Bastis: The emergence of the unauthorized colonies is the result of shortage of houses and house plots in properly planned and approved residential colonies. There are about 1000 unauthorised colonies in Delhi at present. Besides there are113 harijan bastis in Delhi i.e. slums meant for the lower-caste people.

. Urban Villages: The urban villages in Delhi have been de-notified vide Notification No. LB 2106/2 dated 28-08-1985. These villages experienced slums like environment due to fast growth of population. At present there are about 135 urban villages in Delhi. A plan scheme to improve the civil services in these urban villages was started in 1979-80. Since then amount of Rs. 166.82 crore (plan funds released) has been provided to MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) and DJB (Delhi Jal Board) upto March, 2002.

. Pavement Dwellers: There is another part of squatters who do not have even a roof over their head and they resort to the pavements of Delhi at night to sleep. According to the DDA, Slum Wing, about 70,000 population of Delhi live on pavements.

. Resettlement Colonies: To resettle the squatter population, about 2.16 lakh households have been resettled in 45 resettlement colonies. Socio-economic conditions of these colonies are like slums. At present these colonies are suffering from various infrastructural inadequacies. The scheme for resettlement of JJ Cluster households was started in 1961 in Delhi. The commencement of the scheme was made with the allotment of two room tenements to 3560 JJ Cluster households. During 1975-77, a massive programme for settlement of about 1.97 lakh JJ Cluster households was undertaken by DDA with the development of 26 new JJ Resettlement Colonies. Since 1979-80 upto march, 2002 an amount of Rs. 451.67 crore (plan funds released) under plan and an amount of Rs. 470.18 crore under non-plan for maintenance has been released by Delhi Government.

. Regularised Unauthorised Colonies: Government of India regularized 567 unauthorised colonies in Delhi in the year 1977. To provide basic amenities in these colonies, a plan scheme was initiated in 1979-80. An investment of Rs. 469.96 crore (plan funds released) has been made in these colonies upto March, 2002. This amount does not include the cost of water supply, electrification and solid waste disposal system.

If one looks at the table 1, then one can find that percentage share of expenditure on urban development in total expenditure on social services has come down marginally from 26.15 percent in the year 2002-03 to 25.08 percent in the year 2004-05.

The Master Plan for Delhi 1961-81 further extended to 2001, was prepared by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and approved by the Government of India in order to ensure proper balance between the spatial allocations for the distribution of housing, employment, social infrastructure and transport, and adequate arrangement to accommodate all other physical infrastructure and public utility systems in Delhi. However, due to lack of adequately developed land at affordable prices to different categories of residents, various types of unplanned settlements have come up in Delhi. Land allocated for housing of the poor and working segments of the population have been siphoned for industrial usage, in opposition to the principles of the original Master Plan[1].

The recently constructed modified Master Plan is subject to various kinds of criticisms and has been termed by many as unsustainable. If the modified Master Plan is applied, then according to some, Delhi cannot provide habitation to the large chunk of population which are in-migrating without destroying the natural resources since there will be huge gap between supply and demand of not only land, but also power (electricity), water et al. One should also mention that the state of public transportation system is quite poor in Delhi, leading to burgeoning presence of privately owned vehicles by those who have enough purchasing power in their hands. But this phenomenon has led to the erection of flyovers in various parts of Delhi, in order to avoid traffic jams. This too is leading to increase in public expenses. Instead of the public expenses to be made on important services in the social sector, the money is spent for the wrong kind of investment. However, a democratic way to solve the problem by taking the views of experts is the key. With the rise in human population due to migration, untreated sewage generated in the Capital could well be one of the prime reasons for water-related diseases such as malaria, cholera and jaundice now becoming an accepted health hazard of urban living. One of the most important sources of water pollution in the country is untreated sewage. There are pressures from various NGOs that conservation of nature should one of the main thrust areas apart from conservation of old historical monuments.

In India, many states enacted Town and Country Planning laws during the decade of 1960 under which Master Plans were prepared for a very large number of cities and towns across India. The first Master Plan (1961-81) is indicative of the major themes of that era: 1. Demographic projection and decision on the level at which the population shall be contained; 2.. Allocation of population to various zones depending on existing density levels, infrastructure capacity and acceptable future density levels; 3. Land-use zoning to achieve the desired allocation of population and activities in various zones as projected; and 4. Large-scale acquisition of land with a view to ensuring planned development.

According to the 2001 census, in India around 285 million people or about 28 percent of the population live in the urban areas. In 1991, there were 300 Class I cities accommodating about 65.2 percent of the total urban population, while 1135 Class IV cities accommodated only 7.7 percent. It is alleged that urban growth nevertheless has been unplanned, exploitative and chaotic, resulting in rising unemployment and low productivity work-sharing in the informal sector, squatting in teeming slums, congestion, encroachment on public space, water and air pollution and deteriorating infrastructure and services. In this context another important aspect is that of the inequality of distribution of resources especially income which has led to the deterioration of the living standards of a section of urban poor. This is one of the causes of the origins of slums in cities. Delhi state is surrounded by the states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Delhi is among the top three states in terms of per capita incomes. Yet one can find abject poverty in the dingy slums which offer habitation to a sizeable portion of its population. Elite people hardly pay any attention to the requirement of the children from poor families. Child from poor families are forced to study in MCD schools and are not allowed to study in elite private schools, since they come from poor income background.

Basic Demographic Data on Delhi

The population of Delhi has increased from 0.63 million in the year 1931 to about 13.8 million by the time of the 2001 Population Census. Delhi attracts people from all over India because of its central position in trade, commerce and lure of better employment opportunities. Delhi was considered as a single district for the Population Census of 1991. In 1996, Government of National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi created 9 districts and 27 sub-divisions. By the 2001 Census count, the North-West district of Delhi had the highest population (20.66% of the total). Declining sex ratio in Delhi from 915 to 868 between 1991 and 2001 shows the grave situation. Gender discrimination and sex-selective abortions does exist along with domestic violence against women. In 2001, literacy rate in Delhi was 81.82%, which is higher than the national figure. Structured information regarding the socio-economic background of the 1.6 million people who migrated to the city during the last decade (1991-2001) is not available as yet. However, a large majority of the migrants are poor rural migrants who were ‘pushed’ out of the villages for livelihood. Forced and distress migration due to lack of alternative sources of livelihood is significantly high in various rural districts. There are also those who are not so desperate but are ‘pulled’ by the lure of better opportunities of employment and living conditions that the city offers. This may include those who already have their nearest kiths and kins staying in Delhi. Getting ration cards is a big problem since there exists land mafia (middle-men/ pradhans) in various slums. Many of the original residents of Delhi like jats, gujjars etal have changed their habitats, and professions over the last one hundred years. Delhi is now termed as having cosmopolitan culture. At one hand, Delhi has posh localities in the southern districts and on the other hand, there exists the walled city, which is clumsy and congested.

Rapid urbanisation and growth due to industrialisation could not benefit all the sections of the society in Delhi, equally. A large section of the population stays in slums or jhuggi-jhompris, which offer miserable living conditions without basic amenities. However, these inequalities are not captured in the average figures that are calculated for the state as a whole. The Planning Commission estimates the proportion and number of poor separately for rural and urban India at the national and State levels. In the year 1999-2000, the percentage of population living below the poverty line in Delhi was estimated at 8.23%. The corresponding figure for India was 26.10%. The per capita income of Delhi at constant (1993-94) prices is estimated at Rs. 24,450 in 2000-01 while for India it was estimated to be Rs. 10,254. Housing along with sanitation are big problems before the urban poor of Delhi. There are slums which are not at all suitable for living.

Urban Settlements in Delhi and Conditions of People staying in Slums

The Population Census of 2001 had for the first time attempted to estimate the magnitude of slum population in cities and large towns (50,000+) of India. For the 14 ‘large towns’ in the NCT of Delhi, inclusive of 11 Municipal towns, the figure came to around 18.45 % of the population in these sites. If one adds the ‘smaller, i.e., class C, D and E towns, which are in the outskirts of the metropolitan city, the percentage would be far higher. However there is no Census figure on this, although smaller sample surveys in these suggest that over 50% of the population in these areas live in slum-like structures. Considering that there are a lot of unauthorised housing clusters that house hundreds of thousands of the poor living in the city but are not officially designated as slums’, the Census figures quoted above are likely to be huge underestimates.

In the national capital of India, Delhi, peri-urban agriculture is quite a source of livelihood in the Yamuna belt. However, due to high level of polluted and toxic material available in the soil, such crops are advised not to be eaten. People who reside in slums (Seelampur, Delhi)[2] are engaged in a varieties of informal sector work, which is not only hazardous to them but also to the environment. However, things cannot be changed if residents of slums are not made skilled and trained for moving them to other jobs. Although lot of NGOs, CBOs, have their educational centres in the slums (some of which are unauthorised), the efforts made by them has brought little change since such arrangements are made on an adhoc basis, and there is lack of co-ordination among the NGOs, CBOs, donors and the government agencies. The roles the various stakeholders have to play is not clear. Moreover there are issues, which are ideological and political, that needs to be solved democratically, transparently and peacefully. Eviction of slum residents (residing in unauthorised slums) by the MCD without alternative arrangements have caused social problems in the past, and things must carefully be done in the future by consulting with all the stakeholders of the society. Some of the slums have become dens for criminals, where drug peddling take place. It is alleged that the police administration itself requires major reforms in all the major cities in India in order to make it citizen-friendly.

People residing in slums suffer from various infrastructural problems such as shortage of water supply, improper sanitation facilities, shortage of electricity, proper housing etc. The variation in water supply is significantly noticed between the deprived and the privileged areas of Delhi. New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and Delhi Cantonment areas are receiving a surplus water supply of recommended norm of 70 gallons per person per day, while areas of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) suffer from shortage of water. The overall situation of sanitation in Delhi is poor. In posh localities of Delhi, there is sufficient quantity of water supply, better sewer system and efficient sewage/ garbage collection system, while slum settlements and poor localities of MCD suffer due to lack of such services. Garbage is generally collected from the private households, streets and lane cleaning, construction sites, dalaos in localities and industries. The existing infrastructure is becoming inadequate. The total volume of garbage generated is more than 4000 metric tonnes per day. Only about 400 trucks are available to dispose off the garbage[3]. Most of the garbage bins are located near slums which is a threat to the health and hygiene of the slum residents. The drainage system is inadequate. The poor people residing in the slums on the bank of the Yamuna River face serious health hazards due to such poor drainage infrastructure. A study named Slums within Slums[4] reveals that real sufferers due to locational distribution of medical institutions are the inhabitants of slums. Due to the high cost of treatment and nonavailability of public medical services, the poors (income as well as non-income) are suffering from hookworms, malaria etc. NDMC is providing preventive, promotive and curative services to all the residents of NDMC area. NDMC runs a 150 bedded Charak Palika Hospital, 50 bedded Palika Maternity hospital 23 dispensaries within an area of 42.76 sq. kms. Sewage pollution is basically an urban issue, notes the CPCB's latest report. It is estimated that of the 3,267 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage generated, treatment capacity exists only for 2,330 MLD, in Delhi. However, actual treatment is possible only for 1,478 MLD of sewage in terms of biochemical oxygen demand (the amount of dissolved oxygen consumed by micro-biological action). There are around 30 STPs at 17 locations in Delhi and the total combined treatment capacity of all the STPs is 2,330 MLD. The actual treatment of sewage during the period November-December 2003 was 1,478 MLD.

Health Facilities

According to the Census 1991, percentage of households who have access to safe drinking water in Delhi turned was 95.78 percent, whereas at the all-India level this figure is 62.30 percent. Yet water-borne diseases are rampant in Delhi slums, especially during the monsoon season. In order to see the health condition in Delhi we should look into certain vital statistics such as birth rate, death rate and infant mortality rate. According to Civil Registration Records, birth and death rate (per ‘000 population) have been declining since 1991. Birth rate which was 28.48 per 1000 in 1991 for Delhi declined to 22.15 in 1999. The death rate also declined from 6.35 per 1000 in 1991 to 6.06 per 1000 in 1999. Infant mortality rate declined from 32.37 per thousand live births in 1991 to 23.18 in 1999. The total birth rate, total death rate, natural growth rate and infant mortality rate in Delhi (India) are 18.6 (23.8) per 1000, 4.6 (7.6) per 1000, 13.9 (16.3) per thousand and 35.0 (58.0) per 1000, respectively, according to the Sample Registration System 2006.

Per capita expenditure on health is much higher in Delhi as compared to the national level. The per capita expenditure on health in Delhi stood at Rs.436.40 which is more than double the per capita expenditure on health at the all-India level (Rs.179.65) in 2001-2002. This may be one of the reasons behind lower infant mortality rate and death rate which is found in Delhi. Government efforts in bettering the health conditions of the people and providing quality health services can be judged from the allocation of funds for the health sector. Share of expenditure on health in the total plan expenditure was 7.40% during the Sixth Five Year Plan which increased to 7.87% during the Seventh Five Year Plan, dipped to 6.56% during the Eighth Five Year Plan and again rose back to the level of 7.09% during the Ninth Five Year Plan. Under the Ninth Plan, the share of expenditure on health in the total plan expenditure was more than 6% for all the annual plans of the years 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2001-02.

Delhi has witnessed a rise in the number of medical institutions providing health services. Total number of dispensaries rose from 511 in 1982 to 214 in 1996. Total numbers of hospitals rose from 63 in 1982 to 86 in 1996. We can also find that the number of nursing homes operating in Delhi rose from 85 in 1982 to 136 in 1996.

Provision of Health Services – The Administrative Structure.

Health and Family Welfare Department, Government of NCT of Delhi has the prime responsibility for providing health care facilities to the people of Delhi by providing services and implementing various state and national programmes under medical and public health sector for prevention and eradication of various diseases; dovetailing Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) in the main system and by opening new hospitals and dispensaries/health centres in deficient areas to remove geographical imbalance and to ensure that facilities are provided at a reasonable distance for everybody.

Among the above health centres and dispensaries, mobile dispensaries are specially designed for those people who reside in the slums and unauthorized colonies. As it is already mentioned above, Delhi attracts a whole lot of rural people for livelihood. Consequently, Delhi has a huge migrated population. Prevailing high disparity between rich and poor has forced this migrant population to settle in the small groups in unauthorised colonies called J.J. clusters. Poverty, sub human conditions, poor quality of life and lack of medical facilities has resulted in higher incidence of diseases and thus high mortality, morbidity and birth rate pattern can be seen in this group of population. Today, about 35% of Delhi population is living in these J.J. clusters and unauthorised colonies. Civic bodies are not able to do provide required civic amenities as they are all settled in the area labelled as unauthorised by civic authorities themselves. Directorate of Health Services of Delhi strengthened the mobile health scheme to provide primary health care to the residents of these slum clusters at their door steps. Due to lack of enough funds, the scheme started with only 20 mobile dispensaries. Later Delhi government invited NGO sector to participate in the scheme and as a result of some NGO’s joining in scheme, a fleet of 68 mobile dispensaries started providing health care to the JJ clusters. The usage of Right to Information Act can become handy in this regard. The state of MCD runned hospitals is pathetic. There exists inefficiencies in service delivery, shortage of good quality doctors, nurses, midwives and inadequacy of basic infrastructure. Patients are ill-treated in the hospitals, and there is no counter-guaranty, that the money spent by the patient/ his/ her family, will lead to correct treatment. Even safety of the patients is at stake. According to some privatization is the solution. But there is no guaranty that after privatisation, things will improve unless there is a regulatory framework for accountability.

Despite the Government of Delhi relying on the NGOs, and residential welfare associations (RWAs) under the Bhagidari scheme, little benefit has reached the urban poor. One should not entirely rely on NGOs, since they too can be inefficient in terms of service delivery and can also siphon off funds. It can happen that the funds allocated to the NGOs are under-utilised. NGOs may not be at par with the ground-level realities and may have untrained and less qualified staff. Although it is said that in the case of bureaucracy, much of development happens on the paper than off the paper. But the same thing can happen with the NGOs. There should be a mechanism of accountability and good governance for all the three actors: the government sector, the NGOs and the people (/public). How far services offered by the NGOs can be termed as public good, is a moot question. One must be aware that when NGOs work instead of government, that too becomes a part of outsourcing. Apart from professionalism, there is thus the need for transparency along with monitoring and evaluation. The organisational structure of NGOs also needs to encourage talent, allow implementation of good management and accounting practices, conducive work ambience and move towards providing incentives to better employees. The opinion of hot-shots and famous NGO workers should be respected but new talents should be allowed to speak up. There is thus the need for efficiency mapping and capacity building (including knowledge management and sharing) of staff from NGOs, CBOs and government sector. Discrimination on the basis of race, caste, gender, physical appearance, linguistic background etc. should not be practiced and human rights should be obeyed within and without the organisation.

[1] Gita Dewan Verma (2002): ‘Slumming India—A Chronicle of Slums and Their Saviours’. Penguin Books, India.
[2] The author has visited this place personally.
[3] Voluntary Health Association of India (1993). ‘Delhi—A Tale of Two Cities’. 40, Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi.
[4] Sabir Ali (1991). ‘ Slums Within Slums’. Vikas Publications, New Delhi.

[1] Cf. Sabir Ali (2003), Environmental Situation of Slums in India; especially Chapter 3 on the ‘Magnitude of Slum Problem in Delhi’. Uppal Publishing House, New Delhi. Also see Economic Survey of Delhi 2001-02. Government of the NCT of Delhi. The term Rs. used in the article means INR.
Sabir Ali (2003), Environmental Situation of Slums in India; especially Chapter 3 on the ‘Magnitude of Slum Problem in Delhi’. Uppal Publishing House, New Delhi. Also see Economic Survey of Delhi 2001-02. Government of the NCT of Delhi. The term Rs. used in the article means INR.

Gita Dewan Verma (2002): ‘Slumming India—A Chronicle of Slums and Their Saviours’. Penguin Books, India

Delhi Finance Accounts

Voluntary Health Association of India (1993). ‘ Delhi—A Tale of Two Cities’. 40, Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi.

Census of India 2001

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