New Delhi: The Delhi household amenities data released by the census on Monday notes a significant improvement in living conditions in the city-state, but it also points to widespread disparity within the various districts.
While East Delhi and Central Delhi are the leading districts in terms of social amenities, North-East Delhi and West Delhi are laggards. For example, in terms of a closed drainage system, Central Delhi households are ahead of other districts with a 93% coverage; North-East Delhi has only 25.9% coverage.
This is because North-East Delhi is a dumping zone for slums removed from other parts of the state, said a census of India official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In terms of access to drinking water within households, Central Delhi emerges as the leader with 91.7% coverage while North-West Delhi lags at the bottom with 70.8% coverage which, the census official said, was because it has a diverse population with a large rural belt and many slums that were rehabilitated there.
Graphic: Ahmed Raza Khan/Mint
North-East Delhi includes Seelampur, Shahdara and Seemapuri; north-west Delhi covers Narela, Saraswati Vihar and Model Town.
Aromar Revi, director of the Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS), which focuses on the ongoing urban and development transformation, said the capital has inbuilt differences since it has a massive concentration of wealth and public investment.
“Unfortunately, the wealth gravitates towards those who are better off, making the differences wider,” he said.
The house listing and housing census of 2011, conducted in Delhi between April and June 2010, involved geographical and ground-mapping of each household in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The ground surveys included collection of details on housing stock, amenities and assets from nine districts and 27 sub-divisions, including 110 census towns and 112 villages.
Data released in April last year showed Delhi’s population was stabilizing, with the growth rate at its lowest since 1931, at 20.95% in 2011. In the 2001 census, Delhi’s population was seen growing at 47.02%; in the 1931 census the growth rate was 30.25%.
The maximum population growth, as seen in the latest census, was in South-West Delhi, at 31%. The new sub-city of Dwarka, which has come up in the past 10 years, is a major factor that led to the high growth.
The latest house-listing data shows total census houses during the decade to 2011 increased 36% to 4.6 million, and the total households rose 31% to 3.34 million. In comparison, population grew 21% during the decade to 16.7 million.
Rural Delhi is home to 2.7% of Delhi’s total population living in 2.4% of the city’s total houses, according to the census data.
The concentration of schools and colleges are the highest in New Delhi area (42 per 10,000 households) and lowest in West Delhi district (24 per 10,000 households). Hospitals and dispensaries are also concentrated in Central Delhi, which has 42 hospitals per 10,000 households, while these amenities are the lowest in North-East Delhi, which has 18 hospitals per 10,000 households.
Revi said the New Delhi area is well-endowed and has a lower concentration of population than the outer areas, which do not get substantial resources. The social class of people living in these areas is also higher, which could be a reason for a smaller family size than in regions in outer Delhi, where the ratio of children to schools is higher.
The quality of houses are the best in East Delhi with 80.7% of the houses having concrete roofs, and the poorest in Central Delhi with only 45% of the houses having concrete roofs.
Revi said Central Delhi is over 70 years old and so most of the houses there have brick or stone roofs. Unlike West Delhi, the buildings have not been reconstructed nor have additional floors been added. But a concrete roof does not imply it is safer since houses in areas such as West Delhi are made with inferior materials.
Surprisingly, the New Delhi area has the highest number of households with no latrine, at 22.1%, while North-East Delhi is at the top with only 4.9% households lacking the amenities.
The census official cited earlier said this came as a surprise to the census office. “This could be because of well-established slums in the region which have not been removed and due to a lack of good housing facilities,” the official said.