Delhiites enjoying better life but safety is a worry: report

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 1 2013, 00:53am hrs
Quality of life in Delhi has improved significantly in the last few years due to high economic growth and better delivery of basic services but safety and security of residents remains an area of concern, a report released today by Vice President Hamid Ansari said.

According to Delhi Human Development Report 2013, access to basic services like power and water supply, public transport,health care facilities and educational opportunities have improved in the city in the last seven years. The study compared findings of a similar report in 2006.

Despite the above achievements, the report, prepared by Institute for Human Development, said "equity" continues to be a concern as access to some of the services remains riddled with disparities.

"The disparities are visible when various income groups and types of settlements are taken into account. There are gender gaps in work participation and literacy. There also appears to be an issue with regard to public safety for the citizens in the state," it said.

The report expressed concern over high crime rate in Delhi and said the rates of kidnapping and abduction of children in Delhi increased significantly from 4.5 per one lakh population in 2004-06 to 18.3 per one lakh population in 2012. It said Delhi reported higher rates of violent crimes such as murder and kidnapping compared to other cities.

It said the overall rates of crime against women increased from 16.8 to 20.7 per one lakh women between 2004-06 to 2010-12. The rate of rape has gone up to four per lakh women during 2010-12 compared to 3.2 during 2004-06.

Analysing the official date, the report said the crime rate against children in Delhi is among the highest, with rape and kidnappings constituting the main crimes.

Speaking on the occasion, Ansari noted that the issue of safety and security has been agitating the public mind and government must restore people's faith in police and justice delivery system.

The report analyses issues from two perspectives: first, the facts on the ground; and second, people's perceptions regarding the same. A total of 8,000 people were surveyed to prepare the report.

About basic services, the report said though access to public health facilities has improved, it still falls short of acceptable standards, particularly due to overcrowding, an inadequate health workforce and skewed facility locations, all of which have a bearing on the quality of services and responsiveness of the health system at large.

The report said employment opportunities have expanded and the earnings of casual as well as regular workers shown an increase. The female workforce participation has somewhat risen from its low base level.

"The tightening of the labour market has possibly contributed to the lowering of poverty in Delhi. During the period 1999-2000 to 2011-12, an additional 1.3 million people were added to the workforce, reaching to 5.56 million. The female workforce participation rate, which was less than 9 per cent in 1999-2000, increased to over 11 per cent by 2011-12," it said.

The report said the citizens of Delhi are satisfied with the quality of life they lead, as assessed on the basis of critical indicators like employment, education and healthcare as well as personal attributes.

Even among the lower income group, 64 per cent of the households reported have been satisfied with the quality of life.

A huge proportion of the respondents, 90 per cent were found to be satisfied with their children's education and increased satisfaction with rising level of income.

Educational opportunities for technical/professional were also rated high, with 80 per cent of the respondents finding these to be above average.

The report said a survey pertaining to people's rating of interaction with personnel from different government departments found that highest rating went to Delhi Metro followed by three electricity distribution companies, Delhi Transport Corporation, DJB, Delhi Traffic Police, the municipal corporations and the lastly the Delhi Police.

The report said overall the people surveyed gave a positive assessment to living in Delhi, expressing their satisfaction with most of the aspects of their life in the city, encompassing jobs, basic services, education, schooling, and healthcare.

The provisioning of basic services in Delhi has greatly improved during the last ten years. However, barring electricity supply, disparities in access to some of these services continue to prevail.

Mentioning about economy of the city, the report said Delhi's per capita income of Rs 2 lakh is the highest in the country. The high growth rate of per capita income in Delhi has defied the downward trend at the all-India level. The estimated poverty rates have also seen a significant decline in recent times," it said.

About the education sector, it said on the basis of most educational indicators, Delhi is ahead of the rest of India, saying it also provides huge opportunities for higher education as evidenced by the in-flow of a large number of students from other states.

"However, access to educational opportunities, even for basic education, remains disparate for different segments of the population, impacting their future capabilities," it said.

The report said Delhi's literacy rate, at around 86 per cent, is much higher than the all-India level (74 per cent). Close to one-fifth of the population has acquired higher educational qualifications. The Gross Enrolment Ratios (GERs) at the primary and upper primary levels are 127 per cent and 108 per cent, respectively.

On healthcare, it said primary healthcare facilities in Delhi has expanded tremendously, propelled by dispensaries, mobile clinics, school health clinics and Primary Urban Health Centres, and the people have also shown a clear preference and growing reliance on government-run hospitals.

The report said power supply has nearly universal coverage (99 per cent of the households) in Delhi. The findings of the survey found that almost 80 per cent of the respondents rated power supply in the city as above average.

In conclusion, the report reveals that Delhi has seen enhanced incomes, expansion in economic opportunities, and improved access to basic services, and other capability-enhancing measures during the last few years.

However many challenges still confront the city in its quest to become a global, inclusive city.

In her speech, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said, "Delhi has changed significantly during the last seven years, since the first Report was published in 2006. We felt that it was time for a review."

"Needless to say, while Delhi has made commendable strides on various human development fronts, we do acknowledge that progress on many other fronts needs to be enhanced and made more inclusive. We will continue to focus on improving the lives of our people," she said.