The have-nots of Delhi | delhi | Hindustan Times
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The have-nots of Delhi

In a city of 1.38 lakh millionaires about 2.42 lakh children don’t go to schools, a survey of 25 lakh people living in Delhi’s slums has found, reports Chetan Chauhan.

delhi Updated: Jan 14, 2009 23:22 IST
Chetan Chauhan

In a city of 1.38 lakh millionaires about 2.42 lakh children don’t go to schools, a survey of 25 lakh people living in Delhi’s slums has found.

This means about 71 per cent of Delhi children go to school as against the national average of 94.5 per cent and 100 per cent in states like Tamil Nadu.

Terming the revelation a “telling figure on the state of children in Delhi”, Amodh Kanth, chairperson of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), said: “The city has failed to implement alternative modes of education to bring children who are not enrolled under the education mode.”

The survey, conducted by the Samajik Suvidha Sangam Society under the aegis of the Delhi government also found that 25.4 per cent of the slum population, considered the most vulnerable section, was illiterate, the highest for any city in the country. As high as 92.3 per cent of them did not have a bank account.

The educational disparity between the rich and the poor was highlighted by another finding of the survey of 12,000 households in slum clusters. Only 4.7 per cent of them were graduates, 7.9 per cent had passed Class XII, about 20 per cent had completed elementary education and 15.2 per cent primary education.

“About one million children come from poor and vulnerable backgrounds and their basic rights and needs are not fulfilled despite the availability of several government schemes,” Kanth said.

About 83.3 per cent of this group were found to be Hindus, 14.3 per cent Muslims and 1.4 per cent Sikh.

Among the Hindus, Scheduled Castes constituted over 30 per cent, Other Backward Classes 14.1 per cent and the Scheduled Tribes 7.8 per cent.

Despite the Capital attracting over five lakh people every year from other states, over 10 per cent of the respondents were unemployed. Another 9 per cent pulled rickshaws, picked rags and ran small shops. “There are about 35,597 ragpickers in Delhi, the majority of whom are children,” Kanth said.

Surprisingly, about 90,000 government servants also resided in the slums, the survey found.

Only 3 per cent reported suffering from ailments like cancer, tuberculosis and heart disease while 97 per cent did not know if they suffered from any disease.

On the brighter side, the survey conducted by St Stephens Hospital for the society found that 67.4 per cent had their own homes with less than 1 per cent being homeless.

The survey, conducted just before the Delhi assembly polls, also found over 51 per cent of those living in slums had a regular water connection. As many as 96.6 per cent had installed an electric meter, indicating privatisation of power has helped in checking theft.