The infant mortality rate (IMR) in Delhi has increased, Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia has told Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
The IMR — death rate of children below the age of six months — had risen from 12.9 per 1,000 live births in 2005-06 to 25.4 in 2007-08. There was a slight improvement in 2008-09 with the rate falling to 18.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.
"The IMR is still quite high," Ahluwalia wrote in a letter to Dikshit. "The pace of improvement needs to be accelerated to achieve the target of 10 or less by 2015 as stipulated in the Delhi Human Development Report."
The apparent reason for high infant mortality is fewer births at the institutions in the Capital. Ahluwalia said according to the National Family Health Survey-3, only 61 per cent of deliveries in Delhi take places in institutions. In many slum areas, most of the children are not delivered in institutions.
"The data indicates a need for improvement in public education and also in facilities for institutional deliveries for lower-income families," he said.
The commission also said Delhi's aim to make it a child-friendly city will require improvement in the Integrated Child Development Scheme and health facilities and providing safe drinking water.
"The participation of health functionaries in vaccination, health check-up is less than optimum and could be the reason for universal vaccination and use of micro-nutrients not being fully implementation," he said.
The commission also discussed city's infrastructure in the letter. It expressed interest in solving parking problems and making arrangements for adequate sewer system and garbage disposal.
These issues are likely to be discussed at the commission's Wednesday meeting to decide Delhi's annual plan for 2010-11.