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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

Survey to assess welfare programmes in a limbo

The survey was announced a few weeks after three children of a family in east Delhi’s Mandawali died due to malnutrition in July 2018.

delhi Updated: May 28, 2019 13:58 IST
Abhishek Dey
Abhishek Dey
New Delhi
Delhi government’s survey was announced a few weeks after three children of a family in east Delhi’s Mandawali died due to malnutrition in July 2018.
Delhi government’s survey was announced a few weeks after three children of a family in east Delhi’s Mandawali died due to malnutrition in July 2018.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo )
         

Even after nine months of its announcement, Delhi government’s socio-economic survey aimed at determining the infrastructure requirement of the Capital and examining the efficacy of social welfare programmes in changing the lives of the underprivileged sections of the city is still pending, said a government official familiar with the matter.

The survey was announced a few weeks after three children of a family in east Delhi’s Mandawali died due to malnutrition in July 2018. However, even after nine months of the project being announced, it is far from complete. “The survey is currently stuck at something around 20% in terms of coverage,” said a senior official in Delhi government privy to the progress of the survey.

The reasons, said the official, are varied. They range from inadequate participation of the volunteers who signed up for the role of field surveyors to residents in several upscale and upper-middle class colonies in the city refraining from sharing information and LS elections.

By August 2018, when the survey was formally announced by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia as “Delhi government’s biggest study till date”, the government had already received more than 2,000 applications for potential field surveyors.

By November, the department had accepted the applications of around 7,500 candidates and deployed them as field surveyors.

An official in Delhi government’s planning department said, “A large number of volunteers were students and many of them had to be exempted for examinations, study leaves and vacations.”

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said most of the field surveyors had a three-month contract, which soon got over. For those who want to continue, the contracts have to be extended.

Soon, the department stumbled upon the next hurdle. “We noticed that most residents of several upscale and upper-middle class colonies in the city did not entertain the volunteers. They refused to share any information,” the official said.

By March, when the election dates were announced, the officer said, it was clear that most government officials will be posted in election duty and, hence, there will hardly be anyone to monitor the survey. So, the deadline was pushed indefinitely. By March-end, the officer said, the government had covered around 350 million people, which is around 20% of the population of Delhi.

Calls and messages to deputy CM Manish Sisodia for comment went unanswered.

First Published: May 28, 2019 06:23 IST

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