The Vice President of India M. Hamid Ansari released the Delhi Human Development Report 2013 in New Delhi on 31 August 2013. Hamid Ansari explained that human development was the overwhelming priority of governance.
Delhi Human Development Report 2013 would engender a healthy debate that would contribute to policy planning to make the city and its facilities more inclusive for its citizens. The first Delhi Human Development Report was released in the year 2006. The report gives an opportunity to measure the progress achieved in the human development agenda.
Human development in traditional terms was concerned with per capita income, education and health. The scope of the term however has widened over time to encompass various other issues such as gender parity, human security and access to basic facilities such as water, sanitation and housing.
The Human Development Report 2013 looks at the human development situation within Delhi in detail, keeping in focus the disparities that exist across population groups. It makes an assessment of the progress in bridging these disparities. In the 2013 report, improvement in the lives of the citizens of Delhi since the last assessment was done in the 2006 was found.
Key features of the Delhi Human Development Report 2013
• In the area of economic growth, Delhi’s progress was defined as follows in the Report:
• Average per capita income in the city exceeds two lakh Rupees per annum and is the highest in the country.
• Poverty levels have declined by a large extent in recent years; growth has been sustained in the face of general slowdown in the national economy.
• Employment situation has improved, with better work participation for both men and women.
• Schooling and higher educational opportunities have expanded.
• There is an overwhelming preference for public provisioning of health facilities.
• Housing shortage has declined and access to most basic services expanded since the last Human Development Report took stock in 2006.
• A Perceptions Survey conducted during the preparation of the 2013 Report to ascertain the citizens’ opinion on the state of human development, found that the citizens of Delhi were satisfied with the quality of life they lead, including employment, education, health as well as with other personal attributes. Even for the lowest income group, 64 per cent households reported being satisfied with the quality of life.
Challenges to be tackled in Delhi, according to the report
• In areas such as employment, education, health, housing or provision of basic services, access is disparate for different segments of the society in the capital. Despite the affluence, there are groups of people, across income brackets and types of settlements, who suffer from extreme vulnerability. A lot of people are deprived of many basic civic amenities. A leveling of living standards across different segments of the population would depend critically on improved access to basic amenities, especially water and sanitation services.
• The gender gap in work participation and literacy levels has to be bridged. Much more needs to be done for pre-school and primary school facilities in localities inhabited by the less privileged and the minorities.
• The issue of safety and security of citizens has been agitating the public mind in recent times. The deficit in terms of a real and perceived lack of safety and security in public spaces affects the daily lives of all citizens, especially women, children and seniors.
• Another challenge is the increasing informalisation of employment, which means that an increasing number of workers in the informal sector are without any form of social security or protection.
Conclusions of the Report
• The need to focus on and reduce inequalities in human development indicators across gender, income groups and types of settlements;
• To ensure universal coverage for aspects such as basic health and basic infrastructural services;
• The overwhelming need for ensuring a safe and secure environment for vulnerable groups, including children, the elderly and women.
• To promote inclusion of all segments of society within the human development agenda.