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Human Development Report Says Children Unsafe in Delhi
Detail: The government of Delhi released Delhi’s first human development report last week. The Delhi Government partnered with several civil society organizations including several non-governmental organizations working with children and youth to produce this report, which is a first of its kind undertaken by a metropolitan city in India. The primary data was based on a survey of 14,000 households across the city’s socio-economic spectrum.

According to the findings of this report, Delhi has the highest per capita income in the country, almost two and a half times higher than the national average. Delhi has also recorded impressive gains in lowering the levels of environmental pollution despite having more registered vehicles than the sum of vehicles in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai (the three other leading cities in India). Tree and forest coverage has increased substantially from 16 square kilometers in 1990-1 to 268 square kilometers in 2003-04. A majority of respondents also cited higher incomes and green environment of Delhi as reasons for not moving away. However only 19 percent of respondents felt Delhi was a safe city. There is a direct correlation between people’s perception of lack of safety and crime statistics for Delhi especially for women and children.

Delhi ranks first among 35 other cities for crimes against children, and sixth in the whole country. Delhi as a city, account of 4.8 per cent of crimes against children, as against the national average of 1 per cent. The national average for child rape is 0.2 percent. But in Delhi it is 2.1 per cent. Delhi accounts for 9.2 per cent of all kidnapping against the 2.1 per cent average of 35 cities. Among the identified neglected communities of Delhi working and street children feature prominently. The report points out that due to absence of reliable data which itself is an artifact of not acknowledging the existence of child labor, adequate policies for educational and health facilities for these neglected children are difficult to formulate. The report ends with the formulation of Delhi Development Goals in the line of the Millennium Development Goals. The last goal (Goal 9) is to “improve public safety in the city”. The last target (target 9) of this goal is to “make Delhi a child friendly city”. The strategies outlined by the report to achieve this target are:

· ensure universal immunization coverage
· establish universal ICDS (integrated child development scheme) coverage
· ensure access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities
· ensure that children live in unpolluted environments
· ensure all children up to age 14 years attend school
· ensure safe public transport to school and public transport
· prevent and eliminate crime against children
· ensure safe streets for children by building sidewalks, playgrounds and parks
· ensure effective protection against child labor and exploitation
· encourage participation in social events
Source: Delhi Human Development Report 2006
Date: August 30 2006