There are 58,93,418 women voters in the MCD polls of 2017. (Representational)
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) goes to polls on April 23, with the total number of electorate for the civic polls standing at 1,32,10,206 which includes 58,93,418 women. The MCD is responsible for primary civic amenities in the state. We break down data on seven parameters on MCD managed departments like Health, Education, Sanitation, Roads, Street lights, Night shelters and Working women’s hostels to tell how MCD’s lack of attention to basic needs affects the life of women in the capital city.
1. MCD Public toilets
A 2016 survey found 300 available public toilets for women as opposed to the 4,000 for men in Delhi. Upto 35% of the public toilets don’t have provision for women. The toilets that do, have broken doors or missing locks making them unusable for women entirely. Defecation in the open makes women more vulnerable to diseases and put them at a safety risk as well. According to UNICEF, in fact, 50% of rapes happen when women defecate in the open.
2. MCD managed Health Departments
In the 2016 Chikungunya epidemic in Delhi, 57 per cent patients were women. This vector-borne disease emanates from water. With most household water work being managed by women and more women staying at home during the monsoon season which leads to water clogging, it makes them more vulnerable to Chikungunya. The responsibility of controlling these diseases lies with the MCD.
3. MCD shelters for homeless women
According to a 2014 survey by Indo-Global Social Service Society, there are 10,000 homeless women in Delhi. In the winter of 2016, 261 night shelters were made operational out of which only 21 were meant for women. These 21 shelters could house 1204 women only. Homeless women who are forced to sleep on the streets at night face a greater safety risk.
4. MCD Working women’s hostel
According to conservative estimates, there are roughly 8.2 lakh working women in Delhi. There are only 20 MCD run working women’s hostels that can together house no more than 3,000 women. Migrant women workers with financial independence need more access to affordable housing.
5. MCD School witness higher drop out of girls
2016 saw a record dropout of 5.31% in MCD schools. In the last two years, upto 33,744 students have dropped out from MCD schools, out of which 27,000 were girls. This was primarily because of sexual abuse in school, lack of sanitation and longer commuting distance.
6. Street Lights
MCD pays three companies Rs 73 per month per street light, in addition to Rs 2 crore per month in energy charges for lighting up all city roads and streets. Yet, street lights are not available at every 30 metres, which is the norm. A 2016 survey by the NGO Safetipin identified 7438 dark spots in Delhi. This restricts women’s movement in public spaces at night.
7. MCD public roads
MCD manages approximately 23,000 km of Delhi roads, catering to over 95 per cent of Delhi’s population. Only 50 per cent budget for maintaining internal roads in urban and rural Delhi was spent in the last two years. This hampers access for women to public spaces.