Grounded since March, a major Delhi government initiative to map the city’s socio-economic profile, which was launched after the deaths of three girls in Mandawali last year due to starvation, will be put on “fast track” to make effective welfare scheme interventions at the ward level.
A senior official of the Delhi government said the survey, which began on November 10, had made progress of around 20%, covering about 35 lakh individuals, till March.
The planning department, which is carrying out the survey along with the assistance of the directorate of economics and statistics, initially deployed around 7,500 volunteers hired through a third-party agency for this purpose. They were being paid Rs 25 per each individual surveyed.
A wide net
The broad contours of the survey have been designed keeping in mind the starvation deaths of three minor girls at East Delhi’s Mandawali in July 2018. It was found that the family did not have a ration card and the local anganwadi allegedly fudged records after the deaths. A total of 63 parameters, including caste, income levels, preferred modes of transportation and mental illnesses, come under the ambit of the survey. Around 1.9 crore individuals in 40 lakh households will be covered.
As per the initial deadline, the survey, touted as the “biggest ever” by the government, should have been completed by now, while analysis of data would take some more time. But a number of roadblocks, including shortage of volunteers, resistance in posh areas and the Model Code of Conduct, brought work to a halt.
“Many surveyors did not turn up. In fact, not more than 4,000 actually worked. Some opted out, citing exams. They had a three-month contract. Those who want to rejoin will have to get their contracts renewed… For making new appointments, the government will have to start the hiring process afresh, including putting out advertisements in newspapers. In many posh areas, our volunteers did not get cooperation from residents,” the official said.
Another official said: “We were asked to survey areas housing the poor on a priority basis. We plan to generate district- and ward-level profiles of different areas. This will help us know the specific needs of a particular locality and help make better and more effective interventions.”
The official also explained that statistics available with the government currently are based on sample sizes and their extrapolation, which makes it difficult to assess the varying needs of different pockets of a city as large as Delhi.