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Lokniti CSDS MCD polls survey: Covid shadow on perception of healthcare in Delhi

In its electoral campaigns in the national capital as well as other states, the AAP relies heavily on the Delhi model of governance, revolving around healthcare and education. Survey sheds light on how people perceive the state government's performance on both fronts.

People with Covid-19 symptoms are admitted to LNJP in New Delhi in May 2021. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal, File)

Improved healthcare and educational infrastructure in Delhi is highly publicised by the Delhi government and has received appreciation at international platforms too. It also helped the AAP government get reelected in the 2020 Delhi Assembly election.

In its electoral campaigns for other states too, the AAP has relied on the Delhi model of governance, revolving around healthcare and education.

In a pre-poll survey during the 2020 Delhi Assembly elections, over three-fourth (78%) and close to seven in ten (69%) said the condition of government schools and hospitals, respectively, had improved in the past five years.

Table 1: Perception about conditions of govt schools and hospitals (in %)

After two years during which people faced difficulties due to Covid-19 pandemic, close to two in three (65%) reported an improvement in the condition of government schools and half (49%) of the voters said that the condition of government hospitals has improved; though one in ten reported the condition of government schools (12%) and government hospitals (11%) to be only as good as before. Overall there is a positive perception about the conditions of government schools and hospitals in the capital, though the proportion of those saying conditions of hospitals had worsened doubled between 2020 and 2022 (table 1).

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Table 2: Voters from poor and low-income localities rate govt schools more positively (in %)

Voters particularly belonging to poor and lower-income localities were found to have a positive perception about the condition of government schools (ranging from 83% to 85%), compared to those from middle (77%) and upper class localities (63%). Close to one fourth voters residing in rich localities believed that the condition of government schools was either as bad as before or had worsened, though one is not sure how many of them actually send their children to government schools (table 2).

Table 3: Over 1/3rd impacted due to Covid in different ways

A little over one in four (29%) of the voters said that the condition of government hospitals had either worsened or remained as bad as it was before (table 1). People’s own experience during Covid-19 probably shaped their perception of the healthcare infrastructure. The findings suggest that individuals who experienced any difficulties – like someone in family testing positive; family members or a close one getting hospitalised; or losing a close one – during Covid were more likely to believe that the healthcare system in Delhi has either worsened or remained as bad as it was earlier (table 3).

Table 4: Perception on the way govt responded to pandemic affected voters’ perception on condition of govt hospitals (in %)

But since the pandemic was an exceptional time, close to a quarter were fully satisfied with the work done by the government and over two-fifths (42%) were somewhat satisfied. On the other hand, three in ten (29%) voters in Delhi were dissatisfied with the handling of the pandemic by the government. People’s perception on the government’s functioning during the pandemic affected their perception on the current healthcare system in Delhi; those who felt that government dealt well with the pandemic were more likely to positively rate the current healthcare infrastructure in Delhi against those believe that government could not effectively deal with the pandemic (table 4).

(The authors are researchers at Lokniti-CSDS)

First published on: 02-12-2022 at 14:17 IST
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