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Monday, September 27, 2021

Panel suggests child-friendly measures for Delhi Master Plan

The child rights body has recommended that 30% of the area in the 18 planning zones across the capital be specifically earmarked for children-related activity.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: August 12, 2021 7:33:16 am
The body has also made a set of recommendations to make the city easy to navigate for children, stating that “the Master Plan Delhi 2041 rightly focuses on increased mobility through pedestrian-friendly measures, however, lacks inclusivity in terms of child-friendliness”. (Representational)

Making children’s needs intrinsic to the city’s design, provisions for child-friendly mobility, creche facilities and feeding rooms to increase women’s participation in the workforce — these are among the recommendations made by the Delhi Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) to make the DDA’s Delhi Master Plan 2041 more child-centric.

The DDA had released its Draft Master Plan on June 9 to invite suggestions and feedback.

The child rights body has recommended that 30% of the area in the 18 planning zones across the capital be specifically earmarked for children-related activity. “Currently 30% population of Delhi comprises children in the age group of 0-18 and the overall population of Delhi is expected to grow to about 3.9 crore. Assuming 30% of those still continue to be children in the age group of 0-18, then by 2041, around 1.17 crore children would be there in Delhi,” the recommendations state as background to its suggestion.

It has recommended that this earmarked area may be used to develop key child-related infrastructure such as premises for Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards, Child Protection Units; Child Care Institutes and Observation Homes for Children; schools, anganwadi centres, creches and day-care centres; hostels; paediatric wards or hospitals; and so on.

The body has also made a set of recommendations to make the city easy to navigate for children, stating that “the Master Plan Delhi 2041 rightly focuses on increased mobility through pedestrian-friendly measures, however, lacks inclusivity in terms of child-friendliness”.

These recommendations include making all signages visible to children; careful design and regulation of traffic on roads on the main gates of institutes such as schools and anganwadi centres; procurement of buses that can easily be boarded by children; uniform, wide and clear footpaths for seamless movement for parents with strollers; and identification of dark spots and addressing them.

It has also recommended a change in the Development Control Norms of learning centres and creches that require these to have a minimum plot of 500 square metres with 10% variation in size.

DCPCR Chairman Anurag Kundu pointed to unrecognised private schools in the city. “The biggest barrier in their recognition is land size norms… There is no rationale as to why an educational institute that caters to 25 children should have the same plot size as the one that caters to 100 children,” he wrote to the DDA. The commission has recommended that class size also be used as a basis for regulating these institutions instead of a blanket plot size.

To increase women’s participation in the workforce, it has recommended that all new office spaces must cater to facilities such as creches and feeding rooms at the design stage itself, and that retrofitting must be done in existing office spaces in a time-bound manner.

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