'Luring' migrants to the Capital

The per capita subsidy for Delhi has doubled over the 1970s, greatly encouraging the influx into the city.

Published: Monday 31 August 1992

-- A REASON for the unabated and heavy migration into Delhi lies in the highly subsidised quality of life it provides. Delhi residents benefit from subsidies on water, power, milk, transport and services.

Amitabh Kundu of the School of Social Sciences at the Jawaharlal Nehru University calculates that the subsidy enjoyed by an average resident of Delhi has increased from Rs 105 in 1971-72 (a total of Rs 38 crore) to Rs 633 in 1981-82 (a total of Rs 365 crore) at current prices -- up by more than 500 per cent in 10 years. Whereas subsidies constituted less than 10 per cent of the per capita income of Delhi in 1971-72, in 1981-82 they constituted as much as 21 per cent.

The figures for some other towns in the region covered in the study were low. For instance, the per capita subsidy in 1980-81 (at 1970-71 constant prices) for Hapur was Rs 12.90, Panipat Rs 6.36 and Rewari Rs 9.66, whereas for Delhi it was Rs 225.12. The subsidy for Delhi had more than doubled in a decade.

Since developmental policies have not changed significantly during the 1980s, Kundu feels there is no indication to believe this trend has changed. "The population of Delhi enjoys a per capita income which is more than twice that of the country and its growth at current prices has been higher than that of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh during the last two decades," says Kundu. He adds that as long as this pattern of differential subsidisation continues, the efforts to reduce the crowding of people and industries in Delhi would prove futile.

It is ironic that the public sector agencies that provide electricity, water and transport in the Capital, are incurring huge losses because of the subsidies on these services and then blamed for squandering Indian taxpayers' money.

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