I have witnessed the transformation of Imperial New Delhi with all its grandeur, peace and prosperity into the capital of the most populous democracy, and then emerging as a commercial and industrial hub.
The bewildering diversity has added a new dimension to the character and persona of the city.
But at the same time, the population explosion, crumbling infrastructure, increasing pollution, lapses of civic administration, confusing political scenario and the failure of governance present an extremely grim picture of the city, also dubbed by some as an unliveable place. The city is now estimated to have crossed the 20 million mark. Gone are the days of family planning and its slogan, Hum do, Hamare do, the two offsprings norm.
The ever-growing clusters of slums present a challenge to the civic authorities. There are also unauthorised colonies housing nearly 25 per cent of city’s population. These are a stumbling block to the city’s planning but are shielded by politicians hunting for votes.
In such a scenario, government’s announcement to give `6,000 aid to every pregnant woman may serve as an inducement to produce more children, adding to the exploding population. Government will have to lay down specific terms and conditions for its entitlement. With fake currency, government will have to take steps to handle fake pregnancy cases.
I think instead of helping pregnant women through prize money, a better way to use funds would be to establish better facility maternity centres across Delhi. Surprisingly, I have not come across any comments on this scheme offering `6,000 in the media, either by government supporters or opponents.