Social infrastructure Sector in The National Capital Region

Social infrastructure has been recognized as a growth-stimulating and sustaining route in planning. The effectiveness of social infrastructure in achieving the objectives of NCR would depend upon its capacity to contribute to:

  1. Population absorbing capacity of the towns.
  2. Improvement in the quality of life.
  3. Enhanced self-dependency and city’s sustainability.
  4. Creation of livable and inclusive urban settlements through reducing the sense of alienation among the residents, where social and economic benefits also accrue to the marginalised groups (the poor, women, children, handicapped, etc. among others), with less dependence on big settlements for basic infrastructure.
  5. Promotion of a sense of belonging with the town, that seems to be lacking due to inadequate provision and non-upgradation of social infrastructure.

The need is to focus on a few components that are likely to have a significant multiplier impact on the growth process in NCR. The social infrastructure components that have the potential to contribute to the development of effective population absorbing capacity of the town include, apart from the conventional components of health and education infrastructure, recreation facilities and open spaces, effective operational Public Distribution Scheme (PDS), crime management infrastructure, and senior citizen homes.

There is a definite need for adoption of a normative approach for deciding the regional level facilities, with adequate weightage to demand side aspects. Accordingly, multiple stage norms and standards might be considered, linked to the ‘willingness to pay’ principle, with the norms for the rich areas being different from the general norms. The Urban Development Plan Formulation and Implementation Guidelines issued by MOUD&PA, in this regard, are given at Box 12.1.

The principle of equity would require that the needs of the poor should not be overlooked and the purpose of flexible norms should be to generate resources to develop the specific social infrastructure and if required, finance a cross subsidy activity from outside the government exchequer.

Regional or State standards for social infrastructure should be developed for the key social infrastructure components instead of Delhi or national standards, which may be unaffordable and irrelevant within the small towns in NCR.


According to the Census 2001, the literacy rate in the region (72.97%) is higher than that of all India (65.38%). When compared among the Sub-regions, NCT-Delhi (81.82%) has the highest literacy rate followed by Haryana (70.84%), Uttar Pradesh (66.29%) and Rajasthan (62.48%) Sub-regions.


In NCR, Delhi, the mother city, has almost all types of higher educational and research facilities, perhaps the best available in the country. The educational facilities at sub-regional level, such as colleges, professional institutions or university campuses are required to meet the demands of a large cross-section of the student population. The Uttar Pradesh Sub-region has one university at Meerut and so also Haryana Sub-region at Rohtak, the Rajasthan Sub-region has no university. The number of affiliated colleges for higher and technical education is, however, considerable and also increasing. The process of involving private sector in providing good quality educational facilities has been initiated in some of the Central NCR and Regional Centres. These facilities are also being used by people from Delhi due to cost and proximity considerations.

General perception is that the quality of higher and technical education outside Delhi is rather poor, at least in comparative terms. There are, however, other factors as well which could or should not be ignored, including availability of international experience in the form of journals, visitors, students, conferences, seminars, etc. which are all found only in Delhi.

The R&D apparatus of the region is almost entirely concentrated in Delhi, though the two universities do have lots of research scholars and research fellowships. The R&D sub-system also generates new knowledge which is particularly relevant for post-graduate education and research for which Delhi is rightly well known.


Delhi being the national Capital and the 3rd largest city of India, has the advantage of possessing large number of medical institutions with the best specialisations in almost all the fields available in the country. The region lacks in equivalent medical facilities though it has government medical colleges in Rohtak and Meerut. The number of beds attached to the medical colleges is not very high and the number of referral beds is rather small.

Super speciality training and treatment is hardly available anywhere in the region with the result that difficult patients are regularly transported to Delhi's referral hospitals even from a distance of 100-200 kms. Obviously this is neither good for the patients nor for Delhi whose physical infrastructure namely transportation and electricity is further strained by such demands from difficult or critical patients. Since many facilities in Delhi have an all India character, they are not obviously meant for the residents of Delhi alone but for the entire country.

STRATEGIES Education and Health
  • There is a need to adopt integrated approach for the entire NCR in social infrastructure development to avoid the problems arising out of disparities in standards of these facilities and the jurisdiction.

  • The solution to the problem lies in making provision for quality education and medical facilities in the towns falling outside Delhi in NCR. If good institutions are established in the surrounding areas, the people would definitely like to move out of Delhi, thus helping in decongestion of Delhi.

  • Considering the popularity of integrated medicine and indigenous systems of medicine in Delhi and NCR, culture-based health facilities system like Ayurvedic, Unani, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Yoga and Meditation should be strengthened and augmented to provide low cost and locally accessible health care. It would be desirable to identify suitable locations for one to two specialised centres for each of the indigenous systems within the Regional Centres and Central NCR towns and their rural hinterland and develop them into centres of excellence during the Regional Plan-2021.

  • The reforms in the social sector are at their infancy and hence any assessment at this stage may not be very realistic. World over the consensus now is that adjustment should have a human face, that social services, particularly those catering to basic needs, should be protected during the adjustment process. In this context, in fact, there exists a strong case for enhancing investment in education as a concomitant of the economic reform process. The public expenditure should be redirected towards education and, within education, towards the poor, basic education, skill development, technical and management education.

  • International financial institutions also recognise education and medical facilities as a critical investment and promote an international environment to enable countries to sustain their socio-economic development. The external funding of the educational and medical sector could also be one of the solutions to maintain the system at its present levels of operational efficiency.

  • Distance education has been recognised as one of the modes of spreading education. This is already prevalent, especially at the high school and university levels in the form of national open schools, correspondence courses attached to many universities, open universities at the national and some of the state government levels.

  • A significant measure that captures many of the reform efforts is privatisation of education. It is argued by many that the private sector education in India can be efficient and hence the best way to improve the efficiency of the system is to increase the share of private schools. The State Governments should facilitate setting up of institutions in the private sector by providing incentives. The private sector, specially Delhi based institutions and other institutions of eminence like IITs, Roorkee University etc. could be encouraged to set up their branches in NCR towns, by making them available land at reasonable cost.

  • One of the considerations for attracting foreign direct investment in the integrated township development would be availability of good educational and medical system which includes both formal and non-formal systems, quality technical education and medical facilities, universities and business schools, speciality hospitals, suitability/adaptability of the systems of education for expatriates, and availability of advanced/highly specialised fields of education and medicine.

  • In order to encourage private and public institutions of higher and technical education to be set up in NCR, with a standard comparable if not better than of their counterparts in NCT-Delhi, there is a need to establish a National Level Affiliating University in NCR recognised not only nationally but also internationally for its academic standards, to which the NCR institutions can be affiliated.

  • Food security, articulated largely through the PDS in operation in India, leaves much to be desired. The problems relate both to the inadequacy/low level of subsidy and lack of purchasing power in the hands of the poor, as well as of management and targeting. Effective access to PDS is a growth stimulating mechanism and sustaining factor for the potential low income migrants to Delhi. While the PDS infrastructure exists in most towns, its operational efficacy is at a low level. Lack of awareness among the vulnerable groups, inadequate stocks and inferior quality goods restrict the use of this facility by those who need it most.

Delhi is considered comparatively safe and well policed entity. Law and order problems as reported are less acute and entrepreneurs feel safe here. Often it is found that after committing crimes in Delhi, criminals take refuge in U.P. and Haryana territories. Many entrepreneurs have reservations about the law and order situation in U.P. and expect that this should improve for entrepreneurs to invest. This, many believe, is affecting dispersal/shifting of economic activities, especially to the U.P. Sub-region.

  • In view of the similarity in pattern of crime and operation of interstate criminal gangs in Delhi and its surrounding areas, there is a need to prepare a perspective plan for police modernisation in NCR. This entails improvement of human as well as material resources of police in the jurisdiction of States in NCR.

  • There is need to set up a central coordinating agency/institutional mechanism, with similar police/administrative system (including uniform laws wherever required), to control and monitor criminal activities on regular basis in the region. This entails sharing of information through a unified communication system, a common wireless system and computerized crime record network for all Police Stations etc. in NCR.

  • A mechanism needs to be evolved to sort out problems of delay in the arrest of interstate wanted criminals, trials of offences through coordination among police, prosecution, administration and judiciary.

  • There is a need for identification of foreign national immigrants and their subsequent deportation from NCR.
Action Plan on Social Infrastructure Sector
  1. Uniform standards for social infrastructure.
  2. Encouragement of private participation in social infrastructure provision.
  3. Provision for good quality education, medical facilities outside Delhi in NCR.
  4. Private and government institutions to be encouraged to set up their branches in NCR towns.
  5. Alternative systems of medicines to be encouraged.
  6. Plan for policy modernization in entire NCR.

For more information on Social infrastructure Sector in the NCR, please refer to documents below:

Regional Plan Document on Social infrastructure Sector

For perusing relevant ministry websites, please click