The stark gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' in India got an official confirmation on Tuesday when the Census 2011 data, released by the Union home secretary, revealed that a large number of Indian homes have a phone but not a toilet. But there's reason to cheer for Delhiites.
The national Capital, along with Chandigarh, ranks on top as far as access to facilities such as laptops, computers, mobile phones and cars is concerned.
Census 2011 was the first time that citizens were asked during the house-to-house surveys if they possessed a laptop, computer or a mobile phone.
The results show that the cellphone revolution in the last decade has resulted in a massive increase in teledensity.
The 2G scam may have hit the telecom sector, but the number of households having a telephone connection (both mobile and landline) has jumped to 63.2 per cent in 2011 compared to mere 9.1 per cent in 2001.
This means roughly two out of three households in India now have a phone. But the irony is that nearly half of the country's population - 49.8 per cent households - still defecates in the open. So there are families which may have a phone and a television, but not a toilet. In urban India, as many as 81 per cent households have a telephone connection.
The Census data shows that in Delhi, as many as 91 per cent households have a telephone connection, which includes 68 per cent mobile phones, while for Chandigarh the figure is 90 per cent.
So, more Delhi houses now have a phone rather than a television. In the Capital, 88 per cent households have a TV.
Every fifth house in Delhi and every fourth in Chandigarh owns a car, which is far higher than the national average of 4.7 per cent. The access to laptops, computers and Internet in India still has a long way to go, but Delhi and Chandigarh have already made rapid strides. Only 9.4 per cent households in the country reported having either a laptop or a computer while just 3 per cent of these homes had an Internet connection.
But in Delhi, 29 per cent of the 33.4 lakh households have a laptop or computer while 17 per cent have an Internet connection. Chandigarh fared even better than the national Capital and was on the top in the entire country.
Every third family in the city, or 33.2 per cent households, has a computer and 18.8 per cent has an Internet connection. Surprisingly, IT hubs such as Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh reported poor Internet distribution, with only 12.8 per cent and 8.4 per cent homes respectively having computer at home. Mere 2.6 per cent households in Andhra Pradesh reported to be having an Internet connection.
The new Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, better deliver on his poll promise to give free laptops. His state has only 8 per cent households with computers and a shockingly low 0.9% having Internet connection.
'We have to do a lot more for the penetration of computers and Internet,' Dr C. Chandramouli, Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner, said while releasing the figures. The Census data also shows that as many as 86 per cent of Indian households live in their own homes while the rest live in rented accommodations. In Delhi, however, nearly 28 per cent families live in rented houses while the percentage is even higher, 47, in Chandigarh. As many as 93.7 per cent households in Chandigarh and 75 per cent in Delhi drink treated water - which was also a new question posed during the Census exercise this time.
The data shows that nearly 32 per cent families in Delhi live in one-bedroom houses. In 70 per cent of households in the Capital, only one married couple lives, pointing to the increasing trend of nuclear families.
A huge 98 per cent households in Delhi and 99 per cent in Chandigarh have electricity connection. 'The encouraging trends from the figures are that more households now have access to drinking water and electricity and more families live in pucca houses.
The mobile penetration is not only in urban areas but also in the rural areas. However, a disturbing factor remains that nearly 49 per cent of families in India still defecate in the open, which may also be due to some cultural factors,' Chandramouli said.