Beating strongly as the heart of India, Delhi is officially known as the National Capital Territory (NCT). Categorized as a union territory of India, Delhi comprises 11 districts, one of which is New Delhi, the official capital.

While New Delhi and Delhi are often used interchangeably to refer to the modern city, we use Delhi as the urban agglomeration for the purposes of this assessment. The NCT includes both old and new Delhi, the surrounding metropolitan region, together with rural areas.

Rich with heritage and culture, Delhi stands on the west bank of the Yamuna River and in the north-central part of India. Inhabited since the sixth century BC, the city has been home to several kingdoms and empires and boasts an eclectic mix of ancient ruins, old monuments, British-influenced settlements and modern buildings.

As the commercial, transport, cultural and political hub of the country, Delhi has an economy driven by the service sector with the bulk of the population engaged in manufacturing, trade, finance, public administration and various other services.

Like many other large cities, Delhi is suffering from the effects of rapid urbanization, including pollution, traffic congestion and scarcity of resources as well as the proliferation of uncontrolled settlements. Housing the growing population and keeping pollution levels under control are some of the biggest challenges authorities face.

While infrastructure has improved over the years, demand for transport, drinking water, sanitation, waste and electricity is high. It will require a significant growth in spending, particularly if the city wants to capitalize on the potential of economic growth.

Delhi is well-connected with a mixture of roads, highways, bus services, metro, taxis and aviation as well as auto-cycles and e-rickshaws. While modernization and expansion have been taking place, further efforts are needed to improve inter-modality, particularly through widespread adoption of technology solutions. For example, the government is looking at applying artificial intelligence to driverless trains, precision irrigation, remote sensing and medical diagnosis.

Can Delhi overcome its history of inadequate infrastructure, power shortages and pollution to become a mega-city of the future where the community can thrive – economically, socially and environmentally?


Score: 4.3/10


Score: 4.0/10

Delhi is the fifth most populous city in the world and the second-biggest in India. It is in line for substantial assistance from the Government of India through its Smart Cities Mission, set up in 2015. All mission cities are expected to formulate a City Development Plan that outlines a vision for development and strategies for achieving it as well as indicative investment requirements and financial operating plans.

Previous schemes such as Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojana 2001, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission 2005 and Rajiv Awas Yojana 2011 failed to meet the demands of affordable housing.

In 2015, the government announced the Housing for All by 2022/Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana scheme targeting the building of 20 million affordable homes across the nation. As of 31 July 2017, only about 2.4 million houses had been approved and about 1.2 million built.

The Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India is planning to launch 250 affordable housing projects across India through its members.

The Delhi Masterplan 2021 has a vision of the city becoming world-class, but 2.4 million new homes will be needed by then to accommodate the projected population of 23 million.

To cater to the homeless, shelters and rest areas are proposed near railway terminals, bus terminals, wholesale/retail markets, freight complexes and so on. Authorities are planning resettlement colonies, rehabilitation of slums and regularization of unauthorized colonies.

In the recent land-pooling policy from the Delhi Development Authority, the government said that it would notify 89 villages as development areas. This will unlock 20,000 to 25,000 hectares of land across Delhi, mostly in urban villages and smaller towns at the city’s peripheries, for real estate development.

The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) oversees the operation and management of night shelters. A total of 198 night shelters are being operated by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in permanent buildings, Porta Cabins, tents and government units. People are provided with a heavy cotton rug, blankets, water, toilets and electricity, all in a covered and enclosed structure. Average occupancy is close to 50 per cent.

The NGOs are:

  • Paid by DUSIB to provide three caretakers and three helpers around the clock to operate the night shelters
  • Required to keep them clean, manage entry, keep records of occupancy and report problems to DUSIB
  • Charged with motivating people sleeping in the open to move to night shelters.


Score: 3.0/10

Due to so much traffic of all types on the roads, travel by bicycle and rickshaws is very risky, although it provides work for many of the unskilled workers residing in the city.

In the past six years, at least 10,000 people, more than 40 per cent of them being pedestrians, have died in road accidents in Delhi. In 2016, there were 6,830 crashes out of which 1,415 people were killed. Of the 1,415 deaths, 600 were pedestrians and 550 were cyclists. The city is crying out for the segregated cycle ways to facilitate the movement of non-motorized users.

With the phenomenal increase in personal motor vehicles, finding parking space is full of problems. Parking in defined spaces is commonly ignored, resulting in congestion and a seemingly chaotic public realm.

Blockage of the drainage network is concerning. It is mainly because of encroachment by slum dwellers, which causes choking of drains and flooding in the upstream areas because of reduced carrying capacity. The other major reason is dumping of solid waste in the drains.

Delhi Master Plan 2021 caters for the design, location and maintenance of foot bridges, improvement of road engineering, subways, multilevel parking and control of vehicle registrations. Major work centers, where a multitude of pedestrian networks emerge and culminate, have been planned to enhance facilities for the pedestrians. To improve the situation for pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler riders, an approach is needed that includes strict enforcement, improving road engineering and awareness, drives on traffic violations and observing road discipline.

Rejuvenation of the Yamuna River is a challenge for the civic bodies. Many schemes and policies have been framed to clean up waterfront areas with little result.



Score: 5.0/10

Global standards mandate at least 20 square meters of open or green spaces per urban resident to ensure good quality of life. Delhi has 22 square meters per capita of open spaces, but the government is making efforts to make the green spaces more adequate. In April 2018, a new 36-hectare city park, adjacent to Humayun’s Tomb in Nizamuddin, was opened. The park, which features several renovated world heritage monuments, houses Delhi’s first arboretum (a garden of trees) and has displays of species native to the national capital (80 birds and 36 butterflies) and a bonsai house.

For the first time, in 2018 to 2019, the government has come out with a Green Budget to address pollution in Delhi. Civic agencies planted half a million seedlings on road islands and edges in the second half of 2017 and hundreds of thousands more early 2018. Three hundred seedlings from forest nurseries were distributed free to citizens for planting in their own backyards. These efforts have paid a dividend — forest and tree cover in Delhi increased from 299.77 km2 in 2015 to 305.41 km2 in 2017.



Score: 5.0/10

The education sector was given the biggest allocation (26 per cent) in the 2018-19 Delhi Budget. Spending is being concentrated on constructing more classrooms and other school buildings, playgrounds and clean toilet facilities.

The government had planned to build 12,748 additional classrooms and 30 new school buildings and set up nursery classes in 366 Sarvodaya Vidyalayas. Pre-primary classes have already been started in 155 Sarvodaya schools. A commerce stream has been added in 144 schools.

To promote safety and security of students and to ensure proper monitoring of school activities about 100,000 CCTV cameras will be installed in government school buildings for which an outlay of CAD340 million has been proposed in the 2018-19 budget estimates. About 150 to 200 cameras will be installed in each school.

The private sector has played a significant role in enhancing education for those who can afford the high institutional fees. However, government institutions need to step up to provide affordable and quality education. The availability of land could become a constraining factor and one way forward might be to permit educational institutions to operate two shifts.

In the private sector, the points system for nursery admissions is a big obstacle for parents. Delhi has 1,700 private schools that offer about 100,000 nursery places but four times as many children are seeking admission, according to estimates.

The Delhi Government had plans to build 1,000 neighbourhood clinics, which has earned praise for filling the gap in primary healthcare. However, because of administrative hurdles in acquiring land, only 164 clinics are functional. A sum of CAD770 million was set aside in the 2018-19 budget for setting up neighbourhood clinics and polyclinics.

Delhi is a historic city, with ancient remnants scattered everywhere. However, heritage in the city suffers from a lack of integration with the planning process and contemporary needs. Much of it is gradually being degraded and lost. Heritage zones and archaeological parks have been identified and individual conservation plans formulated by local bodies and land-owning agencies.



Score: 4.7/10

According to a recent World Health Organization report, 14 Indian cities are among the world's 20 most polluted. India's capital, Delhi, is in sixth spot.

Crop stubble burning caused a quarter of the air pollution that blanketed Delhi in November last year. The particles from the stubble burning combine with industrial pollution, vehicle exhaust fumes and dust to cover the region every year as winter approaches and wind speeds drop.

The Delhi Government has taken many initiatives, among them setting up a model for the forecasting of air pollution, subsidies to switch over from diesel generator sets to cleaner technologies, buying 1,000 fully electric buses and introducing 905 electric feeder vehicles. Delhi is the only city in India that has an Air Ambience Fund to promote green transport usage, which has also been used to bolster the odd-even number plate experiment to limit the numbers of cars on the road.

The setting up of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2010 was a landmark for the environmental movement in India. The aim of the NGT is the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages. It is a specialized body with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multidisciplinary issues.

The city does address a broader resilience strategy that will manage the social and economic impacts of climate disruptions.



Score: 4.8/10


Score: 4.5/10

Delhi has undergone massive changes in public transport in the past two decades, since the Delhi Metro began operating at the end of 2002. At 277 kilometers, it is the longest metro in India and eleventh longest in the world with sixteenth highest ridership. The system provides good connectivity within the city and the neighbouring satellite towns and cities: Noida, Gurugram (previously Gurgaon), Ghaziabad and Faridabad, with construction underway to connect Greater Noida.

Traditionally, public transport in Delhi was the responsibility of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), which was incorporated in 1948. Over the years various schemes were developed to support the ever-increasing demand for public transport, including private operators under State Transport Permits. Lack of proper management, funding and coordination gave buses a reputation for unreliability, which ultimately led to spiraling private vehicle ownership. Limited bus connectivity between Delhi and its satellites also contributed to growing dependence on private modes of traffic. Although there has been a recent push to improve the bus service within the city, it is weighed down by an aging fleet, with about 10 per cent of buses not available due to breakdowns. The fleet is about a third of the size required.

DTC recognizes the need to replenish the fleet and has discussed with the government to not only buy new buses (1,000 on priority) but also add new routes (or improve services on some routes). The plan for the growth and development of the system still needs to be put into action.

Lack of adequate public transport (door-to-door connectivity) has also led to a proliferation of Integrated Public Transport modes like auto-rickshaws, e-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws. Although these provide an invaluable service to the system, driving behavior is not always conducive to the traffic mix, often resulting in congestion and poor flow of traffic.

Transport has been recognized as a major part in the master plan prepared for Delhi, which identifies key transport hubs, plans and depots and their spread through the city based on demand analysis done by various government bodies and private consultants.

Despite the introduction of the metro and its high ridership and various other plans to enhance public transport in the city, public transport usage has dropped sharply and private vehicles are taking over.

At present, there are a couple of metro and bus interchanges within the city and several multimodal transport interchanges are being planned at strategic locations in the city, to integrate metro, rail and the airport.



Score: 6.8/10

Delhi is not only the main administrative and political center of India but it is also a major industrial hub. Increased commercial and industrial activity in the city drives economic growth in the country. The logistic sector in Delhi has been in transformation mode because of growth in industry and infrastructure construction.

Delhi is landlocked with the nearest seaport about 1,200 kilometers away. Freight comes in and leaves Delhi mainly through a few dry ports/Inland Container Depots (ICD) on the outer boundary of the city. These dry ports/ICDs are well connected by rail and road networks to other parts of the country and major seaports such as Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai and Mundra Port in Gujarat. However, existing trunk rail routes such as Howrah-Delhi in the eastern corridor and Mumbai-Delhi in the western corridor are saturated and line-capacity utilization varies between 115 per cent and 150 per cent because of the huge number of passenger trains. In the past 25 years, the railway has lost more than half its revenue-generating freight traffic on these routes.

National highways connecting Delhi are becoming more congested because of this freight shift from rail to road. The surging industrialization, power needs and booming infrastructure construction in the Delhi region led the government to start developing western and eastern dedicated freight corridors.

The corridors should greatly reduce the freight transportation time from Delhi to eastern and western parts of India and reduce congestion on the national highway network. The western corridor will connect Delhi with major container ports on the west coast and the eastern corridor will connect Delhi with eastern coalfields and steel manufacturing hubs.

The decongestion will reduce the environmental pollution and accidents. Some multimodal logistic hubs are planned along the corridors in and around Delhi by the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Development Corporation.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is the biggest airport in India for both passenger and freight movement. A total of 963,000 tons of freight cargo was handled at the airport in 2017 to 2018.



Score: 8.0/10

Delhi Airport is the sole international airport in the city and can be accessed via three terminals, with three more planned in the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) Master Plan 2016. It is the busiest airport in the country (and eighth in the world) with 50 million passenger movements a year and more than 1,185 flights per day. Over the years, it has been ranked within the top three airports in the world on several occasions.

Given the strategic importance and the ever-increasing load on Delhi Airport, plans are afoot for a new airport in Jewar (near Greater Noida) to ease the burden on existing infrastructure and provide more options to passengers. To be built on 5,000 hectares and have the capacity for six million passengers a year initially, it will add a new dimension to the connectivity that Delhi and the NCT enjoys with the rest of the country and world.



Score: 3.0/10

Cycling isn’t big in Delhi and for the most part it has poorly designed pedestrian pathways. In recent years various proposals have been developed and some pedestrian improvement schemes have been implemented in the city center. For the most part, the cycle lanes are either poorly designed or there is limited to no enforcement to avoid encroachment by mechanized transport or hawkers.

Even in new development areas, most pedestrian pathways are not user-friendly or handicap-friendly. More than half the accidents in the city involve pedestrians or cyclists; an average two cyclists die on Delhi roads every day.



Score: 2.0/10

Although improved metro connectivity to key areas, including the city center, has helped reduce parking demand, overall it continues to be a concern because of increasing private vehicle trips. Increasing private vehicle ownership and lack of door-to-door public transport connectivity has resulted in parking being a major issue in residential and local commercial areas. The absence of properly designed off-street and underground parking facilities has further exacerbated the problem.

A new parking policy review will target vehicle ownership. Various multilevel parking facilities are either in use or under construction, but these are primarily restricted to commercial areas and transport hubs. Residential parking continues to be a major concern for the city.



Score: 4.0/10

DTC launched point-to-point bus services for office-goers on 1 May 2018. These buses are in addition to regular DTC services.

Twenty low-floor buses have been introduced to run non-stop between destinations in residential suburbs and office areas in central, south and northwest Delhi. These buses leave residential areas between 8:00am and 8:50am and make the return journey about 6:00pm.

Zoomcar, JustRide, MiCar, Carzonrent,, Voler, RentoMojo and many other private players are exploring opportunities in the self-drive car rental (car-sharing) market in India. According to an estimate, more than 10 companies are working in the segment in Delhi, with new players continually joining.

The other operators are also launching various campaigns, packages and services to increase their user base. They are also integrating technologies such as driver behavior monitoring and on-board diagnostics in their cars.

Many on-demand services are available in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) including Ola, Uber and Jugnoo. Other, lesser-known companies are launching services. One newcomer is Gurgaon-based AUTOnCAB (founded in March 2014) that provides on-demand, ultra-budget-friendly, last-mile connectivity to urban commuters. It is focused on the needs and demands of both car drivers and commuters. It provides drivers with ancillary income options through related means, such as logistics/delivery services. The company is running 30,000 rides a month in six cities: Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad, Chandigarh, Kota and Jaipur.

Ridely is one ride-sharing platform in Delhi-NCR in which travelers find people and carpool with them to their common destination. It also helps them to track rides (car location) in real-time.

BlaBlaCar is an online marketplace for carpooling. Its website and mobile apps connect drivers and passengers willing to travel together between cities and share the cost of the journey. It also operates in Delhi-NCR.



Score: 5.0/10

The Delhi Government is a big supporter of electric vehicles because of the level of pollution in the state. Although only a few thousand electric vehicles are on the road, the government expects the number to swell in the next 20 years. It is also working on the development of a comprehensive electric vehicle policy.

There is evidence of the government’s commitment with:

  • Plans to launch a bus terminal run totally on an electric mode
  • A proposal to subsidize the purchase of electric cars by 59 per cent
  • Initiatives in its annual budget to promote the use of clean fuel and boost public transport by buying more than 3,900 new buses in 2018 to 2019.

The government has declared that setting up charging stations for electric vehicles does not need a separate license under the Electricity Act of 2003, a move welcomed by the industry.

Both the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and South Delhi Municipal Council aim to set up at least 30 charging stations for public vehicles and more than 100 stations for private vehicles.

The NDMC has already installed 37 charging stations at various locations. Under the Delhi Electric Regulatory Authority regime, energy consumption charges will be reduced on commercial connections if the user provides documents to its power company about its usage for charging electric vehicles.

The Indian Government also has developed a National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020, which proposes incentives for the adoption of green vehicles and facilitates domestic car manufacturing capability. Currently, there is no enthusiasm for adopting driverless cars.

A draft policy developed by the Aviation Ministry at a national level permits the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for commercial purposes.

Drones are being used across the country in construction, agriculture, industrial monitoring, photography, video and disaster management and could soon be soon utilized in delivering packages to emergency services.



Score: 4.7/10


Score: 5.0/10

The Delhi Government acknowledges the impact of the knowledge and information that can be accessed using the internet. The city aims to bolster the internet economy and improve areas such as trade and tourism, women’s safety, security applications and worker productivity. The government wants to provide all its citizens with access to free Wi-Fi, seeing it as a socio-economic booster, but the strategy and policy are so far missing.

However, the government is trying to achieve this vision through a project that aims at providing universal access to the internet. The Delhi Dialogue Commission was set up as an advisory body charged with finding solutions to a range of civic issues by studying good practices, policies and plans from across the country and the world and conveying them in the form of concrete recommendations.

A Wi-Fi and CCTV Task Force focuses on the commitment of free Wi-Fi for all citizens.

In its 2018-19 Budget, the Delhi Government allocated CAD19 million for a Wi-Fi facility, even though the government did not give a deadline for completion of the project.



Score: 4.0/10

The average fixed broadband download speed in India is 20.72 Mbps and mobile speed is 9.01 Mbps. Delhi has a speed of 23.57 Mbps, slightly faster than the nation’s average. In 2004, the Department of IT published guidelines for broadband internet connection.

A nationwide program, called BharatNet, or the National Optical Fiber Network project, began in 2011 to connect all 250,000 village councils in the country through optical fiber and establish a network infrastructure. As of 21 January 2018, optical fiber connectivity had been provided to 110,848 councils by laying 258,635 kilometers of optical fiber cable and 101,936 councils have been made service-ready under the BharatNet project.



Score: 4.0/10

In the 2015 elections, the government promised to provide free Wi-Fi access to people in public places, but this has not eventuated. The Public Works Department, which was given the responsibility, has shied away from the project.

Though 4G is spreading quickly, India’s data speed is pedestrian by world standards. In OpenSignal’s report on 4G speed, India’s 6.07 Mbps was at the bottom of the pile of 77 countries. The countries in the top five have average download speed ranging from 42.12 Mbps to 44.31 Mbps.

The introduction of 5G is still some way off. A 2020 to 2021 rollout is the government’s plan.



Score: 5.0/10

In 2012, a National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy came into place. The policy was designed to promote data sharing and enable access to data owned by Government of India. The policy explicitly states that access to data under the policy would not be in violation of any national law.

There is also an open government platform ( aiming to enhance public access to government data and documents, and through it engagement between citizens and the government.

The government also introduced Open Government Data License of India to ensure that the data sets released are not misused or misinterpreted (for example, by insisting on proper attribution) and that all users have the same and permanent right to use the data.



Score: 5.0/10

The national government is planning a data protection law in the wake of rising cyber-attacks and privacy breaches. There are information technology legal frameworks in place including the BIS Act, Indian Telegraph Act (security guidelines under the telecom licensing terms and conditions) and IT Act (dealing with any sensitive personal data or information in a computer resource). However, nothing on cyber security was mandated in these.

In 2013, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (India) came up with a national cybersecurity policy designed to protect information infrastructure in cyberspace, reduce vulnerabilities, build capabilities to prevent and respond to cyber threats and minimize damage from cyber incidents.

The government also has plans for creating a National Cyber Coordination Centre, an agency for cyber-crime prevention, investigation and training purposes.

The national program Aadhaar is run by the Unique Identification Authority of India to develop digital identities by assigning biometric-based, twelve-digit personal identification numbers. It hasn’t been a successful initiative because of multiple changes made by the government.

It started as a voluntary program, but turned out to be a controversial digital identity program with the number of data leakages incidents rising.

The fact that it involves a lot of confidential information made it vulnerable to social risks. In this situation, there was a lack of adoption of security measures. After the increase in security breaches, the government introduced a system of virtual authentication for citizens enrolled on its database and limited the access available to service providers.



Score: 5.0/10

The telecommunications infrastructure in India is poised to grow in the wake of initiatives to make Digital India a successful program. A sum of CAD25 billion will be invested in upgrading and expanding infrastructure.

The government owned fixed line and mobile telco (Delhi headquartered), BSNL entered a strategic alliance with home-grown device maker Micromax to offer bundled plans at less than CAD2 a month, including CAD1.94 a month with unlimited voice calls and data.

To enable the adoption of emerging technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), the Finance Ministry has allocated CAD600 million to the Department of Science and Technology.

The government draft of the new telecom policy says the aims are to create four million new jobs by 2022, attract CAD130 billion investment in the sector and ensure broadband coverage at 50 Mbps for every citizen.

National initiatives such as Digital India, Start-up India, and Make in India would help India showcase its knowledge and digital society. The Niti Ayog (policy think tank of the Government of India) will establish a national program in AI including research and development of its applications.

Urban Systems


Score: 3.8/10


Score: 3.4/10

Delhi is a very dense city and must rely on allocations from central power plants to meet its requirements. Of the total 7,839 MW allocated to Delhi, only 1,935 MW is generated within Delhi and most of its own generation capacity is from gas-fired power plants. The summer season brings maximum demand in Delhi as temperatures hit 45 degrees Celsius. The peak demand in Delhi is expected to rise to 9,000 MW in 2021 to 2022, up from 6,560 MW in the financial year just ended. Delhi’s appetite for power grew about 6.3 per cent from 2009 to 2015. The rate is now 7 per cent.

Power supply in Delhi has been unbundled and handed over to private companies that have a majority stake (51 per cent) while the Delhi Government holds 49 per cent. After the unbundling and privatization, the average load shedding has been reduced to 0.15 per cent. The present state government also provides a 50 per cent subsidy to consumers that use less than 400 units of electricity every month.

In 2016, the Delhi Government released a policy aimed at making the national capital a solar city. The aim of the solar policy is to install one gigawatt of solar power capacity by the year 2020 and two gigawatts of solar power capacity by 2025. The policy also mandates deployment of solar panels on all government buildings in the next five years and says distribution companies should meet 75 per cent of their solar renewable purchase obligation. Because of its high population density and high-rise buildings, Delhi has no hope of meeting its demand from its own renewable potential, which is only solar.



Score: 3.6/10

In 2050, India’s water demand is projected to reach 1,180 billion m3, which will outstrip the total availability of 1,137 billion m3. By 2051, the population of Delhi is estimated to be 10 million more than it is now. Water availability will be reduced.

The average annual per capita water availability in 2011 was assessed as 1,545 m3 and is projected to be 1,140 m3 in 2050. An annual per capita water availability of less than 1,700 m3 is a water-stressed situation and anything less than 1,000 m3 cubic is a water scarcity condition.

The Delhi Government’s response comprises:

  • A new draft policy to achieve water security that endorses reuse of treated sewage by as much as 80 per cent in 2027 to augment water availability.
  • The New Delhi Municipal Corporation has developed seven functioning sewage plants and has plans to create over 10 more to meet horticulture needs and save groundwater and begin the process of removing waste-water flows from river flows. The government is also promoting decentralized sewage treatment plants to deal with the waste-water load in the city.
  • A provision for recycling treated wastewater with separate lines for potable water and recycled water.
  • It is mandatory for new building complexes to install water and sewage treatment plants.
  • The Delhi Jal Board has made it mandatory for all new buildings, built on more than 100 m2 and above or which discharge more than 10,000 litres of water, to install a rainwater harvesting system.


Score: 4.2/10

India generates about 25,940 tons of plastic waste a day, of which Delhi contributes the largest share (690 tons a day). Even though 94 per cent of the plastic is recyclable, the recycling sector is largely disorganized and incapable of handling the volume.

With effect from November 2012, the Delhi Government imposed a ban on the manufacture, sale, storage, usage, import and transport of plastic carry bags in the NCT. Also, their use had taken a backseat following a government crackdown in August 2017 after the National Green Tribunal banned their use and imposed a penalty of CAD96 on each offender. However, the reality is that markets are still overflowing with plastic bags.

In a February 2016 update, the Central Pollution Control Board states that as much as 8,370 tons a day of municipal waste was generated in Delhi, out of which 8,300 tons were collected and 3,240 tons treated.

The per capita generation in the city ranges from 550-to-600 grams a day. The city has a processing capacity of 6,100 tons, thanks to its three incineration plants and two centralized composting units.

Five municipal authorities are responsible for solid waste generation and management. There are three landfill sites, Bhalswa (commissioned in 1994), Ghazipur (1984) and Okhla (1996). In the absence of landfill alternatives, all the five municipal bodies are also using these three sites for illegal disposal of solid waste. Another integrated municipal solid waste management plant of 4,000 tons-per-day capacity has been developed at Narela-Bawana and is operational for half that amount.

About 4,600 tons a day of solid waste is disposed of in Delhi’s landfill sites.

In addition, there are three Waste to Energy (WTE) plants in Delhi:

  • Timarpur-Okhla: capacity 1,950 tons a day, with electricity generation capacity of 16 MW
  • Ghazipur: capacity 1,300 tons a day, with electricity generation capacity of 12 MW
  • Narela: capacity 3,000 tons a day, with electricity generation capacity of 24 MW.

The building of WTE plants can arouse strong emotions. In the suburb of Delhi, in Noida’s Sector 123, there have been violent protests from residents as the authorities go ahead with setting up such a plant.

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