Delhi Slums – A Comparative Look at Social Infrastructure

August 11, 2023 Saksham Mishra

The city of Delhi, a bustling metropolis and the capital of India, exhibits a contrasting landscape, with pockets of affluence set against areas of urban deprivation. One of the most pressing challenges faced by Delhi is the stark disparity in the availability of essential social infrastructure between its slum settlements and residential zones, as demarcated by the Delhi Master Plan 2021. This comprehensive analysis aims to shed light on the discrepancies in access to social development facilities, specifically focusing on government schools, government hospitals, anganwadis, and health clinics. 

By juxtaposing data on the presence and distribution of these vital facilities in both slum areas and designated residential zones, this article seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the prevailing social inequities in the city. This study aspires to highlight that facilities like education and healthcare can help the deprived sections of the population to achieve higher living standards through social development and so it becomes important to note the pattern of distribution of such facilities across slums.


For this particular analysis, firstly, data was sourced from Geospatial Delhi Limited (GSDL) for Government Schools, Government Hospitals, Health Clinics and Anganwadis in Delhi. This data was then respectively clipped and mapped for the residential land use identified in the proposed land use map of the Delhi Master Plan 2021 and the data on Delhi Slums provided by GSDL.

All the data sets used in this analysis can also be found and downloaded from the website.



The availability and quality of education play a pivotal role in shaping the future of any community, making government schools a crucial element in determining the overall development of Delhi’s slums and residential zones. This section delves into the stark differences in access to educational institutions between these two areas. By analyzing data on the number of government schools the article aims to uncover the disparities that hinder the educational prospects of children residing in slum settlements as compared to their counterparts in residential zones. Understanding these disparities is vital in formulating targeted interventions to bridge the educational gap and uplift the marginalized sections of the city’s population.

To understand this difference the density of government schools in a 250m circular buffer around the slums and residential areas demarcated by the MPD is considered and compared. A distance of 250 meters has been considered for the buffer areas as this can be considered as a walkable distance for the people living in these areas regardless of their age.

Government Schools in 250 m Buffer of Delhi Slums

It was found in a total area of 137.03 km. sq. under the slum buffer area, there are a total of 269 government schools out of which 6 were middle schools, 29 were secondary schools and 234 were senior secondary schools. Which effectively means that in a 250m buffer zone of slums, there are 1.96 or approximately 2 schools per km. sq.

It was also found that 495 out of 685 slums did not have a single middle school, secondary school or senior secondary school within 250m of their boundaries. This brings up the inference that the increase in educational facilities has somehow remained highly localized and concentrated due to various reasons. With more than 72% of slums not having access to a single school in their buffer this raises a major question with regards to universal accessibility to quality education.

Government Schools in 250 m Buffer of Residential Land Use in MPD 2021

In the residential 250m buffer area of 137.03 km. sq. there are a total of 756 government schools including 12 middle schools, 63 secondary schools and 681 senior secondary schools, resulting in a density of 1.43 schools per km. sq.

Comparative Analysis

Both slums and the residential buffer showcase a decent spread of educational facilities at reasonably accessible distances ensuring equitable access for all students. The spread showcases that the department of education has taken definite measures over the years to ensure educational facilities for the students of Delhi across all sections of the society in terms of sheer accessibility.

The density of schools in slums was almost 1.5 times that in residential buffers and this trend remained consistent with only slight variations across middle schools, secondary schools and senior secondary schools. 

This is a positive sign as people living in slums are more likely to utilize these due to the lack of resources which would allow them to enroll their children into private schools with very high fees.

While the higher density than in residential areas is a positive sign, the overall coverage of slums in terms of access to schools seems to be lacking with regards to spatial distribution of government schools, as could be seen from the large proportion of slums not having access to a single school within 250m. The locations of schools thus ends up acting as a major barrier between them and access to better education.

Health Clinics

For the urban poor residing in slums, health clinics serve as essential gateways to primary healthcare services. In this section, we examine the distribution of health clinics in Delhi’s slum settlements compared to the planned residential zones. By scrutinizing the number of health clinics the article aims to highlight the disparities in primary healthcare accessibility. This analysis will aid in identifying critical needs for bolstering healthcare infrastructure and formulating targeted policies to ensure that the vulnerable sections of Delhi’s population receive adequate and timely medical attention, contributing to the overall improvement of public health outcomes.

Clinics in 250 m Buffer of Delhi Slums

There are a total of 2380 health clinics in the 137.03 sq. km. slum buffer area essentially indicating that there are 17.37 health clinics per km. sq.

Clinics in 250 m Buffer of Residential Land Use in MPD 2021

The residential buffer area of 529.61 sq. km. has a total of 9210 health clinics which results in a density of 17.39 health clinics per km. sq. in the total area.

Comparative Analysis

Similar to the trend in schools, the slums as well as the residential areas marked by the MPD seem to have a decent spread and access to clinics within 250m of their respective areas, with a similar density in both cases. Barring some areas, the spread showcases suitable levels of accessibility towards primary healthcare facilities including certain specialized clinics as well including dental facilities amongst others.

It was found that almost 80% of residential areas have at least one clinic in their buffer while more than 70% of slums had a clinic in their buffer, which is a much higher level of coverage as compared to the accessibility of other facilities however it still needs to be emphasized that 30% of the population is still deprived of such a crucial element of wellness and need to be addressed as well.

The distribution being equal across the two areas showcases a certain level of equity in terms of accessibility to the facilities, which is the first step to overall equitable primary healthcare for all, which in turn would also include aspects such as affordability, specialization and quality of facilities being made available.

Government Hospitals

Access to quality healthcare services is a fundamental right, yet it remains an elusive privilege for many living in Delhi’s slum areas. In this section, the article explores the availability of government hospitals in these vulnerable neighborhoods compared to the well-equipped healthcare facilities in residential zones as per the Delhi Master Plan 2021. Through an examination of the density of hospitals in a 1 km buffer, the article draws attention to the disparities in healthcare access at a broader scale than the other amenities due to the nature of the utility of the facilities. It also highlights the urgent need for equitable healthcare distribution across the city. This analysis seeks to promote focus on enhancing healthcare infrastructure and reducing health inequalities faced by the marginalized communities in Delhi.

Govt. Hospitals in 1 km Buffer of Delhi Slums

A total of 53 government hospitals lie inside the much bigger buffer of 1 km. around the identified slums with a total area of 2424.80 km. sq., indicating a density of 0.021 hospitals per km. sq.

Govt. Hospitals in 1 km Buffer of Residential Land Use in MPD 2021

In the huge total of 1 km. residential buffer area of 3776.49 km sq. there are a combined 61 government hospitals giving a density of 0.016 government hospitals per sq. km.

Comparative Analysis

Out of the 68 total government hospitals in Delhi, 53 are covered by the slums buffer itself and 61 come under the residential buffer, showcasing the major chunk of these hospitals lie in areas that are accessible by the people that actually need to use these facilities. In fact, the density for hospitals in the slum buffers comes out to be higher than for the MPD residential area buffer which is a positive indicator of accessibility in slums.

However, the matter of concern lies in the fact that most of these hospitals seem to be clustered and hence various areas remain deprived of proximity to these facilities while certain areas have a surplus. For example, the peripheral areas in most directions are deprived in terms of the location of government hospitals. It was found that 373 out of 604 residential areas don’t have a single government hospital in their buffer whereas 440 out of 685 slums lack access within their 1 km buffers. Hence, in this case the problem doesn’t lie in the numbers but rather in the spread of the hospitals which needs to be more equitable.


Anganwadis play a vital role in promoting early childhood care and development, particularly in disadvantaged areas. In this section, we focus on the presence and effectiveness of anganwadis in Delhi’s slums and residential zones. By evaluating the number of operational anganwadis the article discerns the variations in access to these critical centers of early childhood development. Understanding the disparities in Anganwadi services will enable us to advocate for improved support systems and better implementation strategies to foster the holistic growth and development of children in Delhi’s under-served communities.

Anganwadis in 250 m Buffer of Delhi Slums

There are 66 anganwadis that lie inside the buffer area of 250m around the slums in Delhi and when this is paired with the total area of the slums buffer which is 137.03 sq. km, it is calculated that the density of anganwadis comes out to be 0.48 per sq. km.

Anganwadis in 250 m Buffer of Residential Land Use in MPD 2021

The Residential area proposed in the master plan of Delhi 2021 and its 250m buffer consists of 529.61 sq. km. of land and the the total number of anganwadis in the area comes out to be 290, leading to the availability of 0.55 anganwadis for 1 km. sq.

Comparative Analysis

Unlike the equitable distribution for clinics, anganwadis show a significantly different trend in both the number and spread with the density being very low for both slums and other residential areas despite the high requirement for the same for provision of early childhood care services. Even though started in 1975, the current spread leaves much to be desired in terms of assuring accessibility to those that require it with the number of anganwadis being unsatisfactory.

It was found that 612 out of 685 which equals approximately 90% of slums lack access to an anganwadi within their 250 m buffer whereas the percentage is 75% for residential areas. Additionally, even amongst the two the density is 13% higher for residential areas than for the slums, even though the slum dwellers have a higher requirement and necessity for such facilities as they lack the resources to access alternate facilities for childcare services and the role that anganwadis play in improving the health and nutrition status of children in the age of 0-6 can play a crucial part in overall slum development if properly provided.


In conclusion, this analysis sheds light on both the disparities as well as certain positives in the availability of social infrastructure between Delhi’s slums and the residential zones outlined in the Delhi Master Plan 2021. This study of the distribution of government schools, government hospitals, anganwadis, and health clinics highlights that the status of accessibility of these different facilities has a significant contrast.

While the availability of clinics is seen to be at a suitable level, the spread and number of anganwadis, schools and government hospitals raises several red flags. This in turn points to a bigger picture with the message essentially being that while significant progress has been made in certain areas of development, complete equity in access to facilities is still a long way away but perhaps the positives can help guide the sectors that are currently lacking. 

By prioritizing investments in education, healthcare, early childhood development, and primary healthcare services for the underprivileged, the city can move towards fostering inclusive and sustainable growth. This would in turn lead to improved urban planning, governance, and social development, encouraging a collective commitment to creating a more equitable and thriving city for all.

Here’s an interactive map where you can zoom in and look at different aspects of social infrastructure in Delhi.