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1999 - 2000
(March 2000)





Delhi was a small town in 1901 with a population 0.4 million. Delhi's population started increasing after it became the capital of British India in 1911. The decennial growth rate of population, which was 1.98% in 1901-11, rose sharply to 18% in 1911-21 and 30% in 1921-31. During the partition of the country, a large number of people migrated from Pakistan and settled in Delhi, and in the decade 1941-51, the growth rate was 90%.


Migration into the city continued well after Partition and the decennial growth rate has remained more than 50% during the four decades from 1951-1991. The present population of Delhi (March-2000) is projected at about 14 million compared to 9.4 million in the 1991 Census. The population is projected to cross 20 million by 2013.


As the country's capital, with vibrant trade and commerce and excellent employment opportunities, Delhi has attracted people from all parts of the country and its population today reflects the characteristics of almost every region. Delhi truly reflects the wealth and diversity of India wherein diverse religions, languages and customs co-exist in splendid harmony. Religious, cultural and social functions of different socio-cultural groups have transformed Delhi into a city of festivals.


Delhi is among the top three States/Union Territories in terms of per capita income (Rs. 27693 in 1998-99 at current prices), more than 80% of the state income is from the tertiary sector. However, with the continuous inflow of labourers and unemployed persons, the number of people living in sub-standard areas is also increasing. More than the one third of Delhi's population resides in slums and unauthorized colonies.


According to the 1991 census, the urban population density was 12,361 persons per sq. km. and the rural population density was 1,190 persons per sq. km. The literacy rate was 75% in 1991, which is estimated at 85% in 1997. Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu are the most commonly spoken languages.



The British began their rule in Delhi in 1805 with the operation of General Regulations made by the British under the charge of the Resident and Chief Commissioner of Delhi. The system continued with periodic modifications till 1857. In 1858 the British made Delhi a provincial town of the Frontier Province and later transferred it to the newly formed Punjab province under a Lieutenant Governor.


Delhi continued to be administered directly by the Government of India through a Chief Commissioner till 1950.


A committee, chaired by Dr. B. Pattabhi Sita Ramayya, was set up on 31st July, 1947 to study and report on constitutional changes in the administrative structure of the Chief Commissioner's Provinces, which included Delhi. Based on the committee's report, the Constituent Assembly agreed to incorporate Articles 239 and 240 in the constitution to allow Part-C states functioning through a Chief Commissioner or Lieutenant Governor. Delhi became a Part-C state in 1951 with a Council of Ministers and a legislature


The States Reorganisation Commission, set-up in December 1953, recommended that Part-C states either be amalgamated with a neighbouring state or converted into a centrally administered territory. The Commission recommended that Delhi, as the national capital, must remain under the effective control of the national government. It also suggested the formation of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). Accordingly, the Council of Ministers and Legislative Assembly of Delhi ceased to exist from November 1, 1956. Delhi, as a Union Territory was administered thereafter by the President of India through a Chief Commissioner appointed under, Article 239 till the Delhi Administration Act 1966 came into force.


The Municipal Corporation of Delhi Act was enacted by Parliament in 1957 and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi was formed with elected members in 1958.


The Delhi Development Authority was created under the Delhi Development Act, 1957. The first master plan, 1961-1981 was published by DDA in 1962


The Delhi Administration Act 1966 (No.19 of 1966) was enacted by Parliament to provide for limited representative government for Delhi with the creation of a Metropolitan Council comprising 56 elected and 5 nominated members. An Executive Council was also constituted by the President, and four Executive Councilors, including the Chief Executive Councilor, were appointed by the President


Delhi's Administrative Set-up has seen another change through the 69th Constitutional Amendment by way of insertion of Article 239 AA and the passage of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991. This Act, which came into force w.e.f. January 1992, provides for a Legislative Assembly and Council of Ministers to aid and advise the Lieutenant Governor. The President appoints the Chief Minister and six other Ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Act provides for a 70-member Legislative Assembly with powers to make laws on matters contained in the State and Concurrent lists applicable to the Union Territory, except for those relating to public order, police and land. The first Legislative Assembly under this Act was constituted after elections in 1993. The second Legislative Assembly was constituted in November, 1998.


With the new administrative set-up in Delhi, a number of other changes have followed, such as the transfer of the Delhi Transport Corporation from the Central Government to the Delhi government. Similarly, the Delhi Electricity Supply Undertaking has been reorganised into the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB). The Delhi Water Supply and Sewage Disposal Undertaking has been reorganised into the Delhi Jal Board (DJB); both DVB and DJB have been transferred from MCD to the Delhi Government. In place of the single district that existed in Delhi, 9 districts with 27 sub-divisions have been created since January 1997.



Delhi lies in the north of India between Latitudes of 28-24-17 and 28-53-00 North and Longitudes of 76-50-24 and 77-20-37 East. Delhi is surrounded by the states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Delhi has an area of 1,483 sq. kms. Its maximum length is 51.90 kms and greatest width is 48.48 kms.


The Yamuna river and terminal part of the Aravali hill ranges are the two main geographical features of the city. Delhi is at the dividing line between two major river plains of the country, the Ganga-Yamuna plains in the east and the Satluj-Ravi plains in the north. The Aravali hill ranges are covered with forest and are called Ridges; they act as the city's lungs and help maintain its environment. The Yamuna river is Delhi's source of drinking water and a sacred river for most of the inhabitants. However, the stretch of the river in Delhi from Wazirabad to Okhla is highly polluted


The Yamuna river originates from the Yamunotri Glacier in the lower Himalayas at an elevation of about 6387 mtr. above mean sea level. In its first 170 km stretch, the tributaries Rishi Ganga Kunta, Hanuman Ganga, Tons and Giri join the main river. The combined stream then flows through the Shivalik range of hills and emerges into the plains at Tajewala in Haryana. From Tajewala, the river sluggishly meanders via Delhi to its confluence with the Ganga at Allahabad after flowing through a distance of about 1200 kms. The total length of the river from origin to the confluence point at Allahabad is 1376 kms.


The catchment of the Yamuna river system covers parts of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. The catchment basin of the Yamuna, which is part of the Ganga basin, measures about 40% of the total Ganga basin and 10% of the total land-mass of the country. Map 1.1 provides an overview of the Yamuna basin


The average annual rainfall in Delhi is 714 mm, three-fourths of which falls in July, August and September. Heavy rainfall in the catchment area of the Yamuna can result in a dangerous flood situation in the city. During the summer months of April, May and June, temperatures can rise to 40-45 degrees Celsius; winters can be cold with temperatures during December and January falling to 4 to 5 degree Celsius. February, March, October and November are climatically the best months.


The rural area of Delhi, covered 797.66 sq. kms., with a population of 9.49 lakh spread over 199 villages as per the 1991 census. The rural area accounted for 53.78% of total area and 9.93% of Delhi's population in 1991. There has been a significant shift in the occupational structure of the rural work force between 1981-1991 in favour of the manufacturing sector. All the villages have been provided with facilities like electricity, piped water supply, street lighting, approach roads, fair-price shops and primary schools.


The forest cover has increased from 0.76% of total area in 1980-81 to 1.70% of total area in 1994-95.

22. Delhi's mineral resources are primarily sand and stone, which are useful for construction activities. However, the stone quarries in the Ridge have been shut down since 1984 due to environmental considerations.


Item 1950-51 1990-91 1998-99
1. Total Area (Sq. Kms)
2. Population (in Lakhs)



3. Density (Person) per 1176 6352 9048
4. GSDP (Rs. in Crore)
At Constant Prices
At Current Prices


5. Per Capita Income (Rs.)
At Current Prices
N.A. 17355* (1993-94) 27693*
6. Birth Rate
(per 1000 population)
N.A. 28.52 24.56
7. Death Rate
(per 1000 population)
N.A. 6.35 6.05
8. Infant Mortality Rate
(per 1000 live births)
N.A. 32.37 25.95
9. Electricity (Demand) (MW) 27 1435 2500
10. Water Treatment Capacity
66 437 591
11. Sewage Treatment Capacity (MGD) 36 216 344
12. Forest Area (Hectares)
1434 (1980-81) 1561 9364
13. Cropped Area (Hectares) 87599
76239 48917
14. Hospital Beds (Nos.) 14605
15. Road Length (Kms) 14316
21564 26379
16. Literacy Rate (Per cent) 38.36 75.29 85
17. No. of Schools 2330
3526 4303
18. No. of Vehicles 12,455 19,23,787 32,10,456

* 1993-94 series

** Projected by Registrar General of India.

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