Saturday, March 31, 2012

Better homes, no power, toilet

Better homes, no power, toilet

Guwahati, March 30: The overall condition of Assam's households has improved according to the census data on housing, household amenities and Assets Census, 2011 released here today but the state still has a lot of catching up to do on the power and sanitation fronts.

The data collected from February 9 to 28 last year with a revision round during March 1 to 5 reveals that Assam has done well in comparison to 1991-2001 census figures but it needs to focus more on parameters such as power and sanitation.

There has been an increase in households with electricity by 12 per cent since 2001, but the overall figure of households covered is still dismal: 37 per cent. Consumption of kerosene stands at 62 per cent.

Similarly, bathing facility has improved by 28 per cent over 2001 figures, but 58 per cent of the households are still without this basic facility. Around 1.3 per cent of the total households use water from untreated source.

Households in lower Assam, north bank and middle Assam face a lot of problems accessing clean drinking water.

"There are a lot of positives, like our sex ratio as well as literacy rate. It would look even better if we could provide electricity and basic amenities to more households — bathing facility, proper drainage, LPG, electricity are basic amenities," an official said, underlining the need for the Tarun Gogoi government to take appropriate steps to improve the delivery mechanism.

The decade under review has seen a Congress-government at the helm of affairs at Dispur. Gogoi assumed power in 2001 and is into his third term.

Director of census operation, Assam, R.K. Das, formally released the report which had been collected based on demographic data including religion, caste, language, economic activity, migration and fertility, with the help of 65,277 supervisors and enumerators.

The provisional population of 2011 represented a decadal growth of 16.93 per cent during 2001-2011, against 17.64 per cent in the country, whereas the decade of 1991-2001 saw a growth of 18.92 per cent. Similarly, the sex ratio has improved. The number of females per thousand males was 935 in 2001, which rose to 954 in 2011, against 940 in the country.

The effective literacy rate of Assam according to the 2011 census is 73.18 per cent against country's literacy rate of 74.04 per cent.

Of 73.18 per cent, male literacy constitutes 78.81 per cent, while female literacy constitutes 67.27 per cent in 2011.

"As far as housing is concerned, a decline has been observed in proportion of households using grass/thatch /bamboo/wood/mud/tiles/burnt bricks as material of roof and wall; whereas, an increase observed in proportion of households using GI/metal/asbestos sheets and concrete as material of roof and burnt brick and stone as material for walls," said Das.

About vehicles used in the state, four per cent households have four-wheelers; 10 per cent households have two-wheelers (scooter/motorcycle/moped); and 55 per cent households have bicycles," said Das.

Though the census officials did not make any observation, the data released ends with Article 25 of the Universal Declaration Of human Rights 1948.

It reads: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control."

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