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Homeless & forgotten destitute women

Estimates suggest there are around 10,000 homeless women on Delhi's streets. However, the Delhi government has no clue about the exact number of homeless and destitute women, nor the capacity to shelter them. NGO Ashray Adhikar Abhiyan had come up with a figure of 10,000 after an actual headcount in the winter of 2008.

Now, the Delhi government has, for the first time, initiated a survey of the homeless in the capital, under its Mission Convergence, to be complete in two months' time.

Among government institutions, there is just one 50-bed capacity women's home.

There is also an old-age home for both men and women (capacity:150), homes for young boys and girls (750 each men and women) and for mentally challenged (750).

There are also some NGOs operating such homes.

But why do government agencies work only on being informed? Asks Raj Mangal Prasad, chairman of the Child Welfare Committee, "Even if the system takes proactive steps, where is the infrastructure?"

Admits Manoj Parida, Principal Secretary, Social Welfare Department, "The government is aware that the capacity is not even five per cent of the requirement. We have asked for additional land to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and we also encourage NGOs to come forward for capacity addition."

Delhi's Minister for Women and Child Development Kiran Walia pointed out, "Our two mobile vans cater to mental health patients. But in a city like Delhi, we can't go everywhere. Police have a beat patrolling system… they should be held accountable."

However, Amod Kanth, chairperson, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, is critical.

"Even with 85,000 police men and 550 PCR vans, Delhi police have miserably failed to carry out the charter of activity to help a person in distress."

Delhi police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said, "It is totally uncalled for and unnecessary to drag the police in this controversy. People with vested interests are unnecessarily blaming the police."

Madhu Kishwar, Professor at Centre for Study of Developing Society (CSDS) and founder of Manushi, a human rights organisation points out, "Homeless women are 10 times more vulnerable than men. Police does nothing but extortion on the roads. They are only looking for an opportunity."

"Only a conscientious society can take proactive steps. Even religious places should come forward to provide shelter to such persons, more so women."

 2 Replies

Vishwa (translator)     01 September 2010

Thank you for posting this information.

I feel it is wrong to bring the police into this issue. They have neither the training nor the sensitivity required for dealing with such women. Most likely the poor woman will get raped by the entire Thana and sent back to the streets worse for the wear.

1 Like


@ Aishwarya

Good post. If it interests you you can make Govt. accountable by questioning them month wise budgetary allocation for  destitute Women and Shelter Homes projects pan India and then take their reply forward to SC for direction by way of a PIL. That is where awakened citizen comes into picture otherwise these remain just a news item for stirring society (read readers).

I filed similar RTI in March 2008 to WCD and WCD replied saying the budgetary allocation is not yet done and is under consideration by madam Ms. Chowdhary. Since I became busy in other matters I dropped its Appeal.

Here is the copy of my RTI


Government of India

Ministry of Women and Child Development


Application for seeking information under Right to Information Act, 2005.


Sub: Information sought under Right to information Act – 2005.

Does this application concern the life and liberty of a person – No


2. Is the applicant below poverty line – No           


3. Fee Rs.10/- Payment by IPO No. 64 E 518197Yes enclosed

    [As I do not know the name of the beneficiary, please fill the name

Method of supply of information: Speed / registered post.


5. Information required in which form: Paper format attested Xerox


6. Period for which info required: Shelter Homes Booklet for
    destitute women in
New Delhi


7. Particulars of the information sought for in a separate sheet:  Sheets attached (total 2 pages, including this application)


Declaration of the Applicant

I am a bonafide citizen of India and owe allegiance to the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India and have not voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country.


Place: New Delhi

Date: 11th. Nov. 2008         



 (Signature of the Applicant)



In the past couple of years there have been a lot of discussions about the Shelter Homes for Destitute Women’s in New Delhi.  This RTI is being filed to get the information, the Ministry has. 
We would like to request following INFORMATION (Information as defined in the Right to Information Act, 2005):

1)    Please supply applicant with a Copy of Booklet containing short stay Shelter Homes for destitute women in New Delhi with their addresses and admission criteria, admission form, monthly charges etc. in all respect.

2)    Please supply applicant with a Copy of Booklet containing Working Women’s Hostel in New Delhi with their addresses and admission criteria, admission form, monthly charges etc. in all respect.

3)    Please provide list wise details of Shelter Homes Sanctioned since 1999 till date for New Delhi.

4)    Please provide list wise details of Working Women’s Sanctioned since 1999 till date in New Delhi.

5)    Please provide information relating to how much funds was / is released and Shelter Homes covered under Short Stay Homes from 1999 till 2008 – 2009 Plan period for New Delhi.

6)    Please provide complete information regarding what all Schemes is existing in India to provide Shelter to a DESTITUTE WOMEN?

7)    Where the no. of pages exceeds 20, please Xerox them and provide complete info. for which I am ready to pay necessary charges if known on whose favour IPO to be drawn and address to send the same.



Thanking you.

Yours truly,

D. Arun Kumar

Address of Applicant:
145, SFS DDA, Pocket 1, Sector 5,
Dwarka Phase 1, New Delhi 110 075



1. Provide information to each point separately. No clubbing of points even if
    information is repeated.

Section 8(1) e and (j) cannot be used to refuse information.

3.Any attempt at frustrating an applicant from submitting the application 

    invites complaint under section 18 (1). Such complaints are dealt with 

    seriously and compensation to complainant can be awarded.

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