“About Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme”
India is on a high growth trajectory that is expected to lift millions out of poverty. However, presently the quality of life of many of its citizens is not consistent with this growth story, a fact reflected in UNDP’s 2016 Human Development Index wherein we are ranked 131 out of 188 countries. A closer look at the data reveals high heterogeneity in the living standards in India. There are significant inter-state and inter-district variations. By uplifting the districts which have shown relatively lesser progress in achieving key social outcome, India can move ahead in the human development index. The ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ initiative aims to remove this heterogeneity through a mass movement to quickly and effectively transform these districts.
On the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement on 9th August 2017, Hon’ble Prime Minister interacted with the District Collectors through video conference and stated that “when the socioeconomic conditions improve in the 100 most backward districts, it would give a big boost to overall development of the country”. Launching this programme in January, the Prime Minister addressed the Collectors of all aspirational districts and gave a call for a concerted effort to turn these districts around.
The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a spirit of mass Movement. With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.
3. Selection of Districts
The 115 districts were identified from 28 states, at least one from each state, in a transparent manner by a committee of Senior Officers to the Government of India, in consultation with State Officials using a composite index of key data sets that included deprivation enumerated under the Socio-Economic Caste Census, key health and education sector performance and state of basic infrastructure.
This programme is a policy priority of Government of India. NITI Aayog anchors the programme with support from Central Ministries and the State Governments. While the Ministry of Home Affairs is steering the initiative in 35 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts, NITI Aayog is focusing in 30 districts and various central ministries are overseeing 50 districts. Officers at the level of Additional/Joint Secretary have been nominated to become the ‘Central Prabhari Officers’ of each district. States have appointed state-nodal and Prabhari officers. An Empowered Committee under the Convenorship of the CEO, NITI Aayog is in place to facilitate the convergence of various government schemes and streamlining of efforts.
5. Focus Areas
The Government is committed to raising the living standards of its citizens and ensuring inclusive growth for all – “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”. To enable optimum utilization of their potential, this program focuses closely on improving people’s ability to participate fully in the vibrant economy. Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure are this programme’s core areas of focus. After several rounds of consultations with various stakeholders, 49 key performance indicators have been chosen to measure progress of the districts. Districts are aspiring to first catch-up with the best district within their State, and subsequently aspire to become one of the best in the country, by competing with, and learning from others in the spirit of competitive & cooperative federalism.
6. Real-time Monitoring Dashboard
NITI Aayog in partnership with the Government of Andhra Pradesh has created a dashboard for monitoring the real-time progress of the districts. Key district level officials are involved in collection and evaluation of data, and generation of MIS (Management Information System) reports. Districts are ranked based on progress made (‘delta ranking’) on a real-time basis.
Link – http://championsofchange.gov.in/site/coc-home/