(GIST OF YOJANA) Transforming India’s Aspirational Districts- A Developmental Journey [MARCH-2018]

(GIST OF YOJANA) Transforming India’s Aspirational Districts- A Developmental Journey [MARCH-2018]

Transforming India’s Aspirational Districts- A Developmental Journey

India is on a robust growth trajectory and the international bodies such as World Bank, Moody’s investors service etc., have also projected that India will be the fastest growing economy again 1n 2018. The latest report of the World Bank on ‘Ease of Doing Business’ had shown significant jump of 42 ranks, which, India is the only country to achieve this quantum jump. While the economic growth prospects are on a positive note, our social sector faces severe development challenges. India stands at 131 of 188 nations on the Human Development Index, 2016 of UNDP and ranked 100 out of 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index. The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) reveals that one in every two women is anemic; one in every three children is stunted; one in every four children is malnourished an one in every five children is wasted. When one drives deep into data, the picture seems to be different and the position in respect of these indicators is not as frightening as it appears to be at the national level. For example, percentage of stunted children-Kerala (19.7) and Bihar (48.3); percentage underweight children Mizoram (1 1.9)and Jharkhand (47.8); Infant Mortality Rate per 1000 live births Andaman and Nicobar Islands (10) and Uttar Pradesh (64); Maternal Mortality Rate per 1 lakh live births Kerala (61) and Assam (300); Mathematics Class V NAS Score Tamil Nadu (56 per cent) and Chhattisgarh (32 per cent); similarly Reading Comprehension Tamilnadu (54 per cent) and Bihar (29 per cent); Percentage of households live states achieved 100 per cent and Jharkhand (40 per cent). On the whole, around 200 districts across India distort the national averages. The wide-spread disparity in development indicators, both economic and social, among various regions of the country had drawn the attention of policy makers for quite sometime, as early as 1960’s. The identified backward districts in the past are largely represented by few states such as undivided Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Each of the recommendations of the Committees resulted in programmes/schemes, which were sector or area-specific.

A total of 115 districts, with atleast one district from 28 states, have been identified, out of which 30 were selected by NITI Aayog and another 50 districts by Central Ministries using a composite index of parameters taken from available published government data and vetted by the States. Remaining 35 districts were identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs as Left Wing Extremist districts. NITI Aayog will anchor the programme. While selecting a district, capacity of States was also kept in mind as the programme would be driven by the State Governments. The States would be supported by Government of India in making concerted efforts to improve performance of key parameters in these districts by 2022. NITI Aayog would coordinate such assistance and would create robust MIS for measuring performance in these districts.

The primary objective of the programme is to improve the quality of life by improving the social indicators and basic infrastructure in the identified districts and also raise the income standard of its citizens. Accordingly, five sectors have been identified -Health and Nutrition, Education, Agriculture and Water Resources, Basic Infrastructure and Financial Inclusion and Skill Formation. Given the wide variation in opportunities and challenges faced by a district, ideal set of district-specific KPIs have been chosen that captures efforts, commitments and progress made by all stakeholders in transforming the district. These KPIs are a combination of inputs, outputs and outcomes across these five sectors and the data on real-time would be captured at the district level. KPIs in Health and Nutrition include Maternal and Child Health; Infant Nutrition; Antenatal Care and Nutrition; Immunization; Physical Infrastructure and Human Resources for Health. Education KPIs consists of Net Enrolment Ratio; Physical Infrastructure; Learning Outcomes; Literacy rate and compliance with Right to Education (RTE). Agriculture KPIs include water positive investments and employment; Crop Insurance under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY); Critical Inputs on usage and supply. Basic Infrastructure covers Roads, Water, Toilets, Housing, Electricity and Internet Connectivity. In addition, two agencies namely Tata Trusts and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would be carrying out household surveys using stratiiied random sampling technique on quarterly basis.

The district level teams would prepare a base line report of the current status of different indicators and based on the resources available, would also prepare year wise targets so that by 2022, the district attains the desired level in each of the indicators. The central representative, would be visiting the district at least once in two months and also prepare a report for NITI Aayog. The latter in turn, after analyzing the report would place the findings for consideration to the Empowered Committee of secretaries. Out of the 115 districts, NITI Aayog will drive 30 districts, 35 districts by Ministry of Home Affairs and remaining 55 districts are distributed among Ministries of Health and Family Welfare; Women and Child Development; Panchayat Raj; Agriculture and Farmers Welfare; Human Resources Development; Rural Development; Drinking Water and Sanitation; Housing and Urban Affairs; Water Resources; Power; Social Justice and Tribal Affairs. The baseline data and the realtime monitoring is expected to begin from April 1, 2018 as also the competition among the states for improving well-being of people of these aspirational districts. While transforming backward districts is not a different idea, however, the government is implementing it differently. As it is popularly said -“winners don’t do different things, they do it differently” will be proved for these aspirational districts.

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Courtesy: Yojana