Topic of the Day - Aspirational Districts Programme

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Aspirational Districts Programme

Balanced growth is the prerequisite for the overall development in a diverse country like India. Many programmes have been formulated by the policymakers to address the issue of widespread disparity in the indicators of development in different regions of the country. Nonetheless, the programmes launched earlier lacked centralized monitoring mechanisms, were infested with loopholes, lack of convergence, lack of availability of real-time data etc. Above all, a “one size fits all” approach was adopted, which resulted in the programmes, not yielding the desired results.

Recently, in order to effectively and quickly transform the chosen districts (that have witnessed least progress among certain parameters of development), the government launched the Aspirational Districts Programme. The Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) is a quintessential retreat from India’s previous development strategies in its ownership, scope, and scale. It is implicit in the plan of the programme that the Indian economy could sustain growth only by improving the human development for all its citizens.

  • 115 districts from across 28 states have been chosen. They constitute about 20% of the population of India and cover about 8,600-gram Panchayats.
  • The progress under the programme is tracked through the data collected on a real-time basis. A dashboard has been created by the NITI Ayog to track the real-time progress. This, in turn, enhances accountability and transparency.
  • Statistics have been collected on 49 indicators on 5 core dimensions (education, financial inclusion, agriculture and water resources, skill development and basic infrastructure) in order to provide an initial benchmark for the programme.
  • It is important, however, to note that all the dimensions are not considered equal in constructing a composite index for every district, taking cognizance of the nature of development challenges in India.
  • The focus, under the programme, is shifted from the outputs to the socio-economic outputs.
  • The programme is a positive shift towards cooperative federalism, as the districts and the states have a greater voice in their development.
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