Written by Talent KAS

Related Topics: Government Schemes, NITI Aayog


The apex body for child rights, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), is visiting 117 Aspirational Districts to hold public meetings on complaints affecting children pertaining to education, health and nutrition as well as lack of infrastructure.

What is Aspirational Districts Programme?

  • The Government of India has launched the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ initiative in January, 2018 under its think tank NITI Aayog.
  • The programme focuses on transforming the districts that have witnessed the least progress along certain development parameters.
  • The three core principles of the programme are – Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (among citizens and functionaries of Central & State Governments including district teams), and Competition among districts.
  • Driven primarily by the States, this initiative focuses on the strengths of each district, and prioritizes the attainable outcomes for immediate improvement.

Selection Criteria

  • The districts were identified in a transparent manner by a committee of Senior Officers to the Government of India, in consultation with State Officials.
  • The selection was done 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.
  • Government has selected about 35 districts which are “affected by Left Wing Extremism” on the advice of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Need for the Programme

  • There is a widespread disparity in development indicators among various regions of the country.
  • Pockets of under-development poses challenge to Sustainable high growth, Inclusive Growth, Meeting SDG commitment.
  • Earlier programmes/schemes were infested by certain loopholes, including lack of convergence, absence of centralised monitoring mechanism, only a fraction of sanctioned amount reaching the districts, lack of availability of real time data, lack of people’s participation and above all the ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Areas of Focus

  • The programme aims for overall transformation of the districts using mass movement
  • Different districts have different strength and weakness and detail of district level plans would vary.
  • The programme seeks to focus in following sectors as these are important for all districts:

a) Health and Nutrition

b) Education

c) Agriculture and Water Resources

d) Financial inclusion and skill development

e) Basic Infrastructure including access to road, potable water, rural electrification and individual household toilets.

Core Strategy

  • States as main drivers
  • Work on the strength of each district.
  • Make development as a mass movement in these districts.
  • Identify low hanging fruits and the strength of each district, to act as a catalyst for development.
  • Measure progress and rank districts to spur a sense of competition.
  • Districts shall aspire to become State’s best to Nation’s best.

Baseline Ranking & Real-time Monitoring 

  • The NITI Aayog launched the baseline ranking for the Aspirational Districts based on the published data of 49 indicators (81 data points) across five developmental areas with different weightages.
  • The dashboard is designed, developed, and maintained by the Planning Department of the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The ranking of districts is dynamic and would reflect the incremental (delta) improvement made month on month.
  • The first Delta ranking (incremental progress) for the Aspirational Districts, based on self-reported data of districts between March 31, 2018 to May 31, 2018, was launched by NITI Aayog in June 2018.
[Source: The Hindu, PIB,]

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