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Prelims Capsule


NITI Aayog announces 5 aspirational districts in Agriculture & Water Resources sector

NITI Aayog announces 5 aspirational districts in Agriculture & Water Resources sector


  • GS 3 || Economy || Infrastructure || Investment Models

Why in the news?

  • Malkangiri has topped NITI Aayog’s list of ‘Most Improved Aspirational Districts in Agriculture and Water Resources Sector’ for the month of December, 2021.
    • It is followed by Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh and Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir. Ramgarh in Jharkhand and Begusarai in Bihar also feature in the list.
  • The Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) is one of the largest experiments on outcomes-focused governance in the world.

Impact of Aspirational District Programme(ADP)

  • Decentralization of Development:ADP focuses on outcomes, that enable local experimentation based on a firm appreciation of ground realities.
  • Inclusive approach:The delta ranking of the Aspirational Districts combines the innovative use of data with pragmatic administration, keeping the district at the locus of inclusive development.
    • Through ADP government seeks to uplift those districts which have shown relatively lesser progress in achieving key social outcomes.
  • Improved Implementation:Spurred by competition based on outcomes, local governments target their efforts and improve program implementation and design.
  • For Example, Health outcomes in ADP saw an increase in registering pregnant women into the health system, institutional delivery of babies and anti-diarrheal treatment, etc.
  • Basic Infrastructure: This pillar witnessed significant advancement, especially in LWE affected districts. This ensured better connectivity and seamless movement from rural to urban regions.
  • Bijapur in Chhattisgarh and Malkangiri in Odisha have greatly improved the network of roadways and ramped up the infrastructure projects in their jurisdiction.
  • Financial inclusion and skill developmentMicro-ATMshave been launched in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district to provide financial assistance to women self-help group members. They are provided with commission-based income on every transaction.
  • Agriculture and water resources– District administrations have placed a strong emphasis on increasing irrigation capacity and yield, as well as farmer education. Several novel approaches have been taken to establish market links for products indigenous to aspirational districts.
    • Farmers in Chandauli, Uttar Pradesh, were urged to plant organic black rice without the use of fertilizer.
    • The project was a resounding success, with Chandauli contributing to the growing global market for black rice and exporting to countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
  • Health and Nutrition– Model Anganwadi centers have been established across districts to benefit mothers and children. The number of institutional deliveries has grown, whereas the rate of severe acute malnutrition in infants has decreased.
    • Poshan App was created for Ranchi’s aspirational district. It is a digital platform for real-time data analytics.
  • Education outcomes-The cornerstones of revolution in the education industry have been innovation and digitization.
    • The ‘Hamara Vidhyalaya’ paradigm, which was implemented in Namsai, a remote district in Arunachal Pradesh, resulted in significant improvements in learning outcomes and overall teaching practices.

Issues associated with the Aspirational Districts Programme

Way forward

  • The first UNDP assessment of the Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) advised reorganizing the program’s sectors. It advocates for the inclusion of themes like the environment and gender.
  • The weightage of the Skill Development and Financial Inclusion sectors must be increased so that states place more emphasis on them.
  • more simplified ranking index is needed with few but carefully chosen output and outcome measures that can more clearly signal national development targets.
  • Financial autonomy to local governments should be provided.
    • The government must provide more financing to districts, particularly LWE areas, which are burdened with the dual burden of combating LWE activities and assuring development.
  • To enhance the lives of the most vulnerable populations, the federal government and the states must work together in a spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism.
  • Furthermore, the bottom-ranked districts should learn from the top-ranked districts’ success model.

Mains model Question

  • The Aspirational Districts Programme aims to eliminate variation in social-economic variables, which is represented in pervasive inequality in Indian districts. Discuss.