Prime Minister of India recently launched the Aspirational Block Programme (ABP), which is aimed at improving performance of blocks lagging on various development parameters. Launching the ABP, PM underscored the success achieved in various Aspirational Districts in the country under the Aspirational District Programme (ADP).

 

Background

  • In her Budget (2022-23) speech, the Finance Minister had announced the government’s intention to launch the ABP.
  • About the ABP —
      • The ABP will take the aspirational district model up to block level and will enable holistic development in those areas that require added assistance.
      • The programme will cover 500 districts across 31 states and UTs initially and over half of these blocks are in 6 states – Uttar Pradesh (68 blocks), Bihar (61), Madhya Pradesh (42), Jharkhand (34), Odisha (29) and West Bengal (29).

 

About the ‘Aspirational Districts Programme’

  • The aim is to quickly and effectively transform some of India’s most underdeveloped districts. It will identify areas of immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.
  • The broad ideas of the programme include –
      • convergence of central and state schemes
      • collaboration of central, state level Prabhari‘ (in-charge) officers and district collectors
      • competition among districts
  • The 115 districts were chosen by senior officials of the Union government in consultation with State officials based on a composite Index.
  • The parameters included are
        • deprivation enumerated under Socio-Economic Caste Census
        • key health and education performance indicators
        • state of basic infrastructure
  • The baseline ranking is based on 49 indicators across 5 sectors – health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development and basic infrastructure.
  • A minimum of one district was chosen from every State.
  • The baseline ranking would be followed by delta ranking of these districts based on their “incremental progress“.
  • The progress of each district will be monitored by the dashboard which has all the latest available data in the 5 sectors given by the District Collectors.
  • For each district, a four-tier supervisory mechanism has been put in place with a Central Nodal Officer from the Union Government, a State Nodal Officer from concerned State Government, a District Nodal Officer/District Collector and a Union Minister-in-charge.

 

NOTE – As of March 2020, NITI Aayog is working with stakeholders in 112 aspirational districts as West Bengal is not participating in this exercise.

 

How has the ADP performed?

  • The UNDP India has lauded the ADP as ‘a very successful model of local area development’, and acted as a catalyst for expediting development in the previously neglected districts, including those affected by Left Wing Extremism.
  • The programme has strengthened the technical and administrative capacities of the districts, however, there was a need to focus more on capacity building.
  • Best Practice under the ADP – GoalMart — It is an e-commerce portal launched by Assam’s Goalpara district administration to promote rural, ethnic and agrarian products of the district in the national and global markets.