The Aspirational Blocks Programme (ABP) was launched recently by the Prime Minister of India during the Second National Conference of Chief Secretaries.

 

Background

  • An inter-ministerial committee in consultation with states had identified 500 blocks from across 28 states and four UTs for monitoring their 15 key socio-economic indicators (KSIs) based on various development parameters.
  • The sectors were selected for facilitating holistic development of every block with states having the flexibility to include additional state-specific KSIs to address local challenges.
  • The ABP is built on the noteworthy success of the government’s flagship Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) launched in 2018 across 112 under-developed districts of India with a vision of a New India by 2022.
  • The concept of the community development block was first introduced as part of Community Development Programme. It aimed to provide for a significant expansion of the nation’s agricultural program as well as enhancements to communication infrastructure, rural health and hygienic practices, and rural education.

 

About the Aspirational Blocks Programme

  • This transformational programme focuses on improving governance to enhance the quality of life of citizens in the most difficult and underdeveloped blocks of India.
  • It will be attained by converging existing schemes, defining outcomes, and monitoring them on a constant basis, enabling holistic development in areas that require added assistance.
  • The KSIs under ABP are categorised under major sectors namely health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development, basic infrastructure and social development. These KSIs will be tracked on a real-time basis and periodic rankings will be released across key thematic areas to foster a healthy and dynamic competition among the blocks to encourage data-driven governance.
  • Over half of these blocks are in 6 states namely UP (68 blocks), Bihar (61), MP (42), Jharkhand (34), Odisha (29) and West Bengal (29).
  • The states, as the key drivers of this initiative, are expected to guide, support, review and build capacity of relevant officers to drive progress under this programme.
      • Under the leadership of the district administration, the block level officers will ensure critical last mile service delivery by improving the infrastructure to aid social welfare development.
      • Also, various departments of the block administration will converge and work in unison to bridge critical administrative gaps and sustain these developments and improvements for a long period of time.

 

Why is it required?

  • The Finance Minister in her 2022 Union Budget speech highlighted that 95% of 112 aspirational districts have made significant progress in major indicators.
      • However, some blocks continue to under-perform due to reasons like difficult terrain, lack of resources, historical injustice, social marginalisation and community vulnerability, etc.
      • The ABP, hence, aims to address these inequalities by improving governance and last mile service delivery at the block level.
  • As an administrative and monitoring unit, the block ensures that a “one-size-fits-all” approach is not applied to every part of the country.
  • By constructing social and economic infrastructure, these Blocks seek to ensure that a greater share of development reaches the vulnerable and marginalised segments of the population, by bringing the decision-making process closer to the grass roots.

 

Conclusion

The ABP will strive to provide a common platform for all block administrations to showcase their best practices and learnings. A “viksit” (developed) block is the foundation for a “viksit” Bharat. This forward-looking programme (ABP) will thus leverage the three Cs of convergence, collaboration, and competition to achieve this vision.

 

SourceThe Indian Express

 

QUESTION – Building upon the success of Aspirational Districts Programme, the government is taking the experience to the block level with the Aspirational Blocks Programme. Comment.