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What is the Aspirational Block Programme?

Jan 16, 2023

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Today we will discuss What is the Aspirational Block Programme in our today's edition of Current Affairs. Read further to upgrade your UPSC CSE knowledge and also understand the topic’s relevance to the UPSC syllabus.

For Prelims: Economic and Social Development

About Aspirational Block Programme, Aspirational District Programme, NITI Aayog 

For Mains: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Aspirational Block Programme, Aspirational District Programme, Significance of the Aspirational Districts Programme, NITI Aayog

Context

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, launched the government’s Aspirational Block Programme (ABP), which is aimed at improving performance of blocks lagging on various development parameters.

Probable Question

How has the Aspirational Districts Programme helped in improving the quality of life of citizens in the most backward districts of the country? (150 words, 10 marks)

About the Aspirational Block Programme

  • The Aspirational Blocks Programme is on the lines of the Aspirational District Programme that was launched in 2018 and covers 112 districts across the country.
  • The programme will cover 500 districts across 31 states and Union Territories initially. However, states can add more blocks to the programme later.
  • 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). 

Aspirational Districts Programme

  • Launched by the Prime Minister in January 2018, the Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) aims to quickly and effectively transform 112 most under-developed districts across the country and raising the living standards of its citizens and ensuring inclusive growth for all – “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas aur Sabka Vishwas”. 
  • The programme is implemented by NITI Aayog.
  • The broad contours of the programme are:
  1. Convergence (of Central & State Schemes)
  2. Collaboration (of Central, State level Nodal Officers & District Collectors), and 
  3. Competition among districts through monthly delta ranking.
  • States are the main drivers of this program.  
  • The programme focuses on the strength of each district, identifying low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement and measuring progress by ranking districts on a monthly basis. 
  • The ranking is based on the incremental progress made across 49 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) under 5 broad socio-economic themes - 
  1. Health & Nutrition
  2. Education
  3. Agriculture & Water Resources
  4. Financial Inclusion
  5. Skill Development and Infrastructure. 
  • Champions of Change Dashboard: The delta-ranking of Aspirational Districts and the performance of all districts is available on the Dashboard.
  • This program closely focuses on improving people’s ability to participate fully in the burgeoning economy. 
  • The program works in the spirit of competitive and cooperative federalism by encouraging the districts to first catch up with the best district within their state, and subsequently aspire to become one of the best in the country, by competing with, and learning from others.
  • The programme aims at localizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Significance of the Aspirational Districts Programme

  • States and districts have a greater say in their own development as they are much more aware of their developmental challenges and the ways  to tackle them.
  • The focus of the programme is on improving governance, and efficient utilization of resources.
  • Through cooperative federalism, the best practices across different districts can be replicated across the country to bring in socio-economic development..
  • Partnerships with the private sector, philanthropic organizations and technical partners bring in much more efficiency and new ideas to contribute to overall development.
  • Central and State schemes are converged around specific activities.

Issues Associated with the Aspirational Districts Programme

  • Insufficient budgetary resources.
  • Lack of coordination between different ministries working together for the implementation of the programme.
  • The Delta Ranking is focused on assessing the quantity rather than the quality of outcomes.
  • Imbalance in implementation as much more focus is paid on some areas like health and education while other areas like financial inclusion and skill development are ignored.
  • The most backward districts have been excluded under the scheme as the most basic measure of development, the per capita income, has been excluded.

Way Forward

  • Local governments should be provided with financial autonomy.
  • The UNDP has called for a realignment of sectors under the program to include topics such as environment and gender.
  • The under-developed blocks and districts must be brought under the programme’s coverage.
  • Focus must be placed on strengthening the governance mechanisms of aspirational distorts.
NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog: 

Formation: January 1, 2015. It is the country’s premier policy-making institution which aims to bolster the economic growth of the country. 

It lays emphasis on the ‘Bottom Up’ approach to envisage the vision of Maximum Governance, Minimum Government.

It promotes the spirit of ‘Cooperative Federalism’ by ensuring active participation of States in the development process. 

The Aayog is chaired by the Prime Minister and other members include, Vice-Chairperson, Governing Council, Regional Council, Ad Hoc members, Ex-officio members, CHief Executive Officer, and Special Invitees. 

It has two hubs called “Team India Hub” and “Knowledge and Innovation Hub”.

7 pillars of effective governance: 

Pro-people
Pro-activity
Participation
Empowering
Inclusion of all
Equality
Transparency 

Some of the major initiatives taken by the NITI Aayog include-
Aspirational Districts Programme

SATH initiative

Atal Innovation Mission

SDG India Index

Strategy for New India @75‘Methanol Economy’ Programme

Composite Water Management Index

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q 1. What is the Aspirational Block Programme?

Answer: Recently, the Aspirational Block Programme (ABP), has been launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The programme will cover 500 districts across 31 states and Union Territories initially. However, states can add more blocks to the programme later.

Q 2. What is the core purpose of the aspirational district Programme?

Answer: The programme aims at improving performance of blocks lagging on various development parameters. The programme plays emphasis on improving the socio-economic conditions of these backward blocks.

Q 3. How many Aspirational districts are there?

Answer: Total 112 Aspirational districts have been identified throughout the nation covering a minimum of one from each state in India under the Aspirational Districts Programme.

News Source: Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/pm-modi-aspirational-block-programme-spurring-development-parameters-8367955/

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