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News Analysis


Aspirational District Programme

  • 20 Jun 2022
  • 5 min read

For Prelims: Aspirational District programme, SDG, NITI Aagog

For Mains: Government Policies and Interventions

Why in News?

Recently, the Prime Minister has expressed his desire to extend the Aspirational District Programme to block and city levels.

What is Aspirational Districts Programme?

  • About:
    • It was launched in 2018 which aims to transform districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.
    • Aspirational Districts are those districts in India, that are affected by poor socio-economic indicators.
  • Broad Contours of the Programme:
    • Convergence (of Central & State Schemes)
    • Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors),
    • Competition among districts through monthly delta ranking.
      • 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.
  • Objectives:
    • It focuses on the strength of each district, identifying low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement and measuring progress by ranking districts on a monthly basis.
    • Districts are prodded and encouraged 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 in the spirit of competitive & cooperative federalism.
    • The Government is committed to raising the living standards of its citizens and ensuring inclusive growth for all – “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas aur Sabka Vishwas”.
    • The ADP is essentially aimed at localizing Sustainable Development Goals, leading to the progress of the nation.
  • Parameters for Ranking:
    • The ranking is based on the incremental progress made across 49 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) under 5 broad socio-economic themes -
      • Health & Nutrition (30%)
      • Education (30%)
      • Agriculture & Water Resources (20%)
      • Financial Inclusion & Skill Development (10%)
      • Infrastructure (10%)
  • Various Programmes:
  • Challenges Associated with ADP
    • Insufficient Budgetary Resources:
      • ADP is affected by the issue pertaining to insufficient budgetary resources.
    • Lack of Coordination:
      • ADP is implemented by multiple ministries which leads to a lack of coordination.
    • Data High-quality administrative data:
      • Data High-quality administrative data is critical to improving programme implementation and design at the local level.
    • Ranking Method:
      • The Delta ranking itself is largely focused on assessing quantity (that is, coverage of access) rather than quality.
    • Quality of Education:
      • Also, the quality of education in India is in a dismal condition, as highlighted by the ASER report.

Way Forward

  • A more simplified ranking index is needed with a few carefully chosen output and outcome measures which can more clearly signal national development targets.
  • Financial autonomy to local governments should be provided.
  • Independent surveys can be used to validate administrative data, this will help improve data quality.
  • Building each district’s internal capacity to produce reliable and actionable data, and promoting a culture of data use, can be made a priority for the ADP.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous year Question (PYQ)

Q. Atal Innovation Mission is set up under the (2019)

(a) Department of Science and Technology
(b) Ministry of Labour and Employment
(c) NITI Aayog
(d) Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

Ans: (c)


  • The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship based on a detailed study and deliberations on innovation and entrepreneurial needs of the country.
  • AIM is envisaged as an umbrella innovation organization that would play an instrumental role in alignment of innovation policies between Central, State and sectoral innovation schemes incentivizing the establishment and promotion of an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship at various levels – higher secondary schools, science, engineering and higher academic institutions, SME/MSME industry, corporate and NGO levels.
  • Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.

Source: HT

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