Santosh Sharma/Mint
Santosh Sharma/Mint

Kupwara, Ranchi lead NITI’s list of aspirational districts

The govt think tank released the second set of rankings for 111 aspirational districts

New Delhi: Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir, Ranchi in Jharkhand and Siddharthnagar in Uttar Pradesh have shown the most significant improvements in the second set of rankings of aspirational districts released by NITI Aayog, the government think tank said on Thursday.

NITI Aayog released the rankings for 111 aspirational districts. The survey ranked districts by measuring the incremental progress made by them between 1 June and 31 October across six developmental areas—health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion, skill development and basic infrastructure. The rankings factor in data from household surveys conducted by NITI Aayog’s knowledge partners.

Interestingly, in the first set of rankings which were released in June, Kupwara and Ranchi were ranked as the bottom three districts.

Virudhunagar in Tamil Nadu, Naupada in Odisha and Siddharthnagar in Uttar Pradesh ranked as the most improved districts while Pakur and Chatra in Jharkhand, and Hailakandi in Assam were ranked as the least improved.

“Collaborative efforts of the centre, state and districts lead to inclusive development. Competitive spirit can do wonders and the template of the aspirational districts programme can be utilized in other parts and development programmes for the country," said Amitabh Kant, chief executive of NITI Aayog.

He added that aspirational districts have improved because of the focused attention of ground-level teams and that the indicators were selected on the basis of the qualitative impact they have on the life of people and their economic productivity.

“We have constantly endeavoured to ensure transparent, real-time measurement of qualitative development in aspirational districts through the use of third-party validated data. This will strengthen the spirit of competitive and cooperative federalism on the foundations of evidence-based policy making," he said while releasing the ranking.

Of 112 aspirational districts, 111 participated in the survey. Wayanad in Kerala could not take part because of floods earlier this year.

The “Transformation of Aspirational Districts" programme, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January this year, was set up to focus on the strengths of each district and prioritize the attainable outcomes for immediate improvement.

NITI Aayog ranks states and districts on various development parameters to highlight achievements and address gaps. It also puts pressure on states and district administrations to do more in areas where they are lagging.

The think tank no longer gets involved in allocating funds to various central government programmes, but monitors outcomes of schemes.

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