Districts of India
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
The district is the basic unit of administration in India, but how many of them should the country have? While an optimum size in terms of population may be hard to arrive at, the general view is that the lower the population, the better it is for administrative purposes. Which might explain why the country’s district count has steadily gone up since Independence. The latest additions will be the seven new districts that West Bengal has proposed. Swati Mathur explains how a new district is created and what it takes for a state to change its administrative map
Aspirational districts plan
2021: UNDP’s endorsement
An appraisal undertaken by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) of the Centre’s aspirational districts plan has found it to be immensely successful in propelling development and spurring growth in the last three years than any time in the past.
Ranchi, Chandauli, Simdega, Sonbhadra and Rajgarh have emerged as the top five districts with maximum change in net resilience since 2018, according to the UNDP appraisal.
“Given the positive impact of the programme, it is necessary to ensure the focus on development is encouraged further and momentum gained so far in expediting growth is maintained. Based on the findings of the evaluation, it is recommended that the success of the programme be scaled up and replicated for other sectors and districts,” the UNDP report recommended. It said that a remarkable feature of the programme that has greatly contributed to its success, is the commitment shown by the top most political leadership of the country to bring about rapid progress in the under-developed pockets in India. This includes regular monitoring of the programme at the level of PM Narendra Modi, who has motivated and enthused district collectors to deliver their best at field level.
The aspirational districts programme was launched by the Centre in 2018 to usher in development in the country’s most backward areas. Government thinktank Niti Aayog anchors the programme in collaboration with the central and state governments.
The focus is on five critical sectors — healthcare, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development and basic infrastructure.
The least improved districts according to the UNDP’s resilience and vulnerability index were Sitamarhi in Bihar, Gumla (Jharkhand), Dantewada (Chhattisgarh), Bijapur (Karnataka), and Nawada ( Bihar).
“Overall, findings from the net resilience index indicate that the aspirational districts, on average, have been on an upward trajectory since the inception of the programme. A closer look at the best performers indicates an improvement in resilience along with a corresponding reduction in vulnerabilities,” the report said.
“On the other hand, the least improved districts have seen significant increases in vulnerabilities. The latter calls for focused attention on specific sectors where these districts have underperformed. Replicating successful programs and learnings from top performers might form the basis of the inclusive growth among the aspirational districts,” it added.
“More importantly, the programme was launched with the objective of reducing inter and intra-state disparities and it is on track of achieving it. The unique features of introducing competition, handholding support from the Centre and state and collaboration with various agencies is proving successful in realising the vision of holistic development,” according to the report.
“However, stakeholders such as prabhari officers and development partners also warned that the momentum gained at the inception of the programme is starting to diminish and efforts must be made to motivate the districts. In fact, as the programme has completed three years, it may be advisable to introduce re-training and learning programmes on best practices among the districts to regain momentum and work towards achieving the remaining targets,” the report added.
Indian districts that are backward in terms of health, education, agriculture, finances and basic infrastructure: 2018
Niti Aayog rankings
Mewat is most-backward district; Vizianagaram tops
Andhra District Tops Ranking By Niti Aayog
Mewat, Gurgaon’s immediate neighbour in Haryana and just a couple of hours’ drive from Delhi, is India’s most backward district, finishing bottom of a Niti Aayog ranking.
The Aayog released the baseline ranking based on 49 indicators across five sectors that included health and nutrition (30% weightage), education (30%), agriculture and water resources (20%), financial inclusion and skill development (10%), and basic infrastructure (10%).
A few more — around 10 from Odisha, four from West Bengal and one from Kerala — will be added to the list, taking the total to 116. The 35 worst Maoist-affected districts are included in the list.
As part of its “naming and shaming” strategy, the government thinktank will come out with a delta ranking of these districts every month from May 2018 based on their “incremental progress” to be monitored on a real-time basis. The dashboard developed for realtime data collection and monitoring will be open for public from April 1 and will help monitor the progress of these districts.
Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, “People will know which districts are performing well and which are lagging behind.”
Kant said unless these backward districts improve, India cannot progress at high growth rates. He said, With an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme in January to transform some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country. Rejecting apprehensions about availability of funds, the Niti Aayog CEO said financing is not the problem and backwardness of these districts can be attributed to governance failure.
Vizianagaram tops among the 115 most backward districts in the country in the baseline survey conducted by Niti Aayog on the transformation of inspirational districts. The district is at the top with 48.13 percent, followed by Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh with 47.96 percent and Usmanabadh of Maharashtra with 47.43 percent.
Kadapa district ranked 4th with 47.43 percent and Visakhapatnam 13th with 42.66 percent among 115 districts. A baseline survey was conducted in 680 districts from across the country in November last year with the available data from the government.
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The survey was conducted on education, health, skill development, industries, agriculture, development of basic amenities and other financial related sectors.
The survey identified 115 most backward districts in the country. “In the composite rankings, Vizianagaram secured top position among all the 115 backward districts in the country and bagged the top rank in the agriculture sector in sector-wise rankings in the baseline survey conducted by Niti Aayog,” District Collector Vivek Yadav said.
He further said efforts are being made by the government and district administration to bring Vizianagaram on par with developed districts in the country in all parameters including health and education. In a bid to develop the identified backward districts by 2020 on all fronts, the Centre deputed a Joint Secretary-level officer to each district as special officers and SMSE joint secretary Anil Kumar was appointed special officer of Vizianagaram district.
On the other hand, NITI Aayog, as part of monitoring the developments started giving ranks by conducting a baseline survey on the transformation of inspiration. When it released the ranks for the first time, Vizianagaram stood 42 and today it topped the chart.
Leader among lagards
3 - Number of Aspirational
Districts in State:
Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and Kadapa
1 - Overall ranking of Vizianagaram in the country
4 - Overall ranking of Kadapa district in the country
13 - Overall ranking of Visakhapatnam in the country.