The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has lauded the Centre’s Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP), saying that it should serve as a “best practice” for other countries where regional disparities in development status persist for many reasons.
In a report, the UNDP said, “Overall, ADP is a very successful model of local area development. It is aligned to the principle of “leave no one behind” – the vital core of the SDGs.”
“Political commitment at the highest level has resulted in rapid success of the programme. It should serve as a best practice for several other countries where regional disparities in development status persist for many reasons,” the UNDP said in the report.
The report, Aspirational Districts Programme: An Appraisal, was presented by UNDP India Resident Representative Shoko Noda to NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar and CEO Amitabh Kant.
“It must be noted most Aspirational Districts are located in remote areas, and some even plagued with Left Wing Extremist (LWE) conflicts. These factors continue to hinder their growth and make it more difficult for any development programmes to be implemented,” it said.
“However, given the political salience around ADP and the concerted efforts of different government and non-government organizations, the districts have experienced more growth and development in the last three years than ever before,” it said.
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said that the evaluation report by UNDP “truly captures our belief that what gets measured, gets done.”
In a statement, NITI Aayog said, “The report is based on quantitative analysis of publicly available data as well as interviews with various stakeholders, including district magistrates, central prabhari officers, district fellows and other development partners.”
“UNDP’s analysis across the 5 key sectors of the ADP—health and nutrition; education; agriculture and water resources; basic infrastructure; and skill development and financial inclusion—found that the programme has acted as a catalyst for expediting development in these districts,” it added.
The Aspirational Districts Programme was launched by the Prime Minister in 112 districts across 28 states in January 2018.