Stressing on the importance of focusing on the 115 Aspirational Districts chosen by NITI Aayog to bring about effective change, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said that even though politicians from opposing parties disagree with each other, there is a consensus that backward districts and areas need special attention.
“There may be differences of opinion about the ways and means to address the issues concerned but everybody agrees that there has to be a special focus on Aspirational Districts.I hope that the programme is able to usher in a new era of healthy competitive federalism where the districts are encouraged to catch up with the best district within their state, and then aspire to become one of the best districts in the country in terms of the 49 development indictors, by competing with and learning from others,” said Naidu.
The Vice-President was speaking at ‘Champions of Change 2018’, a private awards ceremony held at the Vigyan Bhawan Wednesday. The awards are instituted in the memory of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Congratulating the awardees, including MPs, district collectors, and NGOs, Naidu said, “The ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme, the brainchild of the premier think tank of India, the NITI Aayog, aims to quickly and effectively bring about transformational changes in the chosen 115 districts of India. The programmes aim to bring about all round development through convergence of central and state level schemes and collaboration of central and state machinery. It hopes to inspire a healthy competition among districts and drive growth.”
Naidu said that in keeping with the government’s cooperative federalism principle, the Aspirational Districts policy holds states to be the primary drivers of development policies.
One of the awardees, Purushottam Agrawal, who founded the Samta Foundation to work in rural and tribal Maharashtra, said, “This award is for seven points of coverage which include health, education, skill development, infrastructure and water resources. For the last five years, we have worked in most of these areas in the Washim district in Maharashtra, especially in rural and tribal areas. Since March, we have started cleanliness drives too. As part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, we have adopted the town of Risod with a population of 50,000 people.”