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Aspirational Districts Programme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said that aspirational districts should be ‘inspirational districts’ of India, and the Aspirational District Programme should be extended to block and city levels.

The Aspirational Districts Programme launched in 2018 aims to transform 112 districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.

About the program

Launched in 2018, the Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) is one of the largest experiments on outcomes-focused governance in the world.

The ADP is NITI Aayog’s flagship initiative to uplift those backward 117 districts that are lagging behind in specific development parameters of health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion, skill development, and basic infrastructure.

 Core Strategy

The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a spirit of mass Movement.

With States as the main drivers, this program focuses on the strength of each district, identifies low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measures progress, and ranks districts.

Selection of districts

112 districts were identified using a composite index of key data sets that included deprivation enumerated under the Socio-Economic Caste Census, key health and education sector performance and state of basic infrastructure.

Institutional framework

NITI Aayog anchors the programme with support from Central Ministries and the State Governments.

Officers at the level of Joint Secretary / Additional Secretary have been nominated to become the‘Central Prabhari Officers’ of each district.

States have appointed state-nodal and Prabhari officers. 

An Empowered Committee under the Convenorship of the CEO, NITI Aayog helps in the convergence of various government schemes and streamlining of efforts.

Baseline Ranking

The objective of the program is to monitor the real-time progress of aspirational districts based on 49 indicators (81 data-points) from the 5 identified thematic areas – Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development and Infrastructure.

Districts are aspiring 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.


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