The Prime Minister would also launch Health and Wellness Centre component of the Ayushman Bharat Programe in this panchayat as part of the visit. With this, on April 14, from Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, the nation will take a historic leap: Creating a strong primary healthcare foundation reaching the very doorsteps of communities, leading the way for a robust health system.
It may be mentioned that the Ayushman Bharat has twin missions. First, creating a network of Health and Wellness Centres to deliver comprehensive primary healthcare close to the community, and second, providing insurance cover to 40 per cent of India’s population, that is most deprived, for secondary and tertiary care including for instance, hospitalisation costs.
In many ways Bijapur represents a microcosm of aspirations of a youthful nation. Beset with Left Wing Extremism (LWE), the state faces myriad challenges. And yet, in short span of time, it has made spectacular progress in health, nutrition, education and creation of livelihood opportunities. Difficult places require innovative solutions. This District, which has ranked among the top 5 performing districts on the basis of percent change in key indicators, has taken series of innovative measures. This has been achieved on the back of best practices such as the creation of a well- functioning hospital with doctors recruited on competitive salaries from different parts of the country by utilising the flexibility provided under the National Health Mission, running of schools for naxal-affected children in portable cabins and various measures to improve livelihood opportunities. These measures amply demonstrate the spirit of cooperative federalism wherein if the Centre, State and District administration work as a team, rapid transformation for creation of a New India by 2022 is an achievable.
The Prime Minister’s visit to Bijapur gives wings to the aspirations of people in the remotest parts of India to become a rightful partner in India’s growth story.
Aspirational Districts: Transforming India, One District at a Time
The Aspirational District programme is an innovation in governance that covers about 15% of India’s population and is reflective of the priority of the Government to provide for the poorest of poor. It is a well-known fact that India is on a high growth trajectory. What was urgently needed however was the enhancement of the Human Development Index and the reduction in the significant inter-state and inter-district variations in development. For this to happen, the Prime Minister felt that the aspirational districts have to be transformed, and launched the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme in January 2018.
The programme hinges on expeditiously transforming 115 districts that were identified from 28 states, in a transparent manner. There are three core aspects that frame the structure of the programme– Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts. Driven primarily by the States and instituted for the States, this initiative focuses on the strength of each district, and identifies the attainable outcomes for immediate improvement, while measuring progress, and ranking the selected districts.
Operationally, the officers at the level of Additional Secretary have been nominated to become the ‘Central Prabhari Officers’ of each district, while States have appointed state-nodal and Prabhari officers. An Empowered Committee under the convenorship of the CEO of NITI Aayog, has been instituted to help in the convergence of various government schemes and streamlining of efforts. The districts were considered after consultation with State Officials using a composite index of key data sets. The Prabhari Officers provide feedback and recommendations basis their findings, and the Empowered Committee will then make necessary amendments on an ongoing basis based on the feedback.
With this initiative, India would emerge as a hub for experiment as globally, governments have been increasingly incorporating data to inform policies on a large scale. For example, the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare uses data from several agencies to manage welfare benefits and services provided by the government. Similarly, the Japanese government is leveraging data to help prevent and manage natural disasters. Yet, the use of data under India’s Aspirational Districts program is unique because of its scale and scope. No other developing country has undertaken a program that focuses on holistic development of a large share of its population.
NITI Aayog and all associated Ministries are working closely with the States towards a transparent, inclusive and accountable India. With a dedicated team committed to this project, this is an immersive initiative that will change the landscape of how India progresses through the vision of the Government of India.
NITI’s focus is to improve India in the Human Development Index ranking, raising the living standards of its citizens and ensuring inclusive growth for all. Unless these districts are brought up to the parameters that each of us expects from our own lives, India will not be able to progress at the rapid pace that would otherwise be achieved from the Governments broad range of initiatives and development strategy. With this initiative much will be achieved towards uniform development. It is unquestionable that the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ initiative envisioned by the Prime Minister is a giant leap towards transforming India for the New India 2022 vision.