West Bengal, Kerala, Odisha opt out of Centre’s aspirational districts scheme

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New Delhi | Published: January 15, 2018 9:49:16 PM

Three opposition ruled states --West Bengal, Kerala and Odisha -- have opted out of the Centre's Transformation of Aspirational Districts scheme, thus reducing the total number of districts under the programme to 102 from 115, a senior Niti Aayog official said.

west bengal, Aspirational Districts scheme, what is Aspirational Districts scheme, niti aayog Aspirational Districts schemeEarlier in the month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed the conference of 115 aspirational districts.

Three opposition ruled states –West Bengal, Kerala and Odisha — have opted out of the Centre’s Transformation of Aspirational Districts scheme, thus reducing the total number of districts under the programme to 102 from 115, a senior Niti Aayog official said. While the West Bengal is ruled by All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC), Kerala and Odisha have CPI-M and BJD governments, respectively. “These three states (West Bengal, Kerala, and Odisha) have opted out of the programme,” a senior Niti Aayog official told PTI. According to another government official, the three states have objected to the criteria set up by the centre for identifying backward districts without taking states into confidence. The Centre has embarked upon a major policy initiative for rapid transformation of districts that are lagging on specific development parameters.

Senior government officials in the ranks of additional secretary and joint secretary have been designated as officers in-charge to coordinate the efforts of the Centre and states in addressing the specific developmental needs of these districts.

Earlier in the month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed the conference of 115 aspirational districts. It was attended by collectors and officers-in-charge of 115 backward districts. During the conference, Modi has also promised to personally visit one well-performing district by April 14, the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar.

Government think-tank Niti Aayog had also said that it will come out with a ranking of 115 aspirational districts by April 2018 on 10 parameters, which will include nutrition, education and health. The Aayog has also said it will also set up a mechanism for real-time monitoring of government’s development programmes by April 2018.

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