The Niti Aayog today suggested that Odisha government could select districts for inclusion in a central scheme for better development of the tribal dominated and backward region of the state. Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar gave this suggestion when he met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the state secretariat here. Besides Kerala and West Bengal, Odisha is the third opposition ruled states which opted out of the Centre’s Transformation of Aspirational Districts (TAD) scheme. Odisha government had earlier complained that the Centre selected districts on its own and appointed nodal officers without consulting the state government.
However, Rajiv Kumar said, “The Centre is ready to allow the state government to select any district to include in the TAD scheme. The state selected districts will get special attention by the central government.” The Centre has launched the TAD scheme for rapid transformation of districts that are lagging on specific development parameters. With the three states opting out of the scheme, the total number of aspirational districts has come down to 102 from 115.