Of the 112 aspirational districts in the country, Chandauli in UP has shown the second largest change in net resilience as per a UNDP evaluation.
The body has evaluated the Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) which was launched by the Prime Minister in 2018 to expedite the transformation of 112 most backward districts across 28 states through the convergence of government programmes and schemes. The districts were chosen by senior officials of the Union government in consultation with states officials. To shortlist states, a composite index of deprivation was constructed using a range of socio-economic indicators. A minimum of one district was initially chosen from every state (except Goa). More districts made it to the list of backward regions from the smaller states or states ranking lower in the development spectrum such as Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
There are eight aspirational districts in Uttar Pradesh.
Evaluation of resilience is through a set of positive indicators which reflects factors that bolster the development capacity of the districts. Data points taken into consideration included: Percentage of area under micro-irrigation (Agriculture), Tuberculosis (TB) case notification rate (Public and Private Institutions) as against estimated cases (Health and Nutrition) etc. Vulnerability is measured against a set of negative indicators that hinder a district’s ability to attain their development goals. All vulnerability indicators are taken from the Health and Nutrition Sector, for example percentage of low-birth-weight babies (less than 2500g), Percentage of Severe Acute Malnourishment (SAM) in children under 6 years to total children under 6 years etc.
A higher resilience score represents positive overall status, and sustainable impact of the work undertaken. A higher vulnerability score on the other hand highlights the need for further attention and scope for improvement. The difference in resilience and vulnerability scores gives net resilience.
While overall, all aspirational districts show an improvement in net resilience from 25 to about 36 from 2018 to 2020, the maximum improvement is shown by Ranchi in Chhattisgarh at 58.26, while Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh has the second highest score of 42.98. In 2018, while resilience score of Chandauli was 44.11, in 2020 it was 64.9. The vulnerability score in the same time dipped from 33.24 to 10.24.
Sonbhadra ranks fourth on the list and Fatehpur seven. Balrampur comes in 19, Chitrakoot 25 and Shravasti 26. The district which has the poorest rank on the list is Bahraich which comes in 81 out of a total of aspirational districts across the country.
The report notes that the programme is “a very successful model of local area development.” It is aligned to the principle of “leave no one behind” – the vital core of the SDGs. Political commitment at the highest level has resulted in rapid success of the programme. It should serve as a best practice for several other countries where regional disparities in development status persist for many reasons.