Aspirational Districts: A new role model of governance

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The Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (I/C), Prime Minister’s Office, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh delivering the valedictory address at the NCGG-NITI one-day Workshop on Good Governance Practices in Aspirational Districts in a Pandemic through a webinar, in New Delhi on September 04, 2020.

New Delhi: Performance of Aspirational Districts represents an opportunity to prove the resilience of the Indian Nation as the district collectors in these Aspirational Districts have out-performed many non-Aspirational Districts in fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic, Minister of State for Personnel, PG and Pensions Dr.Jitendra Singh, said in his valedictory address at the day-long Workshop on Good Governance Practices in Aspirational Districts in a Pandemic organized jointly by NCGG-NITI  on Friday.

One of the reasons for this high quality performance was that IAS officers who had served as Assistant Secretaries in Government of India had gained from their mentorship in Union Government, Dr Singh said.

Dr. Singh said that the “show must go on with due precautions” despite the pandemic, as can be seen in the conduct of several entrance examinations – the JEE/ NEET/ CSE all of which have been notified.

Only because of the collective people’s effort India was able to fight the pandemic better than other countries. He urged the District Collectors of Aspirations Districts to consistently focus on achieving continuous growth in developmental indicators.

He said that the concept of Aspirational Districts conceptualised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi marks a major shift in political approach to Governance after seven decades of Independence in India.

He said that it was also a shift to a more scientific and objective assessment of developmental activities, besides bringing about a sea change in work culture at all levels of Governance.

Dr. Singh said that governance practices in Aspirational Districts of North Eastern States have found special focus in the one-day workshop with a specific session on the subject. He said that concentrated focus on North Eastern States had enabled the region to witness infrastructure development with new airports and train services.

Further, North Eastern States were a model in management of corona virus pandemic with Tripura, Manipur and Sikkim being corona virus free for lengthy periods of time. The North Eastern region did not witness any shortfall in PPE Kits, Masks, and Hand Sanitizers at any point of time.

The valedictory session was addressed by  NITI CEO Amitabh Kant and DARPG and DPPW Secretary Dr.K.Shivaji. Mr Kant said that different regions of India are solving problems together under the Aspirational District Program. He cited the success stories of Aspirational Districts of Hazaribagh, Goalpara and Banka in this regard.

The one-day conference had five technical sessions including Best Practices in Health Sector Governance, e-governance, Agriculture and Water Resource Management, North Eastern States and Educational Governance. 20 district collectors from Ramanathapuram, Sirohi, Narmada, Washim, Virudhnagar, Nandurbar, Wayanad, Raichur, Ranchi, Naupada, Bastar, Nuh, Cachar, East Garo Hills, Dhalai, Namsai, Baran, Banka, Vizianagaram and Sukma presented their experiences in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The participants of the workshop comprised of Senior Officers of DARPG, NITI, Central Ministries, Senior Civil Servants of Government of India serving as Central Prabhari Officers under the Aspirational Districts Program, Senior Officials from State Governments, District Collectors and District Level Officers handling the Aspirational Districts Program.

DARPG Additional Secretary and National Centre for Good Governance Director General V. Srinivas said that the overwhelming message from the workshop was that Aspirational Districts had leveraged the benefits of technology and synergized developmental programs to fight the pandemic.

The session chairs included DONER Special Secretary Indevar Pandey, former Secretary Education and Literacy Anil Swarup, Additional Chief Secretary Government of Karnataka Shalini Rajneesh, Additional Secretary (Water) Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti Bharat Lal Tamil Nadu e-Governance Authority CEO and Commissioner e-Governance Santosh Mishra.

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